blog Multinational security vendors like Symantec have never had a huge Australian presence. Despite local acquisitions such as the 2008 purchase of security vendor PC Tools, it’s always been clear that Symantec’s Australian division was primarily a sales office aimed at capitalising on the local market, with most support and pretty much all development done offshore. However, according to iTNews (we recommend you click here for the full article), the company has now dumped what little Australian support staff it did have. The publication reports:
35 staff in Symantec’s Australian tech support teams were visited by the company’s global head of Consumer Support and told they no longer had a job … “As of June 14th, no support exists in Australia for Australian customers,” another source said.
We can’t say we’re surprised by this. Australia isn’t precisely the most low-cost operation for multinational technology vendors to operate in; and over the past several years there’s been a constant trend towards shifting local customer support jobs offshore to cheaper locations with more readily available labor such as India, Malaysia, the Phillipines and so on. The telcos have been doing the same thing. It makes sense; for these companies, it’s all about scale, and Australia often just isn’t large enough to justify a local dedicated support team if you look at the spreadsheet legers from a global perspective.
However, we do have to say we’re disappointed by this move from Symantec. Frankly, it will severely diminish the attractiveness of the vendor’s offering for large enterprises. There are vast cultural differences between Australia and India or the Phillipines, and security can be a highly technical business. I suspect this article will cause a number of Symantec’s large Australian customers to desire a word with their local account executive to find out precisely what is going on. And rightly so.