5 Things Channel Partners Want From Symantec Vision 2011

Symantec Vision 2011: What Partners Want

Like any other area of IT, players in the security industry are making their niche and finding relevance in critical spaces that include the cloud, virtualized environments and mobile platforms.

And Symantec is no exception. At Symantec's Vision 2011 conference, held in Las Vegas, Nev., hundreds of channel partners will descend on Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. May 2 through May 5, take note of the security giant's future plans and strategies.

Among other things, channel partners will be closely scrutinizing Symantec's product strategies and programs with the hopes of finding new opportunities, markets and ways to provide value. Here are a few of the most top-of-mind topics for the security giant's partners at this year's Vision Conference.

Support For Channel Partners Entering The Manufacturing Space

Channel partners are always finding new ways to add value -- which often means they occupy a quirky hybrid between reseller, vendor and service provider to stay competitive. In fact, more and more of Symantec's top partners have ventured out into the vendor space, developing and launching full-fledged products or add-ons while still maintaining their status as VAR or service provider.

The territory is still largely uncharted, and as their role in the channel changes and evolves, partners are asking that Symantec be adaptive while providing a strong supportive role and offering enablement opportunities. VARs that offer their own products bring even more value to the channel, which in turn brings added value to Symantec that gives the company an edge over competitors. A little help would be nice, they say.

Tighter Integration Of Everything

No doubt, the number of enterprise products Symantec has on the market is dizzying, with dozens of consoles and tools to manage just about every aspect of the IT environment. However, not all the products play well together, partners say. In fact, many don’t, creating untold hassles for channel partners and their enterprise customers wanting to build out their security or storage environment.

With Symantec's mammoth acquisitions of VeriSign and PGP Corp. last year, and more anticipated down the road in the mobility space, product alignment and integration is going to be crucial. Otherwise, partners fear they're going to have to take on the monumental task of making a plethora of disparate products somehow function in their customers' environments.

Virtualization Security Offering?

Some partners are questioning what Symantec has in store in terms of security tools for virtualized infrastructure. It's no secret that enterprise customers are leaning toward the private cloud and virtualizing their IT environments to cut costs, better utilize staff and increase efficiency. And with increased adoption of virtualization, more end users have burning questions about the specific security tools needed to protect their virtualized data.

That's where Symantec could come in. Partners have pointed to competitors Cisco and Trend Micro, maintaining that they are way ahead of Symantec in this space. So it's safe to say they will be watching Symantec's proposed security offerings for the virtualized environment with great interest in the months ahead.

Mobile Device Strategy

With whisperings that Symantec could make significant future investments in mobile device platforms and mobile security, partners are wondering: What does that look like?

The build-up has been occurring for a while, as Symantec executives have periodically hinted that the company plans to make further inroads in the mobile space. Naturally, channel partners have said that they would like to see some kind of road map and direction from the security giant in this arena, giving them a heads up about what product areas and markets the company plans to target, as well as what opportunities lie in store for the channel.

What's The Big Picture?

Indeed, it seems like a simple question, but it never fails to stump some channel partners. Partners note that the largest security company in the world is one that also seems to also focus a lot of its effort on the storage side and system administration tools. And possible future investments in mobile technology could potentially further confuse a security-focused mission.

So what does it all mean? How will Symantec define itself going forward? What's the "tag line that ties it all together?" one partner asked.

At Symantec Vision, partners are expecting just that, the company's vision -- where it plans on going how it defines itself going forward.