The Symantec/Veritas Split: What Partners Can Expect
Now that Veritas is being taken private by a group of investors led by The Carlyle Group, the truly hard work needs to begin from a channel perspective.
Veritas has until October 3rd to separate itself from Symantec’s channel management system, which essentially means implementing an entirely new ERP and partner relationship management (PRM) system.
Channel partners always greet such endeavors with trepidation. Past experiences with mergers and acquisitions have taught them to expect a lot of disruption in the channel. The only thing harder from an IT perspective than merging two companies together is divesting them.
Brett Shirk, global sales leader for the Veritas business unit within Symantec, said the good news is that much of the existing management team running Veritas will make the transition to the new entity. In addition, Shirk noted that the Veritas channel program, which shifted from a volume to value-based model a couple of years back, will stay the same.
In addition, rather than having an executive management team lead by relative newbies that just came out of some entrepreneur in residence program, The Carlyle Group has recruited Bill Coleman, a founder of BEA Systems, and Bill Kraus, a former CEO of 3Com to serve as CEO and chairman of the new entity effective Jan. 1, 2016 once the $8 billion deal is finally concluded.
The one thing that Veritas channel partners can look forward to, said Shirk, is that the number of SKUs surrounding Veritas products will be reduced and the contracts they need to sign will become simpler. In addition, Veritas is not only promising to accelerate the rate at which it is bringing new products to market, the company expects to become an acquirer of companies that provide complementary information management services.
Over the years a lot of channel partners made a fair amount of money by partnering with Veritas. But once Veritas was acquired by Symantec too much focused was placed on trying to drive what turned out to be an artificial convergence of security and information management products and services. While on the face of it those two product categories may seem complementary, the individuals that buy those products inside IT organizations tend to generally be separate. As such, bundling those technologies in a single offer never quite gained market traction.
Whether the channel will engage with Veritas as an independent entity more or less remains to be seen. But as a private company Veritas should have a lot more leeway in terms of making it attractive for its partners to exercise enough patience to actually find out if it will ultimately be worthwhile.