Broadcom launches services-focused Expert Advantage channel program

The Broadcom Software services channel had been focused around a single partner, a model based on its CA acquisition, but they concluded that simply wasn’t going to work with the acquired Symantec assets, so have revamped their channel services  model.

Broadcom has reworked the channel program they use to manage the acquired assets now included in their Broadcom Software solutions. The model that originally created to manage the services business was originally based upon how things worked with the assets acquired from CA, but they found it was a poor fit for the assets which came when they acquired the enterprise business of Symantec. Accordingly, they have created Expert Advantage, an invitation-only expansion of their Advantage partner program which has a more conventional channel services approach.

“This program is about expanding our specialized services partnerships,” said Cameron Sedgwick, head of global services and education for Broadcom Software, who came to the company as part of the CA acquisition. “We are trying to make things as flexible as possible. We don’t want to compete with partners.”

Broadcom Software is composed of the acquired assets from CA and Symantec.

“Some of the CA legacy security products were moved over to the Symantec area, and the Symantec products were split into three parts: identity management, which is mainly CA legacy; networking information security; and endpoint protection,” Sedgwick indicated.

By the time CA was acquired, it had divested its traditional channel businesses, notably Arcserve and Erwin, and the remaining mainframe and distributed offerings were sold primarily direct, although partners were used there for some smaller commercial and enterprise customers. This impacted the way that Broadcom Software managed channel services.

Cameron Sedgwick, head of global services and education for Broadcom Software

“When we first acquired CA, we moved to a single strategic partner model because it was the simplest one for our customers,” Sedgwick said. “The single provider third-party company weren’t exclusive, but they were the preferred partner. That model worked successfully for CA, but with Symantec we found that it wasn’t going to fit, and that we would need more reach. Expert Advantage allows us to bring in a whole ecosystem of partners that Symantec and CA have worked with in the past.”

Sedgwick believes that replacing the single provider model with Expert Advantage will arrest the loss of partners that had resulted, and reinvigorate the channel around services.

“When we moved to a single provider model, some partners drifted away,” he said. “With Expert Advantage, we are finding that many are excited. They had robust services practices with us before, and the single provider model took away that business. Now it is available to them.”

The partners who provided testimonials around the new program include both former CA partners like Georgia-based regional solutions provider A&I solutions and Salt Lake City-based Rego Consulting, and former Symantec partners like California-based security specialist Novacoast.

“We want to bring a mix of partners into Expert Advantage,” Sedgwick said. “This includes SIs for things like transformation services, and niche providers who are really good around two or three products.”

Broadcom is putting a place a system for transferring services contracts to partners.

“Initially my team will do review of all services transactions,” Sedgwick said. “Is there a reason a service needs to be on our contract? Does the customer trust the partner? Does the partner have the skillset? If they don’t, Expert Advantage can bring them together with another partner, or can subcontract our own people to them. It’s about doing the right thing in each case. We are happy to let partners have services if that makes sense for the company. We are trying to avoid friction between partners and with our sales organization, while doing what is right for the customer.”

To make it easier for customers to find the right services partner, Broadcom Software is also introducing the Expert Advantage Partner Finder, an easy-to-use search tool that lets customers tap into Broadcom Software’s global network of specialized and certified services partners.

The specialization and certification is a work in progress at the moment, but Sedgwick said it’s an important part of the program, which is why his job title includes education as well as global services.

“We had moved a lot of our education efforts to the single provider, and we have brought that all back, and it is now under my organization,” he stated. “Symantec had a very good certification program. CAs was a little big spottier, so there are some partners who are strong but don’t have an official certification to identify that. We will be moving to a certification model for everyone. We just need to build it out, especially on the CA side.”