These new offerings include Symantec University, the Symantec Enablement Toolkit, SymBrain and its Symantec Protection Network (SPN) Partner Program. Randy Cochran, vice-president of channel sales for Symantec Corp., says Symantec University is categorized into three key areas: training, intelligence and collaboration. Partners that participate in the university program gain access to the same courses that Symantec employees take, he explains.
Because the company is launching the university as part of a global initiative it’s available to all Symantec partners worldwide. Training for the university is provided 24/7 online and is entirely self-paced. Once a partner passes the exam and the course, they then receive the appropriate Symantec accreditation.
Under the intelligence branch of the university is Symantec’s Enablement Toolkit and a new online tool for partners, called SymBrain. The company also unveiled a Partner Technical Forum as part of its collaboration component of the university.
The Symantec Enablement Toolkit gives partners access to resources such as collateral and relevant training materials to help them further drive sales. Along with the toolkit, Cochran says the company also introduced SymBrain, a new online tool for partners that centres around IT projects and the sales process.
“When a partner’s sitting across the table from a customer they ask questions like, ‘What IT projects are you working on now and in the future?’ Those same questions can be keyed into SymBrain and the tool will then translate those questions and answers into solutions for them,” said Cochran.
Partners that take advantage of the Partner Technical Forum can correspond with Symantec sales engineers, solutions architects and professional service consultants to get any pre-sales or technical questions answered, as well as to use to share best practices with one another, Cochran said.
Recently, Chris Schin, director of product management at Symantec, said the company has taken a more aggressive stance in the online services industry, with the introduction of its SPN offerings in February.
“The basic charter behind SPN is to create online services that address the markets where Symantec today has either a strong or leading footprint,” he said. “We’ve included a suite of online offerings that target the small to mid-market segment space.”
The online services offering include Symantec Online Backup, Symantec Online Backup Exec and Symantec Online Remote Access.
To coincide with SPN, Symantec has introduced its SPN Partner Program that has been specifically designed for partners who are dedicated to selling software-as-a-service (SaaS).
“When we launched our online offerings in February, we did a preliminary soft launch of the SPN Partner Program,” Schin said. “We’re now doing a formal launch of our SPN Partner Program.”
Schin says the partner program is broken down into two levels: Select and Premier.
The Premier level of the program is available to Symantec’s national VARs, large account resellers (LARs) and managed services providers that make significant investments with SaaS and to Symantec, he said. The Select level, on the other hand, is available to the company’s regional VARs and consultants. Both levels of the program offer partners an agency compensation where they can make extra money, training, lead management and pre-sales support, among other benefits.
While the Select level of SPN has no partner participation limit, the Premier level does. Symantec’s goal for the Premier tier, Schin says, is to attract 20 to 40 partners.
“We want limit the number of partners in the Premier level because we want to make sure these are partners that have made a commitment to SaaS,” Schin explains. “Because we’re ponying-up a lot of resources, there’s a significant amount of commitment on our side that’s going to be devoted to the partner.”
Mark Alba, senior manager of product management for Symantec, said the company is looking for partners to join the SPN Partner Program that have SaaS experience and the ability to sell online. Partners will also have telephone sales resources, will meet minimum customer requirements and will also be able to support the training of their sales force, he adds.
Enrique Salem, COO for Symantec, says moving forward, the majority of Symantec’s products, such as archiving, will be delivered to end-users as a service offering. This is an area where he said the company sees plenty of market and partner opportunities.
“Partners are our heartbeat,” Salem said. “We want to be transparent about that. Symantec can not succeed without our partners. Today and in the foreseeable future, the majority of our business will still continue to flow through our partners.”