Nutanix is putting together materials for this now, and plans to roll it out later this year.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Nutanix is going to make development of its partners’ professional services capabilities a top priority in the year ahead. They are also looking to significantly increase the number of partners capable of doing customer implementations by themselves.
Chris Morgan, Nutanix’s Vice President, Americas Channel and Distribution, indicated that these changes are the culmination of a series of moves he has made to improve Nutanix’s channel execution in North America over the last two years. The objective was to overcome a fundamental problem with Nutanix’s channel operations capacity. The company’s massive growth in the market meant that its business outstripped its channel infrastructure.
“In the North American theatre, everything has now been completely automated, to support our growth in transaction volume,” Morgan said. “Everything was done about 100 days ago in time for the Q3 close. Next will be full quoting capabilities for distributors, so they can provide full support for quote generation.”
Morgan indicated that Nutanix has completed a full RFP of its existing distribution – Arrow, Tech Data [through its acquisition of Avnet Technology Services], Promark [Ingram Micro] and in the U.S., Carahsoft, with the result that all the relationships will continue.
“We wanted to clarify who is doing what,” he said. “My job around the supply chain is making sure that it is efficient, and optimizing the value-added services that are being delivered. We have no plans to change our existing distribution.”
Another thing that won’t be changing is the practice of four-legged sales calls on customers.
“When it comes to how we sell with our partners, it’s still getting in front of the customer together,” Morgan said. “We do have some partners who do the complete sale, but it’s still mainly four-legged sales calls. We are okay with that. We do a couple of massive code drops a year, and that makes it hard for partners’ internal sales people.”
One thing that is helping there, Morgan noted, is the expanded business being done with Tier One channel partners.
“We have had a good expansion of marquee channel partners,” he said. “We know that working with us is very disruptive to their legacy relationships, so we try to be very sensitive to that. We are seeing more business come from them when they reach the conclusion that these changes in the market make it necessary for them to change their business – or their customers’ business. We are seeing a lot more interaction with partners like SHI and Zones and Softchoice, who realize that the future isn’t the past. More high-end partners are coming to us and building our businesses together.”
This preparing for the future explains Nutanix’s interest in stimulating partners’ professional services capabilities.
“We are really interested in helping partners transition their business to a future-facing architecture,” Morgan said. “One of our big focuses now is helping them build professional services around Nutanix. Many partners in the past made a lot of money helping NetApp filers work with Dell and Cisco. That piece of the professional services pie has shrunk for them. We need to help them repurpose that, so the partner’s ability to sell the entire solution is enhanced. That’s one of our big moves for the next year.”
Morgan described the initiatives that Nutanix is doing here as ‘block and tackle stuff.’
“We are preparing best practice guides, training and tools,” he said. “It’s being designed now, some practice guides are built and we have a road map guide to roll that out.”
On a related issue, Morgan said that Nutanix is looking to improve the number of partners who are able to do their own implementations, rather than having Nutanix do them.
“We want the partners to be able to be do the vast majority of these by the end of the year,” he said. “It’s not like FlexPods, where it’s a two-week engagement to put them in. This is something that can be done in two hours. It’s not a compelling engagement for partners. Sending a technical person out to the customer site and only getting a couple of billable hours is not a good business proposition. That’s why developing the professional services capability is so important.”
“There’s a lot of interesting initiatives to help us with services,” said Terry Buchanan, Vice President Technology & General Manager, Zycom Technology, who, as the only Canadian on Nutanix’s partner advisory board, had a heads-up on the changes. “There is a new training program as well, which provides a much deeper dive on how to install the platform into a customer environment. In addition, companies like ourselves who are mature with Nutanix are now sharing our best practices with companies who are newer with Nutanix, to increase their skill level.”