Symantec says it wants to give partners the chance to differentiate themselves by rewarding key competencies under a revamped partner scheme. Specialisations will become the focus of its partner programme when changes are introduced at the end of 2010.
As part of the changes, partners must meet requirements to deepen their understanding of particular parts of Symantec's portfolio. In Asia Pacific and Japan, it offers specialisations in endpoint management, small and medium business, and data loss prevention. Additional specialisations in enterprise security, IT compliance, storage management, data protection, high availability, archiving and ediscovery will be added in the next six months.
"Symantec's enhanced partner programme...will enable our partners to stay ahead through their investment in the development of skills and in-depth knowledge in particular areas," says regional channel and SMB vice president David Dzienciol.
He adds the scheme is already a mature one, but says Symantec wanted to make it more effective in response to partner feedback.
It has used the newly-launched Asia Pacific VAR Council to hear from partners about the changes. Axon represents New Zealand on this council, which has 18 members.
Through the council, quarterly partner surveys, and roundtables in the past year, it found the channel wanted more rewards and benefits and " routes to profitability", says Symantec.
The vendor will retain existing partner levels of Registered, Silver, Gold and Platinum, but specialisations will be central to achieving a level.
Partners must achieve four specialisations to achieve Master status, or can pursue individual competency areas. A partner will achieve the highest level - Platinum - by completing four specialist certifications and three for gold.
Symantec says it will provide additional resources and tools, along with access to incentives and technical assistance to help partners increase revenue. These include an opportunity registration programme and the use of a specialist logo to identify competencies to customers and other partners.
There are also additional marketing tools such as a Campaign Creator and a marketing support centre.
Partners at higher levels will get greater access to the support tools.
There will be a transition period for partners to begin the specialisation process.
Axon northern delivery manager Leigh Jackson says it is positive about the shift toward specialisations, saying it will enable partners to more easily offer end-to-end solutions. He says will also be positive for its technical staff to formalise certifications.
Symantec will work with local distribution on training associated with the refreshed programme and helping partners identify specialisations.