Live From Las Vegas: 20 Scenes From Symantec PartnerEngage

Welcome To 2010 Partner Engage

Welcome to Symantec PartnerEngage 2010. At this year's whirlwind conference, which was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, what went on in Vegas probably won't stay in Vegas. Executives treated hundreds of channel partners in attendance to keynotes, parties, breakout sessions, enablement and marketing tool launches and some pretty big surprises around its channel program. Plus, partners got to do a little networking, have a few drinks and likely play a few rounds of BlackJack on the side. Yes, all in all, it could have been worse.

Here are some of the scenes from the event.

New Channel Program

During a PartnerEngage keynote presentation Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channel sales, unveiled a brand new channel program that eliminated revenue requirements and instead implemented nine solution and market segment specializations. Channel partners would have to become specialized in a predetermined number of areas in order to achieve Silver, Gold or Platinum status or to receive additional discounts, rebates and services revenue.

He also enlightened partners to a slew of new enablement tools, launched at PartnerEngage, that they will have at their disposal. Symantec launched Symantec IQ, a comprehensive repository of white papers, presentations, reports and tools, all in one place. Partners will also be able to utilize Symantec Virtual Labs, consisting of SymBrain and SymDemo, online tools that enable partners to demonstrate Symantec products to customers with only a laptop and an Internet connection.

Telling It Straight

IDC analyst Christian Christiansen set the stage for channel partners with a presentation on threats related to the explosion of mobile devices and social networking in the workplace, which are largely unsecured and therefore give cyber criminals a wide-open playing field for committing identity theft and launching malicious external attacks. Christiansen then illustrated his point to his audience by telling them the story of an executive who left his BlackBerry in a gentlemen's club, but failed to tell IT to wipe the device out of embarrassment. Christiansen said that the executive later regretted his decision when the club's employees got a hold of the device and sent e-mails and pictures to his co-workers and spouse.

Looking Ahead

Symantec CEO Enrique Salem kicked off the 2010 PartnerEngage conference by sharing his long-term vision for the company with hundreds of attending channel partners. Among other things, Salem said that the security company planned to increasingly focus on people and information while protecting data, regardless of where it's stored. The company would further invest in comprehensive products that could be integrated to create broader data-centric solutions, such as virtualization, cloud and hosted services and DLP. Salem also talked about the company's plans to expand its hosted offerings from 5 percent to 15 percent of the business.

What's The Scoop?

Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channel sales, grilled CEO Enrique Salem Q&A-style during the keynote presentation. Among the questions were "When is Symantec going to get acquired?"

Salem said that over the next 24 months the economic environment would facilitate a trend of dramatic consolidation. Salem said that while its possible that Symantec could be acquired, it is much more likely that Symantec would remain a standalone company, continuing to make acquisitions of its own that align with its long-term vision comprehensive, and platform agnostic data protection.

Partners Pontificate

’Steve Barone, president of Creative Breakthroughs (second from left) along with his customer from Federal-Mogul and Symantec executives discuss best practices for approaching IT issues from a business standpoint and getting buy in at the executive level.’

Latin American Partner Of The Year

Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channels (left), poses with Fernando Silver of Brazil-based EZ Security, (center) and Douglas Wallace, Symantec director of channel sales for Latin America and the Caribbean. EZ Security received Symantec's Latin American Partner of the Year award, for its significant investment in the DLP space and bringing in the country's largest DLP sale, valued at more than $800,000. EZ Security is also garners the most Symantec revenue in Brazil.

Canadian Partner Of The Year

Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channel sales, poses with Bradley Brodkin, (center), of Toronto, Ontario, Canada Highvail Systems and Fred Patterson, Symantec director of channel sales for Canada. Highvail Systems received Symantec's Canadian Partner of the Year award for its service to one of the largest banks and its driving force behind one of the largest Symantec deals in Canada.

