Reeves who came from Red Hat to take over VMware in Canada last month following Sean Forkan’s move to another position, discusses how he intends to drive VMware’s business in Canada.
VMware is currently in the midst of interesting times. Their long-time CEO, Pat Gelsinger, elected to return to Intel, where he spent most of his career, and has just been replaced by Raghu Raghuram, an internal promotion who had been Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services. Last month, Dell Technologies also announced it plans to spin off its equity ownership of VMware, making the latter a standalone company. In the midst of all this change, another one took place last month in Canada. Claude Reeves, a long-time Red Hat executive who had been Canadian country manager the last two years, elected to leave and join VMware as their VP and Country Manager, Canada. Reeves talked about the move with ChannelBuzz, expressing the view that VMware is in a great position, particularly in Canada, and that he looks forward to further driving the business here.
“I left a great company to come to a great company,” he said. “At Red Hat, it wasn’t a situation where I decided I needed to leave. VMware reached out to me. I had always heard great things about the culture. VMware pulled me to VMware. I really like the Any App, Any Device, Any Cloud philosophy. I thought I brought good experience to an amazing team and a company with vision. That’s pretty compelling.”
Reeves replaces Sean Forkan, who moves to the role of VP of Security Sales for the Americas at VMware.
“Sean was very supportive of me stepping into this role,” Reeves said.
Tara Fine remains VMware’s Canadian channels leader.
Reeves doesn’t expect any changes from the top with respective to company strategy, notwithstanding the leadership change and the pending spinoff.
“I expect that we will continue on the vision we are on right now,” he said. “I don’t see what we will be doing in Canada as different. We have the vision, and the technology, with our focus on multi cloud any app, any device. I love our tagline – ‘digital at the core.’ With Tanzu , VMware Cloud and VMware Workspace ONE, we are ideally positioned to help customers do the next step, which is digitizing their core.”
Reeves said that he has been speaking with partners, and has begun to speak with customers about the strategic changes impacting VMware.
“There is a lot of excitement about that,” he indicated. “Partners believe that the spinoff will provide us with strategic operational flexibility. I’ve heard positive things internally about the new leadership. We have built huge trust in the Canadian marketplace, and our goal is to continue with that.”
Reeves stressed that while most vendors today talk digital transformation and multi-cloud, VMware has a demonstrated ability to execute in these areas.
“Flexibility is what customers are asking for today,” he said. “That is core to the industry right now. The industry is moving so quickly that it is very hard to make a five year bet. But you can bet on flexibility. Multi-cloud is about flexibility. So is Workspace ONE, now that we are in a completely different space with work from home. With networking, if customers go multi-cloud, they have to build a network that straddles from multi-cloud to on-prem. Everyone talks about doing these things, but the ability to execute is different. We have the history, the knowledge, and the technology to help customers do it. The ability to execute on the vision differentiates VMware, and that’s a huge reason why I’m here.”
Reeves is optimistic about being able to make a significant individual impact on this process.
“I’m a technology person – a solution oriented individual,” he said. “I actually started as a developer and consultant and drifted into sales. So I come at it from a technology point of view, and not sales. What outcome are we helping the customer get to? That’s the foundation of my style. I’ll be out front, talking about outcomes a lot.”
Reeves said that latitude in managing the Canadian business is required, because the Canadian business is different from the U.S.
“I’m mandated to ensure VMware reflects what Canadian customers are looking for,” he stated. “Our public cloud market, healthcare and our public sector are different from in the US. Our banks tend to bridge between Europe and the US in terms of the model. It’s more and more important now to think industry wide. The public sector has changed enormously in the last 12 months, and we need to react to that change. If we aren’t tied to positive outcomes with customers, we need to be having deeper conversations.
“Looking forward, you will see an increased focus on public sector,” Reeves continued. “They are under a lot of pressure right now and we will make sure we help them get where they want to go. On the banks, and retail (with omnichannel) I have a lot of ideas. The goal is to align to the Canadian reality.”
Reeves emphasized that the emphasis in Canada today goes far beyond vSphere.
“My conversations with the team is across the product portfolio, including Cloud,Tanzu, NSX, and Workspace,” he said. “Theres no feeling that we are stuck in the past. Everyone’s talking about the future. No one’s talking about the past. There are opportunities across the board for customers to leverage us more in the future.”
Partners will be key to this, and Reeves stressed that VMware’s core partners are all committed to the same evolution that the company is on itself.
“We need partners who really get it holistically,” he said. “With strategically important things like SaaS, the key is how our channel is working with us to accelerate move to SaaS. Customers are really buying into it, and our existing partners are evolving with us. I’ve had at least a dozen partner conversations in the last three weeks where they said ‘we are on the bus with you’ – on SaaS, on multi-cloud, on security. We are opening up new opportunities for our channel. Are we looking at adding new partners as well? Absolutely. We have to, to work to the way that customers buy. But our existing channel is in the boat with us.”