SAN DIEGO, Calif.—Symantec has big plans for the channel.
At its Partner Engage 2007 show here Sept. 12, the company announced plans for two new Symantec Services Programs designed to help partners enhance their services portfolio to meet customers needs, as well as a third program to provide partners with tools to more effectively target the SMB (small and midsize business) market.
The Symantec Authorized Consulting Partner Program and Symantec Authorized Technical Assistance Partner Program are the first of several partner-specific programs that Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., plans to introduce over the next 12 to 18 months, officials said. With the Symantec Authorized Consulting Partner Program, partners will have access to Symantecs consulting best practices, technical training and advanced support to build their respective businesses. In addition, they will have priority access to Symantec Enterprise Support.
The program is open to Symantecs gold and platinum partners, who will be authorized to sell under the Symantec brand, Jeff Hausman, senior director of product management, said during a roundtable at the conference.
"It gives them the tricks they need … to deliver services," Hausman said.
Symantec plans to provide partners with additional resources through the Symantec Authorized Technical Assistance Partner Program. Focused on increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, this program offers technical assistance training for key products such as Backup Exec and Symantec AntiVirus, as well as real-time priority telephone access to Symantec experts to help partners address customer needs more quickly, Symantec officials said.
The two programs represent the latest offerings from Symantec Global Services, which in April introduced its new SAAS (software as a service) platform, Symantec Protection Network. Symantec Protection Network is offered through Symantecs channel partner network and targets SMBs with a variety of Web-based availability and security services. Symantec Online Backup, still in beta, is the first of many planned services slated to be delivered through the Symantec Protection Network.
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Symantec has also created a third program called SMB Specialization for Partners. This program is aimed at educating partners and helping them tailor tools and approaches to SMB customers. Currently available to Symantec Channel Registered and Channel Silver partners in North America, the program gives partners priority access to technical support, a toll-free partner hotline, pre-ordered select SMB not-for-resale products and a dedicated midmarket account manager for their territories, company officials said.
Symantec SMB specialists also receive tools and resources to drive more sales, including information on how to access program benefits and highlight their companies on Symantecs Partner Locator. In addition, upon enrollment SMB specialists receive a selection of not-for-resale SMB products for evaluation, including Backup Exec, Backup Exec System Recovery and Symantec Mail Security. Channel Registered Partners who earn the Symantec SMB specialist designation also receive priority access to Symantec Technical Support Services as well as two complimentary technical support incidents.
Randy Cochran, Symantecs vice president of channel sales in the Americas, said the training partners will receive as part of this program has been in place but previously was not put together in a focused program for SMBs.
"It is a very proactive approach of pulling together of all the tools, kind of in one box, with one bow, and handing it to all those partners who want to participate in this space," Cochran said.
To qualify for the program, partners need to complete specific sales training requirements on specific SMB-focused products and accept the online accreditation and certification agreement. Once SMB Specialization requirements are completed, partners will receive a Symantec Sales Professional for SMB Specialization accreditation certificate and logo as well as ongoing communications tailored for SMB Specialists, including news flashes, Webcasts, product information and policy information, company officials said.
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