Channel partners of Ingram Micro can now sell Trend Micro security products as Software as a Service (SaaS) or offer them as managed services under a new program the companies announced last week.
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The agreement allows Ingram Micro partners to sell and manage nearly all of Trend Micro's security offerings -- from AntiVirus and PC-cillin to ServerProtect and OfficeScan Client/Server Edition -- through a pay-as-you-use subscription model. It marks another leading vendor's expansion into the growing SaaS market, which is gradually redefining the roles of many value-added resellers (VARs).
For example, Symantec Corp. plans to make all of its software available as services over the next two years, beginning with the release of Online Backup Service later this year. In addition, McAfee Inc. sells Secure Messaging Service, Security Alert Service and other SaaS offerings.
Chee Tan, senior director of Trend Micro's service provider business, said more emphasis on services will help his company compete with Symantec and McAfee in the security market.
The Trend Micro-Ingram Micro deal also demonstrates the growing role of distributors in SaaS -- a direct response to the channel's increased interest in SaaS, said Paul Myerson, senior channel analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass. All technology businesses are looking for ways to generate recurring revenue, and "SaaS is a great one," Myerson said. "Since the channel has their eyes on the ball, the distributors have no choice."
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the target customer base for Trend Micro's security services, Tan said. The Tokyo-based company is embracing services in response to customer demand, a strategy designed to boost its own business as well as partners', he said.
"One way you can grow the business is to tap into this up-and-coming services business," he added.
The move makes sense, but its success will depend on reaction in the channel, Myerson said. Such agreements with distributors are supposed to open up new access to second-tier resellers who typically don't have relationships with vendors, so "the real barometer will be if Ingram Micro can get solution providers that don't currently offer SaaS to jump on board and sell the solution effectively," he said.
Ingram Micro partners can either sell customers a service plan for a Trend Micro security service hosted by Ingram Micro, or they can sell, host and manage applications themselves, Tan said.
Trend Micro and Ingram Micro are calling their partnership a "usage-based licensing program," because partners who subscribe only have to pay for the number of Trend Micro licenses used each month. Trend Micro has set prices for distributors and partners -- which will not change for the length of the subscription -- but what they charge customers is up to them, Tan said.
Trend Micro has a similar licensing agreement with Tech Data, but there are no immediate plans to make more deals targeting SMB customers, Tan said.