Nutanix launches simpler, competency-based Elevate partner program

The Nutanix Channel Charter, introduced only two years ago, will run in parallel with the Elevate program until all partners have made their competency choices, with all partners being grandfathered under the Channel Charter benefits until then.

The Elevate Portal

Today, as Nutanix kicks off its virtualized .NEXT event, it is announcing a new Elevate partner program, which will replace the Nutanix Channel Charter that was implemented only two years ago. The new program is much simpler, going from a 33-page document for the old program, to two pages with this one. It also brings the whole global partner ecosystem into a single program architecture, ditches the traditional tiered model for a simpler competency-based one, and makes changes to deliver more predictability and profitability, including a new portal and revamped deal registration and incentives.

“I wouldn’t characterize the new program as a big change, but it is enhanced and updated and truly simplified,” said Christian Alvarez, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels at Nutanix. “We built on top of what we believed to be a good program to take it to being a great one.”

Every new or revamped partner program these days stresses simplicity, predictability and profitability, and Nutanix is no exception. The program’s simplicity compared to the previous program is, however, quite significant.

“We believe that complexity hinders growth,” Alvarez said. “They need a partner program that’s simple and built around ease of doing business. When I started here 13 months ago, I did a lot of listening, and partners asked for a simple partner program. We are going back to the basics. Many programs, including ours, were overengineered. The changes were highly influenced by our partners, and have been vetted with over thirty partners from around the world.

“The 33 page Channel charter was a bit complex,” Alvarez stated. “We have gone from 33 pages to two pages that can be explained in seven minutes or less. We have also consolidated nine different partner programs to one.” This includes VARs; distributors; service providers and telcos; hyperscalers; independent software, hardware, and platform vendors; global system integrators; and services delivery partners.

“We’ve also moved away from a traditional tiered model, and pivoted towards a value-based program,” Alvarez said. “We are emphasizing partner capabilities and competencies based on certifications and domain expertise. Instead of thresholds based on sales achievement, it is purely based on competency.” Within each competency, there are two levels – Elevate Cloud Professional and Elevate Cloud Champion.

Christian Alvarez, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels

“We kind of had specializations before, but we’ve simplified the portfolio and put them in categories to simplify messaging to the market,” Alvarez added. “In the past it was a bit blurry.” Some of these have already been announced and some more will be announced during .NEXT. In the second half, we will be introducing specializations around end user computing, DevOps, and data center.

“We also used to require seven to eight steps to get incentives paid,” Alvarez noted. “They now get them paid automatically. They just have to make sure they have an approved deal registration and order books.”

Alvarez described Nutanix’s new Performance+ deal registration program as unique.

“It is traditional deal registration plus a reverse deal registration that is required by our sales organization,” he said. “A Nutanix seller anywhere in the world is now required to register a deal in our sales management system, and invite a partner to that opportunity. That will bring in the partners early and often in an opportunity, and will build trust with field sellers and partners.”

Alvarez said that the seller can choose the partner to bring into the deal, but they must have the right competencies.

“By having that demarcation, when a seller invites a partner, they will invite the most qualified partner.”

The predictability component involves making it easier for partners to know their profit potential.

“We have made investments around a new portal that we will be launching, and which all partners will log into,” Alvarez said. “We have also made investments in marketing tools to better illustrate predictability. We are also keeping both partner programs running in parallel, so partners have the time to transition. Scalar partners will have a year to choose and transition and Pioneer partners six months to choose their competency levels. All partners will enjoy their incentives from the Channel Charter program during this time. Nothing is being taken away.”

Alvarez said the greater Profitability focus increases partners’ ability to earn more, with new front end margins, new mechanisms to help deliver margin-rich services, richer rebate levels for bringing in new logos, and a new rebate that rewards Elevate Cloud Champion partners for selling across the entire Nutanix portfolio.

“As we have transformed from the company and moved to a subscription based model, certain things haven’t kept up at the same pace,” Alvarez stated. “We have adjusted the program structure and ecosystem and incentives to better fit where we are today under subscription.”

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