McAfee enhances its channel strategy

Aims to help drive partner profitability

Security vendor, McAfee, has enhanced its channel strategy and introduced new initiatives.

McAfee director of channels and operations in Asia-Pacific, Gavin Struthers, said there were three key pillars to its channel strategy.

The Accredited Channel Engineer (ACE) program enabled partners to take a greater leadership role with sales opportunities by providing firms with the knowledge, tools, and skill-set to independently drive the technical pre-sales activities, close deals faster and better leverage cross-sell and services opportunities.

McAfee has already signed on eight accredited channel engineers within Australia.

It recently invested in the McAfee Authorised Support Provider (MASP) program, which was initially a limited pilot around the world but has become generally available.

The MASP program allows partners to increase margin potential by supporting customers directly.

The program offers partners with training and access to proprietary tools and third level support engineers to deliver McAfee first and second level support.

The company is also expanding the McAfee Security Alliance partner program to include a new Managed Service Partner (MSP) program.

It is designed to meet the needs of managed service provider partners, who will have the ability to sell, deploy, support their own branded solutions and enjoy monthly billing.

“In Australia we are evaluating distribution partners at the moment. We’ve met with several distributors and managed service distributors to identify those that are ready to take this to market. Our plan is to bring it to Australia in early 2012,” Struthers said.

Partners will have to go through certification training around the solution areas they intend to focus on prior to joining the program, along with other minimum requirements such as tier one support and managing monthly billing.

It will be a tiered program consisting of elite and premier partners, an extension of the Security Alliance partner program. Further information on specific incentives will be provided at a later date.

The last pillar is an enablement program designed to help develop sales and technical resources for partners to further gain knowledge of McAfee products and grow skills based on the role within the organisation.

To reward partners for their continued investment in training, McAfee will employ a new continuing education approach by giving partners more choices and flexibility for how they want to maintain their certification.

Certified individuals will begin to receive credits for approved learning activities and those credits can be applied towards the following year’s certification requirements.

In support of continuing education, McAfee is deploying a new learning management system.

Both the new certification approach and the learning system will be available in January 2012.