Veritas to lean more heavily on distribution

Rick Kramer, North American channel chief, Veritas

Rick Kramer, North American channel chief, Veritas

As Veritas has come into its own following its separation from Symantec, one of its first big channel pushes has been a a “optimization and consolidation” of its distribution efforts in an effort the software company hopes will allow it to work more closely with its distributors.

The strategy, said North American channel chief Rick Kramer, is to “place bigger bets on fewer partners,” to work closely with a limited number of top-tier partners — currently 30 Platinum and 57 Gold globally — and to turn to distribution for the rest of the partner base.

“We want to make sure we’re investing partner who invest in us, so we’re resourcing heavily in the top end of with our top 100 partners, with distribution supporting the rest of the way,” Kramer said. “We see that as the strategy to go forward.”

With distribution taking on a more important role, the company has for the first time named an executive to head global distribution company-wide. The first job, said global channel chief Mark Nutt, was to pare the ranks of distribution somewhat.

“What we inherited from Symantec was an over-distributed state,” Nutt said. Not entirely surprising given the broad focus of Symantec’s wares, compared to the relatively narrow aperture for Veritas — part of the differences between the two sides of the former Symantec that always made their combination seem an odd fit.

In North America, it was a relatively easy process. The company decided to stick with two broadline distributors with high-value units in Ingram Micro and Tech Data, and with two specialty or value-added distributors in Avnet Technology Solutions and Carahsoft Technology. Of the authorized Symantec distributors, only Synnex was not retained, because while Synnex remains an important distributor for Symantec, the same fit was not seen with Veritas. In other markets — Latin America and Europe in particular, both of which feature a large number of smaller distributors in each of many local markets — the process has been a bit more involved. But Nutt said consolidation was necessary to “drive clarity” in the channel.

The decision to lean on distribution more heavily for much of its channel suits Tech Data Canada just fine. Ann Hunt, director of sales, called said the decision to stick with the broadline distributor for a very high-touch product “speaks to Tech Data’s evolution in the value-added distribution space, and shows our differentiation from the pack.”

Irene Buchan, director of marketing at Tech Data Canada, said the distributor is already talking to the newly-reformed vendor about ways it can do more with Veritas. With the company pushing partners to focus on their renewals, that’s one area Buchan suggested Tech Data may be able to help.

“If we can help manage that, everyone wins. Veritas is happy, we’re happy, the partner can focus on net new business, and the end customer is covered,” Buchan said.

Hunt said in Veritas’ short time in its return to existence, it has made a number of moves that are proving popular with Canadian partners. The vendor has significantly slashed the number of SKUs it offers, and perhaps more importantly in this era of a wildly fluctuating (and not necessarily in the upwards direction) loonie, its move to local currency price lists around the world is important.

“It’s such a benefit to the channel to have that predictability built in. It allows all levels of the channel to focus on selling the product as opposed to managing currency,” Hunt said.

Kramer said the company is focusing on removing as much complexity as possible from its partner program, and that it would have liked to have made changes sooner, but had to wait until it was separated from Symantec and the channel program that covered the then-combined vendors’ combined lineups.

“You’ve asked us to reduce complexity and become easier to do business with, and I think we’ve done that,” Kramer told partners.