VMware global channel chief: co-investment and diversity matter

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VMware global channel chief: co-investment and diversity matter

Co-investment with VMware by its partners is becoming more important to the data centre infrastructure software giant, according to vice president for worldwide channels Jenni Flinders.

CRN met Flinders in Sydney yesterday, and while planned late August announcements about the company’s new “Partner Connect” channel program meant she couldn’t offer specifics, Flinders did divulge a little about VMware’s current priorities.

She’s keenest on partner engagements that see co-investment in skills, describing such relationships as “getting really strategic for us.”

The core of such investments with VMware is attainment of a master services competency. VMware currently has five such competencies, covering its wares on AWS, desktop & mobility, network virtualisation, data centre virtualisation, and cloud management & automation. Flinders said partners that make the investment in a competency tend to be capable of securing deeper engagements with clients and are therefore more likely to benefit from co-selling with VMware.

Flinders understandably thinks that master competencies and other engagements with VMware content and certifications are splendid things for partners to do.

One local partner, Parallo, agrees. The company's co-founder and regional director Shaun Webber told CRN that since attaining a master competency in data centre virtualisation, VMware and customers alike have newfound respect.

"It gets us past the 'who are these guys?' conversation with executive sales people at VMware," he said. Prospects are impressed by the fact that Parallo is the first of just three Australian companies to have secure the competency.

"It gets us into bigger customers," Webber said.

Diversity matters

Flinders' visit to Australia also saw her address the topic of diversity at a channel conference, and she explained her vision to CRN as “not just talking about your gender, or race or whatever, but diversity and background, its diversity and your skill, its diversity across industry.”

She therefore advocates that partners should take care to hire people who are different to their current staff.

“When you need a position filled, you're going to call your network, the usual suspects. So how about smaller partners broaden their network a little bit. And maybe next time they need to fill a position, actually making sure that there's diversity across their network to maybe pull in some talent that they normally might not have through their traditional network?”

Flinders therefore advocates that even small partners should have a diversity plan, to make sure they don’t deprive themselves of good talent by staying too close to what they know.

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