Symantec is offering customers the ability to consolidate software licensing, and says channel partners have a role to play in helping organisations redeploy resources.
As the economy tightens, distributors, systems integrators and resellers will become even more central to customer relationships, says Melbourne-based David Dzienciol, Symantec’s senior director, enterprise sales and partners. “Companies are trying to consolidate and rationalise the vendors they deal with,” he says. “They’re looking at security, availability, storage management and automation and using these technologies to manage their cost base.”
Dzienciol says that with a broad product offering – including its acquisition of MessageLabs’ anti-spam software and Altiris service oriented management – Symantec can help customers consolidate multiple software installations and deployments into a single contract. “It costs organisations money to have multiple relationships with small vendors,” he says. “Customers are starting to bring four or five disparate contracts together under one agreement.”
Dzienciol says the channel helps the company cover the New Zealand market. “Symantec is a very channel-centric organisation and will continue to be. The model that works best for us is where we have end user sales reps and account managers working in conjunction with distributors’ business development managers, as well as our resellers and systems integrator partners.”
Questioned about two recent redundancies at Symantec New Zealand, Dzienciol suggests the loss of a security pre-sales engineer and client solutions manager has been offset by the addition of new functions. “In the past 12 months we’ve added two roles to specifically increase our coverage with the channel. The first one was a role looking after national, tier one, platinum and gold partners. John Grigson has been in that role for about four months. We also added training and enablement manager Paul Caldwell.”
On a number of occasions Symantec has stated its intention of maintaining price stability in New Zealand, and Dzienciol says the company aims to insulate its partners from the effects of the economy to achieve this. “The exchange rate is very volatile and we try and remove our customers and partners from exposure to that. We ensure we wear some of that risk as the vendor. Every year we look at our pricing and ensure it’s in line with market expectations. We don’t currently have plans to increase New Zealand prices.”
Symantec sees the growth of software as a service (SaaS) as a key industry trend for 2009, and what Dzienciol describes as the ability to “pay as you go” for security services. With its MessageLabs acquisition, Symantec aims to add archiving and data loss prevention to its SaaS-style offerings in due course. “It offers customers the opportunity to purchase on an operational expense basis, rather than a capital expense basis,” he says.
In spite of the current squeeze on spending and reports in the media of IT projects on-hold, Dzienciol says the technologies in Symantec’s portfolio are core to most organisations’ infrastructure and therefore spending on them isn’t threatened. “They’re difficult to compromise on because they’re at the heart of the datacentre. However, organisations are having to work harder to understand the business cases that are going up to senior management for approval.”
While cost-cutting continues, says Dzienciol, security and storage remain high corporate priorities.