Trend Micro stresses channel effectiveness

Vendor outlines its vision for the Australian market at partner summit
Trend Micro has outlined its business vision for the year

Trend Micro has outlined its business vision for the year

Building effective channel partnerships and strengthening sales execution strategies around new technology platforms will be top of the agenda for Trend Micro in Australia this year, its country manager said.

Speaking at the Trend Micro Affinity Partner Summit in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Dave Patnaik identified five pillars the security vendor was concentrating its efforts around: Building a next-generation security framework known as the Smart Protection Network; 100 per cent channel fulfilment; impactful marketing; better sales execution; and efficient operations, including more comprehensive partner management and CRM tools.

Patnaik also pointed to the popularity of cloud-based computing and Web 2.0 technologies as areas of opportunity for the vendor's product set and channel base.

"All the analysts are telling us there's growth in the security marketplace. If we can execute well, we can all go the next step," he told attendees. "We want to see a commitment from our partners to Trend Micro, and will commit to partners."

A key strategy will be to direct all deal fulfilment through partners and give them access to more touch points within Trend Micro, Patnaik said.

"Two to three years ago, we went direct to customers. We won't be doing that this year – we want to ensure the channel is profitable and ensure they take their Trend Micro business seriously," he said. "We are making investments into our partner management, and programs because we can do a better job by having a limited number of partners each channel manager works with."

The go-to-market directive coincides with the launch of Trend Micro's new Affinity partner program, which sees partners divided into three tiers: Top-tier AffinityOne partners; AffinityPlus; and Affinity. Each level gets access to rebates of up to 25 per cent around deal registration, renewals, pushing new product lines and meeting volume targets.

Trend Micro has also increased local headcount by 20 per cent and restructured its channel team to provide partners with better access to dedicated account managers, marketing and technical resources.

According to Patnaik, the vendor has experienced growth across all lines of business in the past three years and is hoping to achieve up 25 per cent year-on-year growth in 2009 despite the economic slowdown.

Trend Micro's Asia-Pacific director, Lionel Phang, said the vendor's solid financial background and narrowed focus on the content security space were key factors channel partners should consider given the tougher economic climate.

"We have the strategy, the vision and can out-execute others in this [security] space," he said. "We are staying focused on what we do – we know where we play in the value chain and do have an understanding of the security landscape as it evolves and will come up with solutions that our partners can then leverage and customise for their customers."

Phang spoke optimistically about Australia's economic position against more tumultuous global economies, but claimed the local market hadn't yet seen the eye of the storm.

"Partners have to pick vendors who can ride out the storm. We are in a position where we can take advantage of the situation to acquire and fill in holes in our portfolio to go forward," he said.

- Nadia Cameron travelled to the Affinity Summit as a guest of Trend Micro.