Channeling efforts in wholesale, retail and ISPs

Friday, March 25, 2011

In the Latin American IT market, signing new wholesaler agreements is sometimes easier said than done. Among the factors that must be taken into consideration are geographic coverage, training initiatives and the mix of volume and value.

BNamericas caught up with Kaspersky's Latin American channels director, Daniel Molina, who discussed a wholesaler agreement with Chilean firm Tecnoglobal that was announced this week, as well as conversations with top management at Chilean IT integrator Sonda, market share growth plans and new solutions coming down the pike.

BNamericas: Why did Kaspersky decide to seek a wholesaler agreement with Tecnoglobal?

Molina: We're going through a growth phase that sees us shifting toward a two-tier model consisting of companies that focus 100% on wholesaling and also channels that focus 100% on end users. Tecnoglobal will help us with that model in Chile.

BNamericas: What clients is Kaspersky targeting through Tecnoglobal?

Molina: Tecnoglobal will give us capillarity through Chile that we didn't have before. Today, Tecnoglobal has more than 3,000 channels, of which 500 buy every month. This will give us a reach that goes beyond just volume and will allow us to get to clients that aren't familiar with Kaspersky.

BNamericas: In which segments specifically will it give Kaspersky more of a reach?

Molina: Both in SME and enterprise. Those are both of the markets that we are targeting with this alliance.

BNamericas: What are Kaspersky's concrete expectations in terms of sales made through Tecnoglobal?

Molina: Chile currently represents 3% of Kaspersky's Latin American business. That figure should rise to 9-10%. Our idea is to grow our Chile business to the point where it should be. Chile should be competing with Colombia for the third largest market in the region.

BNamericas: By when?

Molina: By the end of 2012.

BNamericas: Is Tecnoglobal Kaspersky's lone wholesaler in Chile?

Molina: No, we also work with Proweb.

BNamericas: How will the two wholesaler agreements complement each other?

Molina: There are value-focused wholesalers and volume-focused wholesalers. Proweb has few channels, but they are very developed and provide a lot of added value. Proweb gives us access to those channels that provide value-added services, but they don't have 3,000 channels. Tecnoglobal will give us the presence that we need throughout the country to grow the brand.

BNamericas: Tecnoglobal is part of Sonda. Does this agreement with Tecnoglobal include a change in relations with Sonda?

Molina: Sonda will always be welcome as one of the channels that we would have. As an integrator, the relationship would be a little bit different in comparison to a normal channel.

BNamericas: But has there been any concrete dialogue between Kaspersky and Sonda's management?

Molina: We've been talking with Sonda management. We're an option that they have to offer their clients. But that's independent from the alliance with Tecnoglobal.

BNamericas: Can you tell me more about the conversations between the two companies?

Molina: They've been talking about being a managed security option for their clients. Sonda has told us that, as integrators, they have absolute control over infrastructure. But the endpoint has been very difficult to capture. Normally, they didn't touch that part. Instead, they would just let the client control that area. Kaspersky's managed security console gives them the ability to do that from their center of operations. It's an advantage that they see.

BNamericas: How will Kaspersky strengthen those ties with Sonda this year?

Molina: I think that, in the medium term, we're going to designate someone to be in charge of integrators in the region. Companies like Sonda are a different animal.

BNamericas: What solutions will drive growth in Chile this year?

Molina: There is a solution that we launched this month called Kaspersky Small Office Security. It's a solution that targets micro SMEs. When you have companies with 20-25 users, you don't have an IT department to set up a server and do work locally. We're using a core that was born out of our consumer solution to go after this type of company.

Micro SMEs need the benefits of centralizing security, but they also need protection that's more agile. In Chile, there are enterprise companies, but there are also companies that each year come into existence as micro SMEs. Those companies need protection.

BNamericas: Kaspersky recently formed a partnership with General Atlantic, which has become a company shareholder. What effect will that agreement have on Kaspersky's channel partner strategy in Latin America?

Molina: General Atlantic gives us the ability to accelerate the strategy that we had before. I sometimes joke by saying that Kaspersky has been around for 13 years, and acts like a 13-year-old child. Sometimes we want to be adults, but sometimes we want to hide behind our mother. General Atlantic will allow us to take things more seriously.

There will be a reorganization through which Latin America will report to the emerging markets division in Russia. That move will also help us drive our channel growth.

BNamericas: But will there be any restructuring within Latin America?

Molina: We will maintain our 100% channel-focused strategy, but again we will be able to speed things up. For example, a year ago, we didn't have a channel structure. The country managers focused on sales, channels and marketing. They were the know-it-alls. Now, we have a marketing infrastructure and a channels structure. That helps us clean house and grow.

BNamericas: Can you give some examples of other wholesaler agreements that Kaspersky is negotiating in Latin America?

Molina: We already signed an agreement with Nexsys to be our wholesaler in Colombia. Now, we will have two wholesalers in that geography. Adistec will be focusing on channels that need added value, while Nexsys will give us the capillarity that we need.

Digital in Paraguay is another agreement that we've also signed. It's a wholesaler that focuses on the Paraguayan market.

BNamericas: What will that agreement with Digital give Kaspersky?

Molina: We used to serve the Paraguayan market remotely from Argentina, Chile or Peru. But there are needs in Paraguay. This agreement will give us capillarity with very small channels that buy locally. It also allows us to bill locally, which gives us tax benefits. We're also working on deals that will allow us to bill locally in Peru and Colombia with Adistec.

BNamericas: Can you talk more about market needs in Paraguay?

Molina: There are few channels that serve the government and the 3-4 large enterprises in Asunción, but in the rest of Paraguay, there are a lot of small firms that serve micro SMEs.

BNamericas: Are there additional wholesaler deals that are close to being finalized?

Molina: Today, we have to work on deals that are already done. We have to help grow those agreements before taking future steps.

BNamericas: Can you give some examples of agreements with retailers?

Molina: On the retailer side, we're doing a lot of work with Paris, Falabella and Ripley in order to grow the market in Chile. The KSOS solution and the mobile security solutions are available through those stores. We're seeking agreements with ISPs and telephony carriers because mobile protection represents a strong growth driver.

BNamericas: Is Kaspersky developing a managed security offering for corporate clients?

Molina: We're releasing a solution specifically for managed services. The solution will allow our channels to grow, because sometimes we have cases where one channel is remotely providing security to 20 clients. Giving channels a solution accessed through the internet whereby they can monitor updates will help them drive that growth model.

BNamericas: When will Kaspersky launch a new managed security product into Latin America?

Molina: Within the next 45 days we will have a product launch.

BNamericas: In the corporate sector, where is the strongest demand for that type of product in Latin America?

Molina: I've seen demand in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. I think that the most advanced markets in Latin America will be the ones demanding this level of protection.

BNamericas: What is Kaspersky doing to expand channel coverage in Brazil?

Molina: We have two wholesalers in that country. For example, we have an agreement with Network1, which has 8,000 channels throughout Brazil. Our growth in that country has been outside the main economic centers; our best channel is in the northeast in Recife. It's not in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or Brasília. But now we're trying to bring that growth to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where there is tough competition.

BNamericas: According to a Kaspersky press release, your company currently accounts for 7.5% of the global endpoint security market. What percentage of the Latin American market does Kaspersky control?

Molina: It's almost exactly the same.

BNamericas: How will that figure change during the next few years?

Molina: With the focus we're putting on Latin America, we will surely be growing faster than the overall market...

BNamericas: How much faster?

Molina: We can arrive at a figure of 10% by 2014.

About Daniel Molina

Prior to joining Kaspersky, Molina served as director of advanced solutions and also security evangelist for US security software firm McAfee. With experience in IT security design, LAN/WAN implementations and equipment management, Molina has also worked at Q1 Labs, Internet Security Systems and Entex Information Services.

About the company

Kaspersky is the world's largest privately held anti-malware company. Founded in 1997, the company now protects more than 3mn users and employs 1,700 worldwide.

Kaspersky relies on channel partners for 100% of Latin American sales, and also supports regional operations through offices in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, as well as Latin America headquarters in Florida.