Liveblog: McAfee Partner Summit closing keynote

Alex Thurber

McAfee channel chief Alex Thurber

LAS VEGAS – The main focus of McAfee’s event here may have shifted from partners to partners and end users with the opening of Focus 11 this morning, but there’s still plenty of shine on the company’s partner community here Tuesday.

In fact, Tuesday afternoon will see McAfee worldwide channel chief Alex Thurber take the stage for a keynote wrapping up the company’s largest global partner event today. Expect Thurber to wrap up the events of the day, drill down on the channel opportunity with the soon-to-launch DeepSafe technology, and maybe bring a few surprises.

And will be there? But of course. Once our fingers stop flying on the Focus 11 liveblog this morning, we hope to find a quick bite to eat, and then get right back to it back here, where our liveblog of Thurber’s presentation to partners should kick off about 1:00 pm Pacific, 4:00 pm Eastern.

As usual, join us for the liveblog after the jump.

  McAfee Partner Summit closing keynote (10/18/2011) 

Good afternoon from Las Vegas. Just settling in for the closing session of McAfee’s Partner Summit here at Focus.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:22

Thurber describes today’s DeepSafe announcements as “a gamechanger.” “It’s nothing less than an inflection point. Mark your calendars for October 18th, because today is a dawn in the new era of security.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:25

Reviewing the events of the last day and a half so far, including the social events and the big partner party at TAO last night.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:28

“Yesterday was about opportunity and acceleration,” Thurber says. “This afternoon, the theme is around empowerment.” It’s the “how” after the “why and what” yesterday.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:29

Security in mobile is “a massive growth opportunity,” Thurber says. Mobility, cloud and data centre are taking the TAM for McAfee from $13 billion last year to $23 bilion by 2015. “Think about how much opportunity we have to not just grow with the market, but to take market share going foward.” But to do that, McAfee has to help partners adapt, he says.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:32

“We in this room are responsible for 80 per cent of McAfee’s revenues,” Thurber says — 30+ per cent from Elite partner alone.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:33

“Programs, enablement and incentives have all grown year over year,” Thurber tells partners.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:34

“We’re really focused on driving mutual profitability, and we’re going to do that by investing in you, gorwing with you, and optimizing for you. And the result of that is profit.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:35

Thurber says McAfee has just completed the largest investment in the channel in McAfee’s history, “confirmed Intel’s commitment to us, and Intel’s commitment to you.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:36

Detailing the deal registration changes made in August. You remember that, right?

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:38

Moving onto talking about ACE — the Acredited Channel Engineer program, which is now generally available around the world. “This is not easy,” requires case work, testing, and a proof of concept in the real world with a customer.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:39

“By this time next year, I think every Elite partner should have at least one ACE on staff.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:40

ACE benefits include visibility with McAfee’s sales team, exclusive support and resources, and doubled benefits under the McAfee Rewards program.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:40

Shifting to talk about post-sales and support — McAfee revenues have doubled from 2006 to 2010, and “we need to figure out how to scale our support organization.” Thurber says the company isn’t going to scale internally, so turning to channel through the McAfee Authorized Support Provider program.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:42

Eight pilot partners have seen a 43 per cent incerease in bookings, Thurber says. The MASP program will be rolled out worldwide, to Elite partners first.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:42

“Think about the competitive advantages this brings you.” Both increased margins and customer retention by getting closer to existing customers.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:43

“I am a huge believer in innovation,” Thuber says, expects his staff to take chances, and to be wrong sometimes, because it’s the only way to make sure the chances being taken are bold enough.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:45

Last year’s Intel R&D spend was $7 billion. “And by the way, as an aside, that’s more than Symantec’s entire revenues.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:46

Thurber talking about the partner opportunities around the DeepSafe products introduced earlier today, in particularly the managed service opportunities around the desktop with DeepCommand + eP — save customers energy money by shutting down their PCs based on policy.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:49

“We’re going to have a very deliberate” go to market around the DeepSafe products, he says. Will work with partners jointly around DeepCommand to protect incumbency and to learn more about the product in the real world.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:50

DeepDefender will ship later this year or early next year, “and initially we want to be involved in all of those deals” to understand how it works. Those restrictions will be loosened over the course of 2012, Thurber says.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:51

On to channel program, talking about security as a service, dating back to the MXlogic acquisition.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:51

Thurber introduces a SaaS Monthly specialization within the partner program. “I know just how important SaaS is to your business model, especially when you’re looking at SMB,” he says.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:52

Sounds like the SaaS program will be US-only at first, working with two of the company’s distributors. Rollout in EMEA and APAC later. I’ll ask Thurber after this session when it will come to Canada.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:54

Talking about segmentation within the channel — leading to the SMB specialization rollout earlier this year — more than 1,000 partners worldwide in the program so far.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:56

“[SMB] is a great market, and it’s one you should all be looking at. There’s no clear leader, so the opportunitiy is tremendous.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:58

Thurber says McAfee has been working on ways to help partners sell at a solutions level — the Security Connected Framework, a playbook and guides and a variety of solutions for top opportunities like consumerization of IT.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:00

“The biggest upside of teh growth opportunities is in alternative deliver models,” Thurber says — anaged security services a $17 billion opportunity growing at 17.5 per cent. “I have challenged our team to double our managed security business over the next 12 months.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:01

Thurber introduces Managed Services Provider Program — the first expansion of the program outside of resale. Two levels — Elite and Premier.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:02

“The requirements are a bit higher than just traditional resale,” Thurber says — joint business plan, bookings minimum and training requirements to get into MSSP program.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:03

Shifting now to the final topic — optimization: making it easier to do busines with McAfee.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:04

Detailing the new, unified e-learing program, based on continuing education credits earned throughout the year. “It drove me crazy that we would be pulling your resources out of the field simply to repeart the certiications they already had.” Under new program, get trained on new aspects as they come out and away you go.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:06

As part of shift in program every partner certification renewals for 2012 have been cleared through to 2013.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:08

“Many surveys of channel partners say that engagement, relationship management, is truly crucial.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:10

Thurber’s engagement priorities: work on relationships with partners rather than transactions, get parnters inolved early — “no second calls without a partner” in most situations, and prioritize partners who are investing in McAfee. “We will prioritize those who have committed to us. We are committed to driving this into the sales DNA.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:11

“I think the number-one channel issue is communications,” he says. So much to communicate to parnters — to ease that, reinstating Global Town Hall Meetings with parnters and moving them from audio-only to video.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:13

“I am committed to a complete overhaul of the McAfee partner portal before Partner Summit next year,” he says — communicating to parnters what they want to hear. “This will be in place by next October.”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:14

“If you follow me on Twitter, I personally guarnatee that no message will be longer than 140 characters,” Thurber quips.

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:15

And with that, Thurber wraps up his session, and we’re wrapping up this liveblog. Thanks for joining us this afternoon!

Tuesday October 18, 2011 2:16