VCE Doubles Down on Channel Chiefs

VCE channel chief D. Martin is going to focus on new types of partnerships

VCE channel chief D. Martin is going to focus on new types of partnerships

Since its launch in late 2009, VCE has succeeded in growing via VAR channels. Now it’s looking to replicate that success with new types of partners, including OEMs, ISVs, and systems integrators.

The virtual computing company has announced a structural change that will see D. Martin, its longtime channel chief, placed in charge of developing new types of partners, while sales chief Chris Sullivan will head up the company’s efforts around VARs.

“Our focus in the Americas has been on solution providers and VARs, and we need to broaden out,” Martin said.

Sullivan takes the helm of the VAR organization as it reaches an inflection point. The company is slated to introduce a new partner program next month, and as awareness of the company’s message of converged infrastructure has grown, partners find themselves in a new position.

“There’s a tremendous amount of momentum to continue to expand,” Sullivan said. “D’s built a great organization on the ground, and we’re looking to continue to grow that, implementing the new channel program, and continuing to enhance enablement.”

Today, VCE does about 80 percent of its business through the channel, with the majority of the remainder going to its largest service provider customers. The majority of that business today goes through its VAR community, but ultimately, Martin and Sullivan said the company sees its indirect business split 60/40 between VARs and the new types of partnerships Martin will be fostering. Sullivan was clear, though, that he believes the VAR partnerships will continue to grow.

“We’re still in growth mode in the channel ranks. Over the last several years, mainstreaming the value proposition has been the heavy lifting we did as an industry. But now converged infrastructure is something that everyone talks about.”

With the initial evangelizing and education work out of the way, solution providers are able to get to the more profitable parts of the business, namely focusing on getting deployments done and wrapping their own services offerings around the company’s Vblock products.

“The value to the partner is that customers are looking for a full solution here. Nobody buys infrastructure for the sake of buying infrastructure,” Martin said. “Our partners are doing things like delivering VDI on top of it, adding modules of SAP, putting resident resources on-site to manage Vblock deployments.”

The executives expect the new focus on new types of partnerships to prove beneficial to its existing partners’ efforts to add value around Vblock. For example, more applications tailored for Vblocks and recommending them as an infrastructure standard will lead to more workloads for partners to roll out on Vblocks, and ISVs who make a Vblock deployment part of their design spec are likely to turn to VAR-type partners for deployment and other professional services when customers bite.

“The value of putting the pieces together has diminished, and partners are looking to build strong services penetration on top,” Sullivan said.

While details of the new partner program to debut in September are still scarce, Sullivan said that one of the priorities within the program will be “enabling more services and solutions on top of the Vblock.”

Martin notes that as the converged networking, server, and storage stack has gained acceptance, VCE is seeing enterprise customers standardizing and coming for more regularly as they grow. In fact, he said the likelihood of a new enterprise customer buying another Vblock or more within a quarter or two of an initial purchase is “very high.”