Must-know overview of Symantec: A company in transition
Symantec Corporation (SYMC) is a provider of leading security, backup and availability solutions. Founded in 1982, the company has operations in more than 50 countries and its principal executive offices are located at Mountain View, California. The company was in the news last week as shares plunged and saw analyst downgrades after it fired Steve Bennett, its second chief executive officer in two years. The shares are down 13% YTD.
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Symantec, which makes security software and computer-storage systems, is struggling with growing revenue amid stagnating PC sales. Due to a slow pace of innovation and absence of growth initiatives, the anti-virus maker is seeing intense competition from new players in the security products space such as FireEye (FEYE), Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and the privately held Lookout Inc that are more capable of combating sophisticated security threats. Companies including Intel (INTC)’s McAfee (now Intel Security), Cisco (CSCO), and IBM (IBM) are consolidating their position in the security software space via acquisitions.
Symantec, known for its Norton antivirus software, was in the midst of a turnaround under former CEO Bennett. Central to the new strategy was a shift from Symantec’s historically product-centric operations to a more information-centric model. Symantec’s overall goal is to enable people, businesses and countries to focus their energies and time on achieving aspirations, instead of worrying about their digital lives.
In a filing for its fiscal year ended March 29, 2013, the company said, “We are transitioning from being device-centric, which meant protecting endpoints and the data center, to having the broader focus of protecting and managing digital information.” The focus was on developing products and services which address mobile devices, web services, web platforms, and the emerging software defined data center and network. The turnaround plan, which included cost cuts and 1,000 layoffs, involved major internal changes, a new go-to-market strategy and streamlined product offerings. Since announcing the new strategy named ‘Symantec 4.0’, Symantec has reallocated resources to develop new integrated offerings, restructured the sales organization into new and renewals business teams, redesigned its channel strategy, and simplified its management structure.
The company derives revenue from sales of content, subscriptions, and maintenance for software maintenance and technical support for its products, arrangements for managed security services, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings. License revenue is derived primarily from the licensing of Symantec’s various products and technology.
The company earlier operated in five segments in fiscal 2013 namely Consumer, Security and Compliance, Storage and Server Management, Services, and Other. As of the first quarter of fiscal 2014, Symantec modified its segment reporting structure to match its new operating structure.
- User Productivity & Protection segment includes flagship products such as Norton Antivirus and Norton Internet Security, products for endpoint security and management, encryption, and mobile offerings. The segment focuses on solutions for customers to be productive and protected at home and at work.
- Information Security segment focuses on enterprise security solutions and products include next generation security capabilities, such as mail and web security, authentication services, data center security, managed security services, hosted security services, and data loss prevention.
- Information Management segment is comprised of offerings related to backup and recovery, information intelligence, which includes archiving and e-discovery, and information availability, which Symantec previously referred to as storage management. Products under this include Enterprise Vault, Enterprise Vault.cloud, Clearwell eDiscovery, NetBackup on-premise and appliance, Backup Exec, and Backup Exec.cloud, which was discontinued in January.