VMware has announced a new global channel program that will take effect in the year 2020.
Dubbed “VMware Partner Connect”, the new program is the big statement of intent by Jenni Flinders, the company’s vice president and worldwide channel chief who joined from Microsoft in April 2018.
Flinders has billed the new program as “a new way of partnering” and explained that it offers three tiers: Partner, Advanced Partner, and Principal Partner.
The new emphasis is on skills, rather than defining partners by activity. VMware will therefore “expect all partners in the new program to demonstrate basic capabilities through the achievement of VMware Solution Competencies.” Those competencies will cover “selling skills, architecture proficiency and deployment expertise”. The more skilful partners become, the greater the rewards on offer, “including enhanced front- and back-end margin as well as deployment and consumption performance incentives.”
VMware Australia head of commercial business and channels Kerrie-Anne Turner told CRN the new program will reflect that the company’s current program needs to evolve beyond classification depending on the type of activities and technologies a partner prefers.
“A service provider today might come into our ecosystem through the VMware Cloud Provider Program partner. Or you might come in as a reseller partner. A system integrator might come in in a different type of partner,” Turner told CRN. “But if you think about the ecosystem today, those definitions and those boxes, those lines blurred a long time ago.”
By recognising competencies, the new program will instead help VMware and its partners to deliver for customers.
“Our partners are building our ecosystems and platforms of partnerships to deliver outcomes to customers,” Turner said. “So how they want to consume the technologies should really not be dictated by how we structure the partner program. So this is the next evolution around actually bringing out partnering programs to a partner the way in which the partner wants to do business.”
Precise details of Partner Connect were not available at the time of writing, but CRN understands it will be launched early in 2020 and that current partners won’t find the transition is onerous or requires re-training.
VMware’s also shown a little about the flavour of the new program by announcing a new VMware Cloud on AWS Master Services Competency, plus news that partners who achieve the company’s Network Virtualization Master Services Competency will now earn increased rewards for completing product deployments.
Australian changes, too
VMware’s also made channel changes in Australia.
“First and foremost, we've reorganised the channel team here in Australia to support our partners a little bit better than we have in the last 12 months,” Turner told CRN. “This means using our resources smartly, both technical pre sales, partner leadership, and specialist expertise.
“VMware goes to market with a series of expertise, in terms of whether it's end user computing, hybrid cloud, etc. We have a wealth of expertise and support. And so what we've been able to do this year, is simply align those pieces on the chessboard a little bit more smartly, to support our partner ecosystem in a better way.”
Turner said the changes aren’t dramatic, but says the company has “taken this wealth of resources that and aligned them better to surround our partners in a smarter way.”
Partners will see more from VMware’s distributors for some products, plus efforts to “stand up new practices within partnerships.”
Hyperconverged infrastructure will also be emphasised.
And Turner hopes the local changes will also see partners consider more of VMware’s portfolio: replacing servers and storage with hyperconverged infrastructure may be part of a wider digital transformation effort, so offers partners the chance to start a discussion about end-user computing. Or it could be a sign that customers want a more hybrid-cloud-friendly infrastructure, leading partners and customer alike to ponder a journey into VMware on AWS or other clouds.
More information on the new Connect program should be available here.