Evolving channels

Trend Micro’s general manager, Chris Moore on switching the vendor’s partner programme and what this means for partners in the Middle East and Africa region

Tags: Trend Micro Incorporated
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Evolving channels
By  Manda Banda Published  April 22, 2012

Trend Micro’s general manager, Chris Moore on switching the vendor’s partner programme and what this means for partners in the Middle East and Africa region.

As Trend Micro broadens its channel in the Middle East and Africa (MEA)region, the security solutions vendor has revamped its entire channel programme in a move the company says will transform its engagement model and introduce domain certification specialisations to its channel ecosystem.

According to the vendor, it has made changes to its channel partner programme to give its partners across the MEA geography better revenue opportunities, greater channel benefits and incentives, specialised certification training and enhanced competitiveness in the security market.

Under the streamlining, partners that were previously categorised as Affinity, AffinityPLUS and AffinityONE have now transitioned to the new partner tiers that include: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum status.

Trend Micro says the changes are aimed at giving channel partners across the MEA belt the opportunity to develop domain expertise and specialisations in Network and Systems Security, Data Protection Security, Cloud and Data Centre Security, End-point and Mobility Security and Small Business Security.

In addition, the company says it embarked on these game changing initiatives to assist partners to gain better access to the new partner programme in terms of: growth accelerators for their business, lead generation, deal registration protection, discounts and other rebates, and partner incentives.

In terms of the new specialisations, partners that want to attain the Gold status, must achieve specialisation certification in one of the five domain areas of specialisation under the new plan, although they are not limited to one domain. To be a Platinum partner, resellers in the MEA geography will have to demonstrate expertise and achieve specialisation certification in at least two domain areas.

Interestingly, under the new changes, channel partners can now attain the Gold tier by achieving specialisation in the SMB category, which is not necessarily deeply technical, but reflects a very deep understanding of the market. The others areas of specialisations according to the vendor, are aimed at the enterprise segment.

The company pointed out that the definition of the SMB specialisation in the new programme has to do with the product sets it brings to market and is not strictly linked to a customer definition of the SMB segment. The company emphasised that it is SMB products that are in the specialisation and not the SMB market segment.

Chris Moore, general manager, Trend Micro Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, said the new changes introduced to the partner programme are aimed at assisting channel partners to develop domain expertise across the region. “We have defined a number of domains into which customers’ problems or threats against their security fall and therefore, the new programme has been designed to address these threats so that our channel partners have the right tools to become experts in these areas of specialisation,” he said.

Moore said the old Trend Micro Partner Program was designed for a very simple structure of products and solutions set in the days of anti-virus and anti-malware. Today, said Moore, things have moved on for Trend in that there are far more complex threats in the market especially the enterprise IT market. “We have had to innovate and bring new solutions to market and having done that, we now really need to revamp our partners, who in essence are the customer facing people in order to address a different set of solutions and a different set of problems,” he said. “One thing to bear in mind is that we don’t manage our partner businesses on a day-to-day basis, but if we revamp our channel programme, what we are in fact doing is drive their behaviour in a different way. That’s all a bit theoretical so what does it mean in practice,” he asked?
Moore said through this exercise of revamping the partner programme, Trend Micro wants to reward its partners in the business sense for doing the things that allow them to deliver more complex solutions to customers with more complex problems.

“We are introducing a whole series of specialisations in the channel programme and our role as Trend is to bring the innovative solutions to market, but also to drive the behaviour of the channel to be able to deliver an up-to-date service or solutions to our end customers. The specialisation component is one of the ‘biggest’ and ‘heaviest’ items in the new channel programme.

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