We have a value-based channel program

DQC News Bureau
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McAfee is trying to integrate various channel programs to ensure that its

partners have the best possible business opportunities. Alex Thurber shares how

it is doing more than requisite for partners' satisfaction


Can you enumerate the significant highlights for your Indian channel

partners in 2008-09?

Since 2008, we have focused on developing a strong McAfee Security Alliance

Program for our partners. We have introduced elements such as the deal

registration program, rebates, free classroom technical training and also put in

place an 'Inside Sales engine team' to identify and share qualified business

leads with our McAfee SecurityAlliance partners.

Through the latter initiative, we have shifted gears from the pull model to

the push model and helped our partners enter new customer accounts. The recent

acquisitions completed by McAfee have also added to the McAfee product

portfolio. This enables partners to up-sell and cross-sell to their existing

customers. We have also focused on building our relationships with national

systems integrators (SI), such as Wipro, HCL and Datacraft. We perceive that a

lot of traction result as significant IT projects are being rolled out across


Alex Thurber

Sr VP-Worldwide Channel Operations, McAfee

Speculation is that McAfee plans to add new sub-distributors in various

pockets of India. Has there been a change in McAfee's current channel structure?

Currently we have over 400 partners, each as a part of the SecurityAlliance

Program and our Star Rewards Partner Program. We are in the process of doubling

this partner base by 2010 to increase our market coverage. In the

SecurityAlliance Program we have a three-tier model-Elite, Premier and Associate

partners. These partners have been identified and segmented, based on their

skill and competency levels.

What are some of the key improvements you would be making for McAfee's

channel strategy as it exists currently?

We are excited about the growth potential of the Indian market, and believe

that having a clearly defined value-based channel program, with appropriate and

consistent economic benefits is the best way to help both the channel and

McAfee. We will be integrating the various channel programs from our various

acquisitions to ensure that our partners have the best possible business

opportunities and that we made it as easy as possible to do business with


Would you be evolving specific channel business models for emerging

geographies like India?

Our focus has been on enabling our partners through investments in training. We
have a well-defined training program structure, wherein partner resources have

to go through a series of e-learning, classroom and hands-on training programs

on McAfee's products and solutions. They are required to go through a

certification exam after each level to move onto the next level.


As a strategy for emerging countries such as India, we are looking forward to

establishing a strong ecosystem with SIs, regional and mid-market partners,

telcos, ISPs, resellers and distributors to increase our marketshare across

customer segments.

We are in the process of determining the technical requirements of selling,

installing and supporting each of our products. Then we will be able to clearly

define the same that our channel partners will need to be authorized for each

class of product.

I look forward to traveling to India in the very near future to meet our

Indian partners and get their input on how the program is working and in what

areas there might be the potential for change.


What kind of 'Pay for Performance' program you would be developing?

We already have a comprehensive 'Pay for Performance' Program as part of the

McAfee SecurityAlliance Program comprising rebates, deal registration, partner
sales incentives which has been well appreciated by the channel community. We

will continue to refine all aspects of the program to ensure that the investment

requirements are matched by the business and profit potential.

Specifically in markets like India, where do you see the bigger sales

volume-consumer or corporate segments?

The enterprise and mid-market segment is definitely bigger in the current

scenario. However, with the rapidly growing Internet penetration and awareness

amongst the Indian consumers against the use of pirated software, we see the

consumer segment's contribution increasing in the coming years.

In the last one year, the AV and Internet security market have become

extremely competitive with several MNC players foraying into the Indian market?

What's McAfee's plan to deepen its presence in the Indian market?

India is definitely a price-conscious market, but customers here also

understand and appreciate the value of technological expertise and quality. With

the Indian market for IT security growing faster each day, McAfee has drawn up

big product plans for corporates and consumers.


Our recent acquisitions have helped us position ourselves as a comprehensive

security company. The new products and technologies thus acquired have been

well-integrated with our central management console. We have also made sure that

we have an open architecture for our central management console to ensure larger

interplay with other technology vendors which would benefit our customers


This means our solutions partners today have more opportunities and a larger

share of their customers' IT security spends. Our objective is to get more

partners to move up the value chain instead of doing just a one-time sale, to

provide them with more opportunities for deep-selling, and to facilitate

continuous customer engagement.

N Vasudevan