I never can support any vendor in the high tech space taking deals direct. As a channel advocate I just don’t see how the direct model works long term in the Canadian market place.

A great example of this wasDell’s about-face four year’s ago. They know have about 1,000 channel partners reselling Dell product in Canada. This just shows the channel community in Canada is the only option for computer business.

But, if a vendor decides to venture down the direct path it’s a good idea to be transparent with channel partners and tell them exactly what you are doing and why. I found Mike DeCesare’s admission today, at the McAfee Focus Partner Summit in Las Vegas, that there is a plan to take business direct refreshing.

DeCesare is the new co-president along with Todd Gebhart of McAfee. They replacedDave DeWalt, who was McAfee’s CEO. The announcement of the co-presidents I thought was a great endorsement of DeWalt’s clout and leadership abilities that it took two people to replace him.

Now DeCesare did measure his words saying things like “there will be fewer named accounts” and that they “go direct when the customer demands it”, but the message was clear in my mind. McAfee wants the channel to be its go-to-market sales force in commercial and SMB.

They also want the channel to expand their security knowledge or expertise. DeCesare said that if channel partners stick to selling endpoint security they will be forced to look for alternative solution providers who can sell the entire product portfolio. You can’t blame DeCesare for this tactic because McAfee, even before Intel acquired them, was evolving as a security player under DeWalt.

DeCesare also announced something called Teaming Plans where solution providers and McAfee partner account reps work together on identifying new sales opportunities, work on each other’s sales process and agree to the split in revenue. He believes this new method will lead to increased profitability for channel partners. And, I certainly hope that is the case.

DeCesare and the channel team at McAfee will also be working on increasing the number of leads for the channel and wants to work with proven partners. That means if you invest in McAfee; they will invest in you.

There will also be a portal for market development funds called and he encouraged partners to submit proposals.

There are approximately 70,000 deals a quarter, DeCesare said. Only a few of those are direct. But he hopes that both the channel and direct side put forth professional proposals for customers. He said that often times products are sold and IT managers are left trying to figure out how to properly deploy security solutions.

I think if it comes to professional proposals on solving security issues I will take the channel over internal sales departments a hundred times out of hundred times. But that’s just me.

One quick hit before I go. Have you ever heard of micro-volunteering? Well Koodo announced Canada’s first online micro-volunteering community called

Koodo’s mission in business is to redefine mobility and to support a social change movement that is redefining volunteering across Canada. An entirely not-for-profit, grassroots community, supported and powered by Koodo, allows consumers and Canadian charities to work together where a huge percentage of Canadians spend their time – online — with the concept of micro-volunteering. I encourage you to check it out.

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