McAfee building channel plans for emerging technologies

Pedro Abreu

McAfee channel go-to-market veep Pedro Abreu.

In Dave DeWalt’s keynote speech kicking off McAfee Focus 10 in Las Vegas on Tuesday morning, it was evident the company has new markets on its mind.

DeWalt spent a good deal of time in his presentation detailing the company’s moves in the virtualization and mobility spaces, including integrations of new products for both spheres into the company’s overarching ePolicy Orchestrator management console.

With the launch of MOVE – the McAfee Optimized Virtual Environment (or Management of Virtual Environments, depending on which slide DeWalt was on) and Enterprise Mobility Manager 9, McAfee is staking its claim to these two markets.

How is it bringing its partners along to these new spaces? sat down with Pedro Abreu, vice president of go-to-market strategy and channel programs, and Donna St. John, director of partner experience at McAfee, to discuss those plans.

Abreu described both as “very adjacent technologies” to the existing McAfee channel, but made it clear the company is going to tread a little bit slowly. It’s still learning the ropes in those fields, as it were, and the company plans to build its channel programs for the space as it learns.

“These are two big pushes for us as a corporation, but products that are very new and instead of the traditional ‘give it to the channel and have everyone sell it’ model, we’re going to have a set of phases,” Abreu said. “We’ll work with select partners up front, focus on enablement and then open it up to a broader set of partners in a more controlled release.”

The plan is to first approach existing McAfee partners with existing practices or opportunities in those two fields. Although there will be opportunities to reach out to new groups of partners, Abreu said the security vendor has much of the coverage it needs for the spaces. For example, Abreu said that among the key partners of Trust Digital (acquired by McAfee in May to build out their mobile business), there was almost 90 per cent overlap with the existing McAfee channel.

Partners early in the programs – which will often overlap due to connections inherent between virtualization and mobility technologies – will do a lot of learning on the job in a “high touch” channel program that will aim to get them up and running as quickly as possible. Many of the supports are already in place – the company currently has 30 SEs worldwide trained on mobility and ready to go, Abreu said.

Members of the early program will include partners both large and small. St. John stressed that while getting big global and national partners enabled and selling is important, it’s equally important that McAfee make its mark with the boutique and specialist partners that have built deep practices around security as well one or both of the targeted adjacencies.

From there, Abreu said the company would “give it a quarter, see the results, and see how fast we can enable partners, react, and build the next plan.”

Be sure to check out this week for much more news from McAfee Focus 10, including much more on the company’s plans to embrace partners looking for recurring revenues through SaaS and managed services.