Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post, “In Defense of Farmers,” after Symantec posted poor performance and then CEO Steve Bennett explained the reason for the gloomy guidance was, you guessed it, poor sales execution. In my blog, I wrote, “… in my mind, it guarantees that Symantec’s downward spiral is just beginning.”
Now a year later, with a new CEO at the helm of Symantec, the board has decided that splitting off the storage management division was in the best interest of shareholders.
But what about the customers?
What about the partners?
What about the employees?
I was working with Veritas in 2004 when our CEO pushed the board to sell the company to Symantec. I had been with the company about 7 years and was a senior vice president, responsible for about 1,000 people in the Americas. The last year prior to the merger was tough year for the tech industry as the bursting tech bubble crushed companies’ valuations and stock performance. Veritas was not immune to such external pressures, however, we continued to drive growth into the business as our customers continued to deploy our products to protect their data.
On the surface, the Symantec-Veritas deal made sense: combining two software companies that would provide end-to-end solutions around security and storage data protection. However, what fell apart was in the actual integration of the two companies.
My old company, Veritas, was a Global 2000 supplier of enterprise storage management solutions. We bought Backup Exec (BUE) a few years earlier from Seagate, which was 100% channel focused with a robust set of partners, and we struggled to put growth back into that business.
Fast forward a few years and the reverse happened. Symantec – a 100% channel-driven software business – bought Veritas, then very quickly made decisions about how to run sales. Symantec’s CEO at the time pushed to have each salesperson sell all products – through a channel-only model.
You don’t have to be a genius to see what was going to happen – all the storage DNA began leaving the company in droves.
Backup Exec became a second-tier product, with many missteps and poor product releases. Hundreds of thousands of customers have fled and moved to companies like Unitrends. Today, those customers have no choice but to flee following Symantec’s recent announcement that the company would stop selling the Backup Exec 3600 appliance as of Jan. 5, 2015. This represents a complete withdrawal from the SMB purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA) market. By the way, Unitrends is here to help and has introduced a free trade-up from the BE3600 to select Unitrends Recovery-Series appliances.
The SMB PBBA market is in desperate need of innovation. Too many companies are spending too much money and time managing their backups. The larger technology suppliers are a poor fit for this market because they lack the focus on R&D and customer care required to meet the needs of this important customer segment. Small virtual or cloud-only companies are also a poor fit because they lack the heterogeneous support that is so prevalent in this market segment. Unitrends is uniquely positioned to support virtual, physical and cloud solutions to meet SMB customers’ demands, and we do it with a laser-focus that has consistently achieved a 98% customer satisfaction rating.
Stay tuned as we continue to innovate with solutions that raise the bar with PBBA, cloud and virtualization solutions.
As a standalone entity, Symantec’s Data Storage group will go through several quarters of poor performance as they struggle to get their go-to-market strategy right and build a balanced sales model. You heard it here first. Be sure to check back next year to see if my predictions hold true.