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McAfee promises improvements coming for partners program


LAS VEGAS – The head of McAfee’s channel operations for the Americas promises the company’s often maligned partners program is going to be overhauled in a few months.

“We’re taking an aggressive approach in 2018 and we’ll move some of the complexity out of the program,” Ken McCray said in an interview here Tuesday as McAfee’s annual partner summit wound up. The summit precedes the Mpower enterprise conference starting Wednesday. “The plan right now is to make significant changes to the program in Q1.”

McCray has spent the last two days meeting with the company’s partner advisory council and partners outlining what’s coming. And while he wouldn’t give details to a reporter, there were some snippets.

“Where there’s five clicks (on the partner portal) I want to go to two. We have three steps in some areas, I want to go to one. Where there needs to be single-sign on we need to put that in place.”
The three deal registration programs will be cut to one.

He acknowledged partners have been hard on him even in the past two days.

“In some pockets, yes. There’s been partners who have said, ‘You’ve been talking about changes for a while, this is the second or third event you guys have talked about changes. You’ve made some incremental changes but not any large milestone changes,’he said. “That’s the goal right now: to make milestone changes that actually benefit the partner and their experience.

“The one thing that’s plagued us as a company is ease of doing business,” he admitted. “Partners have said ‘Your sales reps don’t want to work with us, your partner portal is cumbersome, your deal registration program doesn’t make sense, the SLAs (service level agreements) are unacceptable – those four things create a negative partner experience.”

However, in the past two days behind closed doors after looking at the upcoming moves McCray said “the partners resoundingly said we’re moving in the right direction.”

McAfee has just over 1,200 partners in Canada: Nine Platinum (including Bell Canada, Herjevec Group, ISA and SRG), 12 Gold and the rest Registered Partners. These last are managed by distributors Ingram Micro Canada and Tech Data Canada.

”I’d love to have one or two more Platinum partners,” McCray said, “because they have invested the most in the technology.” Platinum partners have competency in four of seven certification areas, and must be able to install and give professional services.”

“We’re trying to refine our strategy. The days of having a [large] number of partners on your books are gone. You need strategic partners who can embrace and enable your technology. So the biggest thing we’re doing is a lot of research on the capabilities of our partner community, meaning can they do security architecture on the front end, then scope the opportunity, then be able to install or provide professional services? So moving from just being able to service a customer to being end-to-end (provider).”

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