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Symantec hands off consulting services to partners

Symantec consulting services that had gone direct will now be handled by qualified partners. No change seen on hosted or managed services model.

Symantec is turning over the bulk of its consulting services business to partners as it kicks off its new fiscal year.

In the transition to "Partner-Led Consulting Services," Symantec Corp.'s qualified partners will now sell consulting services deals and handle the credit and other financing needed to close them. Previously, Symantec took most of this business direct. Symantec will continue to work with its biggest, global enterprise accounts directly, according to an internal memo sent this week to Symantec employees.

There is no planned change to Symantec's managed or hosted services, according to the memo.

Sources close to the company said it is laying off consulting services personnel and is also trimming headcount in storage management and other areas

One Symantec partner that does considerable service work had not heard anything official about the changes but said he had received several resumes from Symantec personnel in the past week.

A Symantec spokeswoman confirmed the changes via email. "In an effort to create a more scalable consulting business, Symantec is shifting its consulting services strategy to work with qualified channel partners to extend our consulting business," she wrote.

"Going forward, Symantec will focus its Consulting Services on Global Strategic Accounts and a select few Large Enterprise customers for product enablement. With this new strategy, the majority of the Consulting Services the company now provides will be driven through Symantec's global channel partners. This new model will offer partners additional revenue opportunities built around Symantec solutions and will offer customers a larger selection of qualified service providers and flexible service offerings."

The partner said this change seems to be part of the usual annual ebb-and-flow of Symantec's partner interaction. It's not unusual for Symantec to lay off personnel and reorganize every April as it suits up for its new fiscal year, he said.

Adam Gray, CTO of Novacoast Inc., a Symantec partner based in Santa Barbara, Calif., said he expects his consulting services business to tick up this spring as it does every year. In general, he finds Symantec is easy for his company to work with even though Novacoast does not sell a ton of Symantec product per se.

The paperwork aspect of these services deals is important. Partners like to handle the paper on product and services sales because it drives profitability.

"Partners want the paper top-line revenue. In the current 'sell-with' model, the partner and Symantec took deals down together and there was the option to run them through on Symantec paper and they would deal with the credit and take a chunk of the profit. It was good in that it helped Symantec sales people make quota -- but many partners wanted to keep that cut of profit," said another Symantec partner.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for

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