VMware fires starting gun on channel overhaul

VMware fires starting gun on channel overhaul

Revamp set to impact more than 75,000 partners worldwide

Kerrie-Anne Turner (VMware)

Kerrie-Anne Turner (VMware)

Credit: VMware

VMware has officially unveiled plans to roll out a new partner program in early 2020, billed as a complete overhaul of the vendor’s current channel framework.

Under the banner of Partner Connect, the new-look strategy is designed to allow partners to engage with the software giant in a way aligned to specific business models, rather than a generic form of engagement.

With flexibility in mind, the new program - unveiled during Partner Leadership Summit - will comprise of three tiers, spanning Partner, Advanced Partner and Principal Partner.

“This isn’t a tweak, this is a significant change in our program,” said Kerrie-Anne Turner, head of commercial business and channels across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) at VMware. “We’ve aligned our partner program with the way our partners want to build their business in the future.

“We’ve been tweaking our program for around eight years but this was about evolving to future programs and platforms to allow our partners to build successful businesses through our technology.

“We will bring this program into fruition early next year, evolving a partner program is no mean feat so there will be a grandfathering process.”

With more details expected in the coming weeks, the program - set to impact more than 75,000 partners worldwide - also includes new master services competency, in addition to incentives around VMware Cloud on AWS and deeper ties with alliance vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

“VMware is introducing a new way of partnering; we have listened to feedback from our partners, and VMware Partner Connect will be our singular partner program for any business model,” added Jenni Flinders, vice president and worldwide channel chief at VMware.

“With this new program, we are making it very simple for partners to co-sell and co-invest with us, as they align to next-generation VMware technologies and drive superior value throughout the customer journey.”

Specific to tiering, Principal Partners will be the most capable partners through the achievement of Master Services Competencies across “different strategic IT priorities”.

Meanwhile, Principal status will earn partners “comprehensive rewards” including deployment and consumption incentives and prioritisation for joint-business planning and co-selling opportunities with VMware.

More broadly speaking, the vendor expects all partners in the new program to “demonstrate basic capabilities” through the achievement of VMware Solution Competencies.

Such competencies focus on developing partners’ selling skills, architecture proficiency and deployment expertise.

Partners can also earn rewards through enhanced front- and back-end margin, as well as deployment and consumption performance incentives.

“Today if you’re working with VMware, we’ve worked in a particular way such as blue, red, green or yellow,” Turner explained. “We’ve put partners in these boxes depending on the type of partner we think they are, or the partner they want to be.

“But wouldn’t it be phenomenal to think about how partners want to build businesses with us? We want to place partners at the forefront of the conversation, irrespective of how they want to take VMware to market, whether that’s as-a-service or traditional resell.

“Therefore, we have created a program from an enablement and economic perspective to support that conversation.”

In assessing the vendor’s current channel strategy, Turner acknowledged that co-sell was an area in which “we need to do better”.

“Our job is to help our partners have the skills and capabilities to help customers on their digital transformation journeys, which will require us to lean in with technical and sales capabilities to help have those conversations,” Turner explained.

“Partners are incredibly capable and competent and know where to take the customer, so we hope to add value around that process and to provide deep expertise across the VMware portfolio, which is very broad and deep.

“We need to lower the barriers to entry which means making it easier to build practices and businesses through our technology platforms.”


Delving deeper, the virtualisation specialists also unveiled VMware Cloud on AWS Master Services Competency, joining four similar offerings already provided by the vendor.

The aim is to help partners offer professional services for VMware Cloud on AWS, backed up by priority engagement and investment aligned to customer deployments, digital badges and demand generation, in addition to education discounts.

Other notable features include a new HCI Partner Sales Incentive, available only through partners and designed to drive hyper-converged infrastructure investments.

For a limited time, customers who have not yet deployed VMware vSAN can purchase three nodes of vSAN licenses for the price of two.

Additionally, the program will focus on building hybrid cloud environments through HPE vSAN ReadyNode, which is built on the HPE ProLiant DL380 and certified under the VMware vSAN all flash 6 specification.

Specific to VMware NSX, partners who achieve the Network Virtualisation Master Services Competency will now earn increased rewards for completing product deployments.

“Customers are trying to solve business problems and we have to make it easier for our partners to help customers solve those problems, and allow the channel to build those capabilities,” Turner concluded.

“Take hybrid cloud for example, which will require a certain set of skills to help customers transition those workloads. There’s an enormous opportunity for our partners to help customers assess which workloads stay and which workloads move in a multi-cloud world.”

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