U.S. Partner Of The Year

Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channel sales, (right), stands with Wade Wyant, president of ITS Partners, a Grand Rapids, Mich., a professional services VAR which received Symantec's top honor of U.S. Partner of the Year. ITS Partners was recognized by Symantec for its strong public sector presence and ability to drive a strong combination of professional services and technical support services around DLP, workflow and endpoint management, among other things. Cochran mentioned that ITS Partners had 21 new Symantec deals in the public sector alone.

Slide 10: Too Funny

Acting as Master of Ceremonies throughout the PartnerEngage conference was comedian and entertainer Jake Johannsen, who added spice to the presentations with a humorous commentary woven throughout the keynotes. Johannsen had his own take of the PartnerEngage theme Power Your Business with his own version, although it's a little unclear what that might be.

Opportunities For Opportunity Registration

In conjunction with Symantec's specialization-focused channel program, the company launched a new opportunity registration program that allows partners to quickly jump on board specialization-focused deals. The revamped opportunity registration program, which goes live Nov. 9, touts a simplified compensation model, increased discounts and provides a larger number of partners with the opportunity to register prospected deals that previously wouldn't have been able to be registered.

The new opportunity registration program also expands partners' reach by enabling them to partner with other specialized Symantec solution providers possessing the necessary skill sets for required implementation services. The unspecialized prospecting partner will receive an 8 percent discount as the be the partner of record, while the specialized partner will receive the services revenue and a 5 percent backend rebate for his or her involvement.

Just Like An iPhone

During the PartnerEngage presentations, Michael Parker, Symantec vice president of digital marketing, exhibited the launch of Symantec's new digital whiteboard, featuring a touchscreen that allows the presenter to zoom in and out, utilize drawing and navigation tools as well as ready-made icons, such as desktop computers. The whiteboard then enables the presenter to label the icons for reference, save the presentation as a .PNG and store it in its own digital file, which can later be called up to add iterations. The new digital whiteboard, available for download from the Symantec site, is offered on both desktop and laptop computers. Another digital whiteboard application is currently under development for the Apple iPad.

Market Yourself

Tricia Atchison, Symantec senior director of product marketing, announces the launch of the campaign creator marketing tool and the debut of the Symantec briefing center. The campaign creator enables partners to upload the Symantec logo, used for e-mail blasts, PowerPoint presentations and other applications, which are then sent out to customers.

Here's The Situation

The Symantec PartnerEngage partner conference concluded with Symantec's community service project. Cochran explained that many Las Vegas families were hit with tough economic times. And in an effort to give back to the community, Symantec and its channel partners collaborated in a project aimed at giving 18 deserving kids the experience of having a brand new bike. The bikes were then presented to kids right there at the conference.

Getting Prepared

Symantec channel partners brought out the kids bikes in preparation for their presentation to the Las Vegas Girls and Boys Club. Meanwhile, kids from the Boys and Girls club waited outside the ballroom, completely unaware that they were about to receive brand new bikes. (They were told that they would be taken to the MGM Grand for ice cream.)

But Wait, There's More

In addition to the bikes, Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of Americas channel sales, on behalf of the vendor, presented a check in the amount of $10,000, donated to the Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club. The donation will be used to provide educational resources and healthy activities for children in need in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Taking A Bow

Symantec channel partners on the SMB, enterprise and Canadian advisory councils pose with bikes they hand-made for kids in the Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club. The bike giveaway was part of a Symantec humanitarian effort to give back to the Las Vegas community by presenting children from less privileged families with brand new bikes. Altogether, the Boys and Girls Club chose 18 deserving children to receive the bikes, which were presented at the closing of the PartnerEngage partner conference.

What A Day

Kids from the Boys and Girls Club were surprised, and a little overwhelmed, as they came into a ballroom filled with hundreds of cheering people and given a shiny new bike.

Kids Are The Stars

Many of the selected Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club children received a bike for the very first time due to the Symantec donation.

Winding Down

Following the ceremony, Boys and Girls Club Director Jason Pacheco, shares a photo with Symantec channel partners and kids.