At VMware’s VMworld event this week, the news was dominated by major solution announcements around cross-cloud services, app modernization and security. However, the company was also active in driving new and enhanced initiatives for its channel partners to better sell their new offerings.
“The partner message from VMworld is really around our multi cloud message, and its ability to help them create differentiated offerings in the market,” said Tara Fine, channel chief at VMware Canada. “The shift to multi-cloud is about letting the customers get the right workload, which is complex, and requires partners with a cloud-smart perspective to help us bring this to the market.”
Fine also stressed that this approach continues VMware’s recent focus on customer lifecycle management.
“A year ago, we began to emphasize the importance of setting up a customer for value throughout the full lifecycle,” she said. “This week, we are building on that with new and expanded incentives to drive both customer value and partner profitability. We used to talk about selling solutions. Now we focus on outcome as-a-service. Our partners are the closest to our customers, and are best prepared to help them on this journey. It’s no longer a question of selling a solution and walking away.”
VMware’s new initiatives mean more opportunity for partners, not an intensified focus on direct sales to first develop sales of the newer technologies.
“We have done a lot of work with existing partners to get them worked up for this – a lot of engagement,” said Claude Reeves, Vice President and Country Manager for Canada at VMware. “We are also finding new types of partners for this as well as traditional ones who are evolving with us. We don’t expect we will have to go more direct with these, and believe that our ecosystem and partners will be eve more important than they are now. App modernization demands vertical knowledge, and that means partners. It means we need to have our ecosystem completely engaged. I think we are in a good position to keep partner engagement as a percentage of our business at least where we are, with multi- cloud, and think t is likely we will increase it.”
One major change is that the VMware Cloud Provider Program [VCPP] is being enhanced with the new VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative, VMware is recognizing the value that these partners bring, delivering sovereign clouds to specific geos. To this end, they have established a specific designation with them so that customers looking for sovereign services can find a relevant partner faster. Through the VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative, VMware will connect customers with VMware Sovereign Cloud providers, assist VMware Sovereign Cloud Providers with technical guidance and best practices to design, build, and operate a sovereign cloud, and help them extend their portfolios to include more advanced data services for their customers. Sovereign Cloud partners include Canada’s ThinkON, as well UKCloud, AUCloud, OVHCloud, Telefonica, Datacom, Telmex and TietoEVRY.
“Cloud providers have a unique advantage in delivering Sovereign Clouds,” Fine said. “First, they have a better understanding of local, national, or regional security and compliance requirements as well government policy-objectives and initiatives. Second, they can design and build a tailored cloud for a specific jurisdiction, ensuring all relevant data and services remain under sovereign control. Many cloud providers only operate in a specific country or region. Third, as a sovereign legal entity, the cloud provider can help develop a national capability for digital resilience and mitigate dependency on foreign operators.”
“We are very, very aware that we have to work the way our partners do,” Reeves added. “Sovereign cloud is part of that larger vision about how customers want to consume us.”
Additional partner incentives include new lifecycle deployment rebates, which are focused around NSX-V to NSX-T migration, VmWare Cloud Foundation enhancements and vRealize
“These offer simplified processes for VMware licenses,” Fine said. “Traditionally we have incented partners around solutions. Going forward, it’s about driving lifecycle.”
Another new partner enablement tool is the Cloud Activation and Consumption Growth Incentive, a lifecycle rebate to support partners who increase customer VMware service activations across the portfolio and who grow consumption services.
“This is a complete net-new,” Fine said. “We haven’t focused on consumption in the partner community the past, like we are moving forward. It’s all part of the customer lifecycle. We’ve listened to partners here, and taken the feedback.”
VMware Success 360, a SKU-based services offering that covers the whole lifecycle management process. has been around before, but mainly as a direct play. The big news here is that partners with VMware’s Master Services Competencies can now offer their own services that meet these qualifications.
“Partners didn’t play much of a role in VMware Success 360 before,” Fine said. “Now we are bringing in qualified partners to help with this SKU-based offering to guide customers through all phases of their journey.
Similarly, VMware has now enabled its Cloud Universal multi-cloud cross-platform management solution for channel partners.
In addition, VMware partners can now make up to $15,000 for each technical assessment to support VMware Cloud on Dell EMC as well as VMware Cloud on AWS.
“This is designed to reward partners who identify these opportunities,” Fine said.
Finally, partners are now able to sell certified and validated partner solutions on the VMware Cloud Marketplace, something they were not able to fully do before.
“The good news for Canadian partners is all of these announcements include Canada immediately,” Fine said. “Often Canada is next, after the U.S. launch, but we are front and centre for all of these, which will help us go to market with partners in quicker way in Canada.”
“This all follows on our broad theme that the channel is foundational to where VMware wants to go,” Reeves concluded. “We know we have to walk the walk. Over the coming months, we will be all over this, and we will walk the walk with our channel. Our sales organization is integrating the channel into everything we do.”