Developing a Customer-Led Business Strategy at Symantec
The current business and consumer landscape is evolving fast. Information volumes are growing, regulations are tightening, attacks are becoming more sophisticated, organisations and people are raising expectations on what technology can do for them.
As a result, the way we think about IT is being forced to evolve. New technologies - virtualisation and cloud, social and mobile - bring new opportunities but, at the same time, cause new issues and risks.
We see these challenges across our customer base. Storage issues in virtualised environments, information sprawl across physical, virtual and cloud environments, fragmentation risks to traditional security models, uncontrolled use of mobile devices, difficulties of brokering and controlling cloud services… the list goes on.
Many, if not all IT departments have little choice but to "get with the new" in order to cope with the consequences, even as they manage existing and legacy IT facilities and services. With business expectations increasing, front-line IT feels the squeeze and is rarely thanked for its efforts. After all, it's "just" IT.
In a similar vein, the role of the CIO is changing from "custodian of the data centre" to one involving the business of "information service delivery". "Information is the most important asset we have," says the business. "We don't care where data is or what technology looks like, but you carry the can for ensuring that we are able to use it to differentiate ourselves in our chosen markets. "
Faced with this dramatic shift in technologies, behaviours and expectations, Symantec is changing as well. Traditionally we have been an engineering-led company - creating products based on our understanding of the technology landscape and putting them out into the field. While this approach has worked well for us (and others) in the past, it is no longer enough. Our goal is to be strategically (not just technically) important to our customers and partners.
Like our customers, we are moving towards an information-centric model. We have a strong portfolio of some 150 products but what do they mean ? Over the past few months we have been looking very closely at our customers' priorities in terms of IT infrastructure, information intelligence and the governance that they need to apply to the information they manage. Our customers have told us that we have a strong portfolio of market-leading products. What's missing is integration. "I have too many products in my data centre, sort it... we trust you" said one organisation to me. As a result, we have created a strategic blueprint of 10 offerings, which map more closely to the information service needs of our customers.
The last few months, since the announcements in January, have made for some of the most profound changes I can remember in the history of the company (I celebrated my 10th year with Symantec this week). As well as completely rethinking our offerings, we have been engaging our 20,000-strong workforce in what we are calling Symantec's "4.0" strategy.
With a premise to do fewer things, more strategically, for our customers, we are changing how we go to market, how we work with channel partners and how we can align resources to where we can have the biggest strategic impact on our customers. People and budgets are now aligned to these customer priorities, and over the next few months you will see them as concrete product roadmaps and Go-To-Market plans.
There is still plenty to be done - we are only at the beginning of our journey. We still need to flesh out our strategy, run the business, deliver on our goals and, above all, show customers how we can help them to meet their most important business challenges.
My team are spending 75% of their time listening - so if you have any feedback to drive our decision making and prioritisation going forward, let me know.
Darren Thomson, CTO and Head of Enterprise Segment Strategy
For more information on Symantec’s strategy please also read the blog by Robert Mol, Senior Director, Solution Marketing Group EMEA about Delivering on unmet and underserved needs