RSA aims for more target-based business

by Ashutosh Desai    Aug 13, 2010

RSA is in the process of increasing its partner count by approximately twenty, with a more target-based approach so as to deliver its solutions to small and medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises. The appointment of Kartik Shahani as the new regional leader of India and SAARC for RSA has resulted in the signing up of new partners, creation of a more focused approach towards bringing in business, deal registration, training, etc. Speaking to CXOtoday, Shahani outlined how RSA plans to go about working its partners in India.

Explaining the need for this new approach, Shahani said, “Most of our business was done in the higher enterprise space. We had very large NSIs (national system integrators) as our standard partners. A fairly large chunk of our business comes from the higher side of the SMB space, tending toward corporate, and also from the SME space. Though we had a SecurWorld program for the channel, there wasn’t a concerted effort in getting those various channels activated and working towards getting numbers from them.”

RSA is also set to launch a ‘partner central’ which is basically a PRM (partner relationship management) portal. “Partners will be able to log on directly onto the PRM, put in their bids, put in their registrations, see what is up for renewal, etc.,” said Shahani. He is confident that this will have a positive impact on partner engagement. Apart from the new mid-sized partners, the security solution provider will continue with its top 4-5 NSI partners. “We cannot get hundreds of people trained, which is why we are focusing on a small number of NSIs and mid-sized partners. We expect a lot more run rate business with this plan,” said Shahani.

Earlier, RSA had 150 ad hoc partners in India, which was “opportunistic-based”. According to Shahani, partners would do around 2-3 deals in a year and even though these numbers would happen from the space, it was not planned as part of their business. “Now we are saying, 20 of them (partners) have planned it as part of their business. When they go to market, they will take a selection of RSA products,” he said. Off the twenty, Shahani expects about 15-18 partners are to sign up as RSA partners.

Now the partners will have their plans chalked out, made and sealed, with RSA tracking them and helping them achieve their targets. Shahani also said, partners will be offered a choice as to which products will complement their current offering. “Thereafter, we make a plan. Depending on the chosen product, we fix on the sort of numbers they want to achieve and if resources need to be trained on it. We will also help with the rebates around it.”

Shahani did not divulge the amount that will be spent on partner engagement or the training effort but stressed that the latter is designed to be very hands-on and backed up by its professional services division for time-to-time expert support. The new regional leader of RSA, India-SAARC will continue bagging large corporate deals but sees the need to deliver its solutions to SMBs because, as he puts it, they are the ones who ‘slowly convert into becoming enterprise customers. If we do not work on them now, we will never be able to move them up the chain.’

PR and marketing work is going to be more focused around the channels for the next two quarters. To handle this responsibility, Amitabh Jacob has been appointed as channel manager to get the ‘back end work together’. RSA has also appointed a program manager to work with the partners who will handle training, enablement, de-registration, ensure that programs run properly, payments are made, training material and course ware is distributed on time and accreditation is carried out appropriately.