Symantec Helps Customers and Itself

Years after Symantec made the transition from selling boxed software to downloadable software, they are taking the next step and have now announced the offering of Norton security as a service. They are not the first company to go this route — Adobe and Autodesk have set great examples of how to make this a smooth and profitable transition. But Symantec isn’t just changing its software delivery and pricing model, they are also cleaning up their offering structure – going from nine different products to just two. This makes sense for both consumers and the company.

Symantec currently offers nine different versions of Norton Anti-Virus software and allows consumers to self-select the level of antivirus protection they need based on the device they want secured. But today consumers start their day checking emails on an iPhone, use a PC to edit documents at work, and end their day watching a movie on an android tablet. A user would have to buy anti-virus software for each of the devices and select the level of security they want (Norton AnitVirus, Norton Internet Security, or Norton 360). This makes buying anti virus software very complicated, unless you want to give up and just buy the all inclusive, highest level of service. As consumers’ usage patterns changed, Symantec was smart to recognize the need to change their offerings as well. By minimizing the number of offerings, they have simplified the entire purchasing decision process for the consumer.

Any time a company makes such a big change to its pricing and licensing model, transitioning customers without causing disruption is critical. Symantec is minimizing the risks with the transition by first not forcing existing users onto a Norton Security plan (at least not yet). This gives consumers sufficient time to convert at their own pace, not disrupting their renewal cycles. Secondly, Symantec is giving consumers the option to discontinue their service at any time. This minimizes any risk for a consumer and further encourages adoption.

From the company’s perspective, with the new subscription service, Symantec will automatically charge consumers an annual fee rather than waiting for them to decide to upgrade standalone apps on their own schedule. This converts those uncertain revenue spikes into a smooth annuity and minimizes the tendency to offer unnecessary discounts to upgrade.

Overall, this approach will completely change Symantec’s relationship with customers and sets the company up to make the transition from desktops to mobile and eventually to the Internet of Things.

Originally published in Holden Advisors August ’14 Newsletter

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