Symantec Preps Partner Program Changes Ahead Of Conference

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The Mountain View Calif.-based company laid off hundreds of employees over the summer, and industry analysts said its competitors, including McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky Lab and others, were in a good position to boost market share during the disruption. The firms are posing solutions to emerging problems, said Matthew Casey, an analyst with Hampton, N.H.-based Technology Business Research Inc. Businesses are embracing the cloud, getting caught up with mobile security concerns and seeking ways to handle growing amounts of data beyond what had been the traditional enterprise perimeter, Casey said.

"They've got to reaffirm their positioning in some of these emerging spaces to remain at the level in the conversation with end customers the way they have been in the past," said Matthew Casey, an analyst with Hampton, New Hampshire-based Technology Business Research Inc.

The disruption, which included the loss of channel veteran Thomas Gillman and the departure of CFO James Beer, caused sales to decline, executives said. This week the company told investors it had losses in every area of its portfolio. It saw some gains in international sales.

The company, Symantec's Bennett said, is committed to the changes it is making, because it is a critical for long-term viability of the company. The company's generalist sales structure "was high-cost, had non-differentiated volume-based rewards for channel partners, was organized in silos and had an inefficient management structure," Bennett said. "Simply put, our structure, incentives and culture were hampering our ability to deliver value to customers and partners and limiting our growth."

Channel partners have seen Symantec retool its partner program a number of times in recent years, said Lane Campbell of Chicago-based Syntress LLC, a Symantec partner. A number of issues, including Symantec's source code leak, had an impact on sales, Campbell said. Some of the partner program changes haven't been positive, forcing smaller partners to suffer, he said.

"What they've done is ramp up the cost of certifications, and it eliminates the incentive for us to focus on them as a practice because they increase the cost of doing business with them," Campbell said.


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