Symantec: Back In Growth Mode — And Partner Mode?
After several years of bumpy performance, Symantec seems to be hitting its stride again. The security and storage software giant today delivered record Q1 revenues that easily beat Wall Street’s expectations. But perhaps equally important: Symantec Endpoint Security 12 (SEP 12) recently arrived without suffering any major setbacks with channel partners. Here’s the update.
First, the financials: GAAP revenue for the fiscal first quarter was $1.653 billion, up 15 percent year-over-year and up 9 percent after adjusting for currency, according to Symantec. The strong results beat Wall Street’s expectations, and Symantec is raising its outlook for Q2, according to Barron’s.
In recent weeks, Symantec has also successfully delivered SEP 12, the successor to SEP 11. Critics will remember that an earlier release — SEP 11 — initially suffered from bloat and poor performance. But so far, feedback about SEP 12 seems upbeat. Symantec is quick to note that key channel partners completed 24 SEP 12 deployments within 24 hours of the endpoint security product’s release. To reiterate: All of those initial deployments involved channel partners. Now, Symantec is looking to train more partners and customers on SEP 12.
Back on Track?
Gradually, it seems, Symantec has turned the page on a few channel missteps and software missteps. A controversy from 2008, involving Symantec allegedly taking more customers direct, seems to be fading gradually from memory.
Speaking about today’s earnings announcement, Symantec CEO Enrique Salem said in a prepared statement:
“We are capitalizing on new growth opportunities in cloud, mobile and virtualization and will continue to deliver new solutions to help both consumers and enterprises securely access and use information across multiple devices and platforms.”
Salem has previously stated that about 15 percent of Symantec’s revenues will come from cloud and SaaS services within a few years. More recently, Symantec has disclosed plans to bring Backup Exec to the cloud, as part of a broader Symantec.cloud branding effort.
Are things perfect at Symantec? Certainly not. The company continues to face stiff competition from traditional security and storage rivals, and emerging cloud rivals. Plus, some VARs continue to worry about Symantec’s direct sales force, and direct Symantec.cloud sales.
Still, today’s quarterly earnings announcement provides solid evidence that Symantec is on the right track. The VAR Guy wonders: Do channel partners agree with that assessment? Or is The VAR Guy focusing too much on financial results?