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Trend Micro streamlines partner programme

Vendor transforms partner programme to bring in domain certification specialisations

Trend Micro streamlines partner programme
Moore says Trend has defined a number of domains into which customers' problems or threats against their security fall.

Security vendor Trend Micro has made changes to its partner programme, to give its partners across the Middle East region better revenue opportunities, greater benefits, specialised certification training and enhanced competitiveness in the market.

Under the restructuring, 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.

The company says the changes are intended to give channel partners across the region 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 security solutions vendor says the changes will help partners to gain better access to Trend Micro's new partner programme in terms of growth accelerators for their business, lead generation, deal registration protection, discounts and other rebates and channel incentives.

In terms of the new specialisations, to attain the Gold status, a partner must achieve specialisation certification in one of the five domain areas of specialisation under the new plan, although partners are not limited to one domain. To be a Platinum partner, resellers must achieve specialisation certification in at least two domain areas.

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

According to Trend, the definition of the SMB specialisation in the new programme has to do with the product sets and not strictly linked to a customer definition of the SMB segment. The company emphasises that it's its 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 having adopted the new names from the old partner programme, the company had in the past 14 AffinityONE partners and in the first stage of the transition, it now has 12 Gold partners. At the AffinityPLUS level, the old programme had 47 partners and in the new Silver tier there are 43 partners. At the Affinity level, Trend Micro had 370 partners and in the new Bronze category the vendor now has 376 partners. "We haven't kicked anyone out, but have downgraded some partners although they still have the capability to upgrade themselves," he noted.

Moore said from the partner numbers that have already moved to the new partner tiers, one can immediately notice that, it's has become a little tougher to be a Gold partner than it was to be an AffinityONE member. He said that the transition was all done automatically but the rollout will take a little longer as the company is teaching partners about the new certifications and business requirements. "We are making plans with partners for achieving the status they have been given or transferred to. We are into that phase now and partners will be given up to three months (90-days) to achieve the status they are initially in," he said.

Trend Micro expects to have all its channel partners fully certified on the new domain specialisations  by the end of Q1, 2012.

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