**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**
McAFEE PARTNER SUMMIT — Security giant McAfee has streamlined its partner program, infusing it with the kind of flexibility and simplicity that newer business models and partner types prefer.
The company made the announcement at its fourth Partner Summit, which is underway this week in Las Vegas. Here, nearly 700 partners are being briefed on the newly christened Intel Security Partner Program, which was formerly known as the SecurityAlliance Program, for the first time.
In addition to the new name, McAfee, which is part of Intel Security, has worked hard to streamline the program and give it greater clarity, said Gavin Struthers, senior vice president of worldwide channel operations. Instead of five different competencies, McAfee has reduced the number of product areas of focus to three. They are Endpoint Security, Network Security and Security Management.
The company has also eliminated baseline certifications required to qualify for certain benefits under the program, and expanded the ongoing education that it provides to all partners. The net result is that partners looking to join the ranks of McAfee Elite Partners can now do so with approximately 30 percent less effort.
Speaking of education, McAfee has tripled its investment into partner enablement. This has led to a 40 percent jump in Continuing Education Participation in 2014, according to the company.
With that work behind it, McAfee has turned its attention to its CloudRunner Platform, which is an online, cloud-based service that partners can use to provide demonstrations to their customers. With CloudRunner, partners can create for customers an immersive demo environment without the need for an appliance, box or virtual machine. This reduces demo setup time from days to mere minutes, according to the company.
To help make partners make the most of their relationship with the company, McAfee has also unveiled the Partner 360 Dashboard, which provides a snapshot of all of a partner’s activity with the company, including their sales performance, rebate status, market development funds and more. In addition, McAfee is also unveiling this week a new adjunct to its SMARTmarketing Platform. New tools for building online marketing programs around email, social media and syndicated Web content are now available to qualified partners.
Struthers, who has been in the role for three years, says this year’s focus is helping partners achieve greater success. To do that, he said the company wants to position itself as a more relevant supplier to their organizations.
“We live in a fragmented, promiscuous market where there are so many vendors that many of the partners sit on the fence [in terms of commitment]. So over the past three years we have been working on what we call our formula of success,” Struthers said. This includes asking them to double-down on fewer vendors, commit to McAfee’s programs and lead with the company’s products whenever possible. In exchange for their increase commitment, McAfee has agree to simply what it asks of them, and better enable their success.
“The market is consolidating and we have a very compelling end-to-end security message from endpoint to network to security management. Putting in place attractive profitability programs that make us compelling in terms of partners’ top lines and bottom lines, and investing heavily in our training, both in the sales and technical side, is positioning us for success,” said Struthers.
Looking back over his tenure, Struthers believes the changes put in place are having a positive impact. For proof points, he noted that the company’s deal-registration program led to a 100 percent increase in the amount of new business opportunities partners have brought to the company through that program in 2013 and a 60 percent increase so far this year. The company’s top 350 partners, which represent its Elite and Select program members, grew their McAfee business greater than 20 percent last year and are on track to growth by double digits again in 2014. Struthers noted that this is triple the rate of growth for the overall market.
“Asking them to think big with us and double down on our portfolio is paying dividends,” he added.
Although the theme of this year’s event is “Think Big,” Struthers also noted that the company is focusing on smaller details, too, in an attempt to become easier to do business with.
In addition to these themes, the company drove the point that customers are not looking for point products that are implemented in an ad hoc way to protect their data environments, but more integrated and ubiquitous solutions that are layered across their architectures so they may be able to pre-empt some of the advanced malware that threatens them, instead.