... keep the name and says McAfee maintains it can achieve dramatically accelerated revenue and customer growth following its spinout from Intel.
“It's still well-known, is still strongly supported by channel partners as a product brand, and the company believes that there's enough positive history behind the brand — not to mention today a very strong technology portfolio and leadership team — that it can be resuscitated successfully," says Parizo.
And of course, there’s enormous cost and uncertainty inherent in rebranding, especially in the crowded and fiercely competitive enterprise security market.
Drawing on resources that can be better spent raising awareness of the expanded portfolio may not even be necessary for some customer segments, says Lester Keizer, CEO of Las Vegas-based solutions provider Business Continuity Technologies, because the average end-user has one criteria for success. “All they want is for it to work," says Keizer. “Ninety-five percent of the time, they take our recommendation as their trusted business partner."
In fact, he says, the more he can put his own brand on a solution, the better for customer stickiness.
Certs On the Rise
As to the channel program, Steranka says he’s seeing partners pare down their security portfolios.
“I've got a significant number of partners that, over time, just kept amassing more and more vendor relationships, to the point where they realized, ‘Wow, we have hundreds in some cases,’" he said. “They really want to back off and get down to a core set of strategic partners."
Of course, to be that strategic security partner, a supplier must have a compelling technology story up and down the infrastructure stack, from endpoints to assets in the cloud, as well as a strong incentive program and access to education and selling and enablement tools. Steranka insists that McAfee gets that and is positioned to be an end-to-end provider.
And, that yen for exclusivity runs in both directions: Suppliers are tired of trying to wring value from a long channel tail and are demanding commitments from partners, often in the form of expensive-to-achieve certifications.
“At the beginning of this year we announced the addition of service-delivery specialization requirements to the Platinum level status," said Steranka. “The expertise required by partners in both designing and implementing and supporting that platform is so key to our success with our customers that we felt it was imperative."
That services-specific concentration involves four certifications and applies to McAfee’s entire solution set, from endpoint to data protection to hybrid infrastructure to operations. Achieving the highest-metal status requires three certs, but Steranka says most Platinum partners have all four.
“There’s training at both an individual product level as well as at a solution level," he says. While partners can test out, McAfee still wants a ...