In a desperate attempt to shake its "desktop antivirus" image and make a serious impression in the enterprise boardroom, security vendor Symantec has launched its first global channel program.
Under the new program announced this week Symantec has set up a three-tier enterprise reseller model which operates next to a two-tier consumer/ retail channel.
"Symantec has radically changed its direction from an antivirus vendor," Symantec's Australia/New Zealand managing director John Donovan, told ARN days before the launch.
Symantec has undergone a considerable turnaround after the appointment of a new worldwide CEO with a vision for the company to be a security company. Since then Symantec has been busy acquiring new technology and divesting itself of non-core products in order to concentrate on the enterprise ssecurity space.
Under the new partnering program, resellers will have to meet strict certification, training and revenue targets. The certification and testing of partners will be administered by independent third party Prometrics, with another independent party to handle training yet to be announced.
Partners on the other hand will benefit from joint marketing initiatives, lead generations into key accounts, as well as an increase in revenues derived from Symantec's intended growth said Donovan.
"Resellers are asking themselves, how can I differentiate myself?'" claimed Donovan. "This moves past just having a [certified partner] plaque on the wall, to a real differentiator."
Symantec has also unveiled a password-protected partner Web site to provide information on the program to its channel.
Meanwhile, enterprise antivirus software vendor Trend Micro scoffed at the Symantec program. Former Symantec staffer currently working as alliances manager for Trend Micro, Mark Micallef was skeptical about Symantec's chances of wooing entrpise selling partners.
"Symantec has been buying all these companies, like Axent, but the thing is none of these technologies integrate at a product level," Micallef told ARN. "They've got too many fingers in too many pies."
"As [Symantec] moves further across the horizontal [market] axis and tries to offer all things to all people, they will faces competition from best of breed products in each area," he added.
Symantec's partner program has three tiers:
Enterprise Security Partner - Require two certified Symantec Certified Security Engineers in at least two security areas.
Enterprise Solutions Partner - Value added resellers with strong local presence. Require one Symantec Certified Security Engineer.
Enterprise Sales Partner - In order to sell authorised Symantec security solutions, this tier must provide certificated [subbed] implementation support through a partnership with an Enterprise Security Partner, Enterprise Solutions Provider or Symantec.