VMware’s Wittmann To Build Out Canadian Channel Plans

Donna Wittmann, new executive director, channels, alliances and commercial sales, VMware Canada

Donna Wittmann, new executive director, channels, alliances and commercial sales, VMware Canada

VMware Canada has continued its march towards building a more uniquely Canadian identity, introducing former Cisco Canada channel chief Donna Wittmann as its new channel chief. Wittmann started with the virtualization giant this week, and her first job is a big one. She’s set to define the company’s Canadian channel enablement, and lead “a rejuvenation of our channel operations,” according to VMware Canada president Eric Gales.

Gales said that when he started on the Canada-first strategy, one of his biggest goals was “to put the focus back on the channel.” With its previous status largely as a U.S. satellite organization, Gales said he felt like “there were too many chiefs” involved in making decisions for the Canadian channel organization.

“Donna’s role is to cement the resources we have in the channel, build a more coherent strategy across all of the businesses we’re in, and to start to look at how we make smart investments around channel management and enablement,” Gales said.

He said that the need for Canadian channel leadership became clear shortly after he joined VMware Canada last summer, reporting that partners were frequently telling him that “they felt we could do a better job, and that we’d lost our way a little bit.”

Bringing aboard a veteran of the Canadian channel community, and one familiar with many of VMware’s major partners – there’s a tremendous crossover between VMware and Cisco partner bases – means the company can ramp up those plans fairly quickly. And that’s a good thing, because Gales says he wants a new strategy and new priorities in place for the start of 2014.

The search for a new Canadian channel chief was a long one, starting shortly after the departure of longtime VMware Canada fixture and de facto Canadian channel chief Jas Sahota early this year. Gales said the company had been searching for some time, and had “some great applications” in, but that when Wittmann became available after leaving her role as chief marketing officer for Tennis Canada this summer, the decision was easy.

“I think she’s going to make a great deal of difference in the Canadian market with our channel partners,” Gales said.

For more details on Gales’ Canada-first vision, and Wittmann’s role in building out a Canadian channel organization, check out our full interview with Gales on the next edition of the ChannelBuzz.ca Podcast. It will be hitting the site tomorrow, Friday, November 8.