As part of its main vision for the channel, Intel Security is looking to continue growing at twice the market rate – and if early indicators are anything to go by, it is well on the path to this goal. And to ensure there are no unwelcome surprises on the journey, the company continues to adjust and tweak its channel strategy and programmes.
David Small, vice-president, EMEA channel at Intel Security, says maintaining double the industry’s growth rate may seem a tall order for some, but he is confident the company and its partners will achieve it.
“Our Top 50 partners in 2015 achieved 18% growth compared to the market’s 8% growth,” Small says. “That’s good for us, and very good for our partners. We’re on the same path and we’re enjoying similar growth in 2016. Q1 of this year saw bookings grow 12%; ATD and TIE saw triple digit growth; and we experienced 13% and 12% growth in enterprise and commercial solutions respectively.
“So we are absolutely on track for twice the market growth rate,” he adds.
Small says that there are five key trends in the industry it is looking to address with the changes it is making in its channel strategy and programmes.
“First, the threat landscape is expanding which means that there are more opportunities presenting themselves,” he says. “Second, Our Threat Defense Lifecycle with key factors Protect, Detect and Correct is the best way to guarantee the best customer outcomes. Third, what we call the Golden Hour – as in the medical sense, that hour that can prove crucial in saving a life – and our ability to speedily react and recover. It is key how quick we can find and fix an attack. The fourth point is the manpower shortage in security and how we can help our partners with this and vice-versa. And, lastly, the added and complementary services we can offer to customers.”
Small says Intel Security has three key priorities when it comes to its channel: strategic engagement; mutual growth and profitability; and the best customer outcomes.
“The strategic engagement imperatives are three-fold: Culture – a set of sales rules whereby we engage early and give partners the opportunity to sell their skills, there’s a huge push on this from a company perspective; Systems – opportunity alignment with partners and CRM helping them to engage; and finally Planning – making sure we engage properly with partners so that when we go into a customer everyone knows who does what.
“When it comes to our second priority for the channel,” Small continues, “there are numerous challenges including margin expectations, programme complexity, and programme management and reporting. The desired outcomes that we’re looking for are consistent margin application in non-standard situations, a balanced approach of opportunity, performance and investment-based programmes, as well as making everything simple and predictable.
“We want to make sure it is crystal clear what the partner is going to earn from the very beginning of any deal,” he says.
The company is also putting measures in place to ensure that customers get the best results for their investments.
“We want to ensure that we provide our channel partners with the right ecosystem, programmes and support to allow them to do business in the right way,” Small says. “We want to start talking about specialisation, investing in the talent shortage, so that our channel partners have the same level of understanding that we do.”
Small says that the company will align specialised certifications in four technical solutions areas: Intelligent endpoint; preventing data theft; securing hybrid infrastructure; and intelligent security operations.
“Within these four categories are various other specialisations that will ensure our partners have the knowledge and capabilities to deal with any security issues customers may face,” Small says.
And he’s buoyant about the future. “We’ve made a huge investment to help our partners and within EMEA we’ve seen significant wins in these specialisations,” he says. “So, in terms of where we’re going and the challenges we’ve set for our partners, we’ve never been more committed to the channel.
“We have had some changes within our executive group and they all come from partner-centric groups – they’re extremely committed to the channel,” Small says. “It is a massive corporate focus for us and I really encourage partners to take advantage of the change in opportunities in the landscape. It is clear that many of our partners are already starting to do this and driving growth through these new opportunities in the market.
“The market is facing change – huge change – and we’re in a position to help our channel partners to double their business,” Small says. “We’re setting out a very clear path on how they can achieve this.”