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Intel Security's Steranka: 'You Need to Walk a Mile in Partners' Shoes

By Lorna Garey
May 19, 2016 - Article

Lorna GareyRichard Steranka, VP of Intel Security’s global channel operations, briefed Channel Partners at the company’s recent partner summit on changes to the company’s portfolio and partner program strategy. Steranka, who also serves as head of global channel operations for Intel Corp., has been on the job for less than a year; readers may recognize him from his stint as VP of Avaya’s worldwide partner organization or the 19 years he spent on Cisco’s sales, channels, marketing and ops teams.

One current focus: Ensure Intel Security recognizes smaller partners that demonstrate commitment to the company’s new platform approach.

Intel Security's Richard Steranka“The overall partner program has been through an evolution," said Steranka. “It was a very centric around what I like to refer to as the ‘volume model.’ It recognized partners based on their annual bookings. So the big are always big." As a result, he says, up-and-coming, innovative partners have a tough time getting to the top level: “They never get the resources," he said.

To fix that, Steranka announced a shift to a competency-based – what he refers to as "value" – model in November at the company’s FOCUS conference.

“We have been on a methodical evolution from that point forward," he said, while also working to streamline the channel program and add enablement tools.

As for product, Intel Security is among the top two market share leaders for endpoint protection, and Steranka says the company has the top spot in its sights, and it’s looking to replicate that dominance across all the security products on offer. To get there, he’s betting on a platform approach, where the Intel Security Innovation Alliance, or SIA, program signs up supplier partners and integrates the solutions using an open data exchange layer.

The company serves 62 percent of the Global 2000 and announced a record quarter in Q1 2016 across all regions and units. Web, server and data-protection sales were up around 30 percent each, while sales of advanced threat-detection technology jumped more than 200 percent.

Channel Partners: Give us an overview of your partner program and product philosophy.

Richard Steranka: In terms of the overall channel mix, we're 90-plus percent. And I use that because, quarter by quarter, it will vary a little bit. In my three quarters here, it's been as high as 93 [percent] and never lower than 90 [percent]. We are, by all accounts, a channel-centric company.

We're also on a transition path to a platform. It's not here today, per se, in all elements, all aspects. The end vision hasn't been realized. We're probably 18 to 24 months away. The partners have to continue to make money while we're ...

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