By Peter High, published on Forbes
It has been a remarkably eventful couple of years for Symantec. In early 2016, the company went through one of the largest corporate divestitures when it spun out its Veritas business. In June of 2016 the company acquired Blue Coat, and then followed that up with the acquisition of LifeLock in early 2017. The rationale was to focus on being a pure play cyber security company, with end-to-end solutions. In the process Symantec has built itself into the largest cyber security company in the world by revenue.
Sheila Jordan has been chief information officer of the company throughout the journey. She came to the company nearly four years ago from Cisco. The latter is a legendarily acquisitive company, and Jordan has leveraged her experience to develop a playbook of sorts for the team at Symantec to integrate each of the major companies it has acquired. She also has developed the company’s CustomerONE program, highlighting her team’s use of the company’s products. Jordan discusses all of the above and more in this interview.
Peter High: Symantec recently acquired Blue Coat and LifeLock. What advantages was Symantec trying to garner for the enterprise, your partners, and your customers through those acquisitions?
Sheila Jordan: With the Blue Coat acquisition, we were able to retain Greg Clark, who is our CEO, and Mike Fay, who is our president and COO. They came in and quickly established the vision and overall strategy for the company, which is what we call our Integrated Cyber Defense Platform. An integrated platform is important for CIOs and chief information security officers (CISOs) because fragmentation and lack of integration generate risk by creating white spaces where the bad guys hang out and cause damage. Acquiring Blue Coat gave us the opportunity to improve the security posture of our small, medium, and enterprise customers.
Improving operational efficiencies also reduces costs. Fixing technology sprawl by using an integrated solution, which allows you to remove some products, drives a lot of value. We have been implementing the transformation on cloud products and on-prem. We just had our earnings reports, the positive results tell us it is resonating with our customers across verticals and with small, medium, and enterprise organizations.
From an IT perspective, we want to make sure we are enabling the organization. It is important that CIOs think about run, change, and grow. You have to run the company and be efficient and effective, but that is table stakes. You also want to position yourself with the new technology to be able to help the CEO and the C-suite change and grow. The acquisitions of Blue Coat and LifeLock gave us the opportunity to not only integrate, but also to transform how we do our work and think about the future.
The combination of us moving into cloud products and IT having a stake in driving integration and transformation, allowed us to think about taking our global subscription platform to a new level. One of the things we thought about was: How do we make sure our customers can consume their products the way they want to? We created an end-to-end reference architecture for our global subscription platform. It starts with our engineering products; they have provisioning, metering, and monitoring in the cloud products. Then it goes all the way through to how we quote an order, configure an order, how we do quote-to-cash, and, ultimately, to distribution. We want our products to be widely distributed and our global subscription platform to be frictionless. Our goal is a process that only takes a few clicks. We are accomplishing that through the integration of our cloud products with our subscription platform.
High: Your clients are often IT departments. To what extent do you and your team spend time in the field working with CIOs and learning about issues that you can help solve?