Symantec CEO, Channel Chief: Partners Offer Cautious Applause
Nearly two months after Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) announced a new CEO, the security and storage software company is hosting a channel partner event in Baltimore, Md. Symantec indicated to The VAR Guy that both CEO Steve Bennett and Channel Chief John Eldh were scheduled to attend the event. But overall, the Symantec Partner Engage conference is a pretty low-key affair. And that’s a smart move. Here’s why.
Sure, Symantec is celebrating its partners of the year — including StraTech, Lumenate, Kanatek, Allen Rio Informatica, CDWG, CDW, CompuCom, Synnex and SHI. And John Eldh, VP of Americas Channel Sales, has repeatedly stated in recent weeks that Symantec is committed to the channel.
But instead of hyping a big vision and making a flurry of announcements, Symantec seems to be in listen mode this week. That’s hardly surprising, given CEO Bennett’s commitment to listening. When the CEO change was announced in July, Bennett said:
“My first order of business will be to speak with our customers, partners and shareholders, and over the next 90 to 120 days I’m going on a tour to listen, learn and work with the leadership team to figure out the right strategy to leverage all of Symantec resources to accelerate our rate of value creation. Once this tour is completed, I’ll share our go-forward strategy to win in the marketplace and how we’re going to drive accelerated revenue and profit growth. This is a process I’ve used before many times in the past. It’s been successful, and I look forward to applying this similar playbook at Symantec.”
Some pundits have wondered if Bennett will try to sell of Symantec’s storage business later this year. But it’s premature for such speculation. Bennett is only about 45 days into the 90- to 120-day listening process.
Speaking on background, one Symantec partner said Bennett’s approach is a breath of fresh air. He noted that cloud storage and cloud security are the two biggest opportunities — and challenges — facing Symantec and its partners for the next year or so. “I don’t think that reality received enough urgency under [former CEO] Enrique [Salem]. Steve [Bennett] seems to be instilling that sense of urgency in Symantec. I applaud that.”
Will the applause continue? The VAR Guy is listening for more clues from Baltimore, Md., and Symantec Partner Engage.