Symantec is looking to get partners on-board software-as-a-service by revamping its global Hosted Services channel program.
The software vendor’s vice-president of Symantec Hosted Services for Asia-Pacific, Bjorn Engelhardt, said it was part of a strategy to formalise and further invest into its partner community. Symantec Hosted Services is the former MessageLabs unit, which the security vendor acquired in 2008 for $US695 million.
“We previously ran our own partner program separately from Symantec, but as we’re becoming a lot more branded, we’re aligning ourselves closer to the core organisation,” he said. “Partners are becoming a key aspect of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business.”
The Premium Associate Program is predominantly for resellers that don’t want to become a fully certified partner, but still want to access recurring revenue. Engelhardt said partners are invited into the Premium Associate Program once they have achieved a certain number of customers.
Symantec offers resellers a 15 per cent commission on new business, upgrades and renewals. There is also a standard Associate Program, which offers 15 per cent commission on new business and upgrades, and is predominantly aimed at IT consultants that occasionally come across referral opportunities. It has no minimum requirement for referral commitment.
The aim of the programs was to make hosted security applications more widely available across the reseller network, offer low barriers to entry and allow organisations to take advantage of the hosted services market without having to invest in expensive resources and technology, Engelhardt said.
The entry-level Authorised Reseller Program requires a minimal investment after a remote set-up procedure and it provides 20 per cent margin with the option of ongoing customer support obligations, managed by the vendor.
There is also the Hosted Applications Provider Program, which is an exclusive-access OEM program where resellers can incorporate hosted security services into hosted applications.
Other improvements to the Hosted Services program include new functionality to the partner portal, new product bundles with competitive pricing, provisioning and quote generation tools. Partners also receive support and resources across the sales spectrum on top of marketing and training tools.
“A partner with nominal entry requirements can access a recurring revenue stream, which is a great thing for their business,” Engelhardt said. “There’s a view that SaaS is a very direct business, but you’re looking at infrastructure and customers rely on partners to make decisions. They still want to have their partner involved for support and advice.
“The role of a partner has become more business-oriented than just pure implementation.”