VMware leaps into new partner portal with Connect program

VMware leaps into new partner portal with Connect program

Introduces five master services competencies

Jenni Flinders (VMware)

Jenni Flinders (VMware)

Credit: NetApp

VMware has shed more light on its new Connect program and portal that will leap into action on 29 February 2020.

A new platform to manage development funds will be switched on in the fourth quarter of 2019, which will integrate with VMware's new Digital Connect partner portal, vice president and worldwide channel chief Jenni Flinders revealed.

Flinders told media at VMworld 2019 in San Francisco that the platform will offer business intelligence to partners concerning their performance, velocity and pipeline.

“It’s going to have some sticky