Symantec is looking to transition into a much more bigger enterprise security player with huge investments in R&D and a series of acquisitions. Ganesan Arumugam, Director – Partner Sales, Symantec India, shares how his firm is looking at channel partners to help the company achieve its key objectives
Where do you see Symantec moving into, in terms of the market, technology, environment and, innovations?
We have transitioned in a bigger way into the security portfolio in the past three years. We spin off information protection as separate company and sold it. So Symantec became a completely 100% security focused company. Since then, we have increased our investments in R&D and added new products and did new acquisitions. In the last two years we have done a lot of things. We acquired Blue Coat Systems which is on the enterprise software side. We brought in the network security portfolio and DLP which is information protection.
On the consumer side we bought LifeLock. This firm is into identity protection for the consumer, so that’s a big business in terms of devices and other stuff. We also added SkyCube which is into mobile security, and Fireglass, which is an agentless isolation solution that eliminates ransomware, malware and phishing threats in real-time. We’re the first or the only company which has brought in and integrated these solutions into our stack already. This is why a lot of interesting thing are happening on the product side. Today, we are the largest cyber security software company in the market with a $5 billion turnover. In the one year, we have launched more than ten new products. This is all the result of the R&D and investments which we’ve done. With the acquisition of Blue Coat and the new products that we’ve got, we are the only company that can address 80% of an organisation’s security needs.
We also have a CASB solution which is a CloudSOC solution which we offer to the customer and this integrates all security applications. This has great significance for DLP as all policies can be applied uniformly.
What sort of initiatives have you taken for your partners?
We have launched our new partner program Secure One a year back. Today, for all the Blue Coat partners or the Symantec partners, it is a single program. The Secure One program offers three things. Firstly, it gives all the information about the partner program and how they can interact with the organisation in terms of opportunity or connecting to the people. Secondly, we have another module called Partner University. This is where all this training is available. Besides the technical data sheets and other information, we have streamlined content in terms of product and given special emphasis on role based training. So today if there is a partner who is going in for DLP, he can go through a 30 minutes training programme and he will understand what the DLP solution is about, how to qualify an opportunity, how to talk about this technology and also what is our product future. This is followed by a quiz and partners can get a certification once they successfully answer all the questions.
Since cloud is going to have an increased focus, are there any special efforts being put to engage with your partners?
It is more of in a transition stage right now. We have brought in some products in to the cloud already. E-mail security as a cloud solution is available. There are partners who have access to our portal. They can directly login the orders and provision cloud services for the customer. In the SEP cloud, we have created a marketplace with our distributor. In India, we have signed up with Ingram and in their Ingram marketplace you will see there is the SEP cloud and partners and customers can go and directly place the order and provision and make use of it. We have tied up with AWS, Azure and recently with Oracle Cloud. All these cloud solutions will be available on their cloud. It is already available on AWS. Gradually, for all the cloud products, we are trying to bring it into the common cloud platform, so that it is available for our customers. There is a great focus and strategy in place to address the cloud market. We have the technology and the products.
What were the key initiatives that have been taken by the company that has created a difference for Symantec especially in India?
India is a very tough market and very price sensitive. Competitive pressures are there, and it is part of our job. One of the major differentiators which we bring in to the customer is integration. At the end of the day, the best technology wins and it is the customer who has the final say on which technology they want to go with and which technology they don’t want to go with. I have competition in each and every area which I work in. Each one will have around 10 competitors, but we’re present in all the solutions stack and my competition in each stack is different.
From the partner perspective, we come across as a vendor whose partner program is mature, more transparent, and simpler to work with. and if you talk to few partners, then you will notice that they will vouch for it. I am quite sure that none of our competitors have such an extensive partner program.There are only a handful of mature players in the industry that have a clear partner program in place.
Any particular message that you want to give it to your existing partners and for those who can be the prospective ones in the future?
I would like partners to stay focused, as it brings in a lot of difference to the business. They should not get distracted by the deals. Besides, they have to be loyal to their customers so they are aware what’s all happening at their end. There is enough market for all of us to play. There are enough dollars that can be earned together. All we need to stay focused.