Symantec Launches Partner Program for SaaS
Talk about timing. Earlier today, I expressed concern that Symantec wasn’t really promoting its SaaS (software as a service) platform during a partner conference here in Washington, D.C. A few hours after my rant, Symantec launched a partner program for the Symantec Protection Network. Here are some of the details.
The Symantec Protection Network (SPN) is a SaaS platform that initially supports online storage, with online security to follow sometime in the next few months.
SPN launched in early 2008 but Symantec has been mostly quiet about the platform’s launch and expansion. The challenge: Finding a way to ensure partners can participate in the SaaS effort.
“Delivering SaaS and figuring out a way to fold the channel into it isn’t an easy challenge,” conceded Chris Schin, director of product management for SPN at Symantec. “Everything about this program is premised on a credit card ordering model. We can take the orders direct, facilitate seamless upgrades and downgrades for activation plans.”
Partners, in turn, will use an agency model. For every customer billing, the initial partner receives a commission. Roughly 200 partners are already participating in the SPN recurring revenue model, according to Schin.
The new SPN partner program includes two levels. According to a Symantec press release:
- The Select partner level allows any Symantec partner to resell Symantec Protection Network online services and benefit from automated service account provisioning and billing. Select partners act as authorized sales agents and make use of Symantec’s automated online portal.
- The Premier partner level is available to Symantec Gold, Platinum or Silver Corporate Reseller Partners who have shown a commitment to developing SaaS revenue streams. Premier partners receive higher commissions and are trained by Symantec to provide comprehensive sales, ordering and service management support to their customers. Premier partners also benefit from the flexibility to transact as an authorized sales agent or through a more traditional reseller buying model.
To be sure, this is a tricky time for Symantec and many channel-friendly software companies evaluating SaaS. The natural path for many early SaaS strategies involves direct sales to customers. But Symantec has worked overtime to design its strategy to include SaaS.