Thoughts from Symantec Symposium 2013 in Sydney
The theme of this year's Symantec Symposium events for customers and partners, held in Sydney and Melbourne this September, was guided by the fact that the world of business, and therefore our data centre and enterprise customers, is changing. While some of the changes are demographic, the lowering cost and potentially increased value of technology is also having an impact, at the same time as its increasing complexity and risk.
Symantec's 4.0 strategy was created in response to these shifts, and we have never been more excited to express about what we are doing as a company or how we are working with our customers, globally and regionally. At the Sydney event, we invited analysts from both global and local firms update them on Symantec’s overall strategy, to explore selected solutions in detail and provide insight into Symantec’s business and go-to-market activities in the APJ and PAC region.
The discussions were broad and far-reaching, reflecting the state of business and technology today. We covered how business value and risk are like two sides of the same coin, with technology creating both opportunities and threats. For example, just as mobile devices and broadband enable home working, so they also make it harder to control who by, how and where can data be accessed. Cloud computing, big data, virtualisation, software-defined storage and many other technology trends are symptoms of this new reality.
The overall result, for many organisations, is having to deal with more complex IT environments. Just a few decades ago, only limited number of technology options existed. Today, no two businesses are the same in terms of their business objectives or technology choices, some of which (through consumerisation and BYOD, for example) are imposed rather than selected.
When we defined our Symantec 4.0 strategy therefore, it was on the same basis - to develop and enhance our offerings based on a deep understanding of customer aspirations and today's realities of doing business. We developed our product portfolio, dubbed the 'Three Peaks', based on a significant amount of feedback gleaned from our customer base, plus a thorough review of our product portfolio, competitive environment and engagement strategies.
At the heart of the strategy is a key concept: make it simple to do business, without compromising on protection. As Robert Mol, Head of EMEA Market Planning and Analysis describes the three pillars, "Where User Productivity & Protection is concerned, they are saying: “Make it simple for me to be productive and protected at home and at work.” For Information Security, they are asking: “Keep my business safe and compliant.” For Information Management, it is all about: “Keep my business applications up and running.” "
As we told customers, partners and analysts alike, this simplicity-without-compromise approach has required a shake-up of our existing product lines. The process to do this is now underway, and we will be updating regularly on progress. Let's be clear: this is not a one-shot operation however. As customer needs evolve, we already have the mechanisms in place to keep an ongoing view and respond accordingly.
Neither does Symantec operate in a vacuum. We are also enhancing how we partner with application, platform and storage vendors to ensure that our combined efforts are greater than their parts. Finally we are reviewing our go-to-market approach - how we work with customers, third-party consultants, channel partners and service providers to close the gap between evolving needs and deployable solutions.
The overall feedback from the event has been very positive. "You are talking a different language now," said one analyst. Another commented on the absence of hard selling, even though the event was customer and partner facing - reflecting where we are as a company, to listen rather than preach. We plan to maintain this approach, not least by creating centres of customer excellence in every geography to ensure that we keep up to speed with our customer needs.
These are, indeed, exciting times to work at Symantec, as we are changing our entire way that we engage with our customers - to listen first and act accordingly. Thank you to the analysts that attended, and we look forward to a continued dialogue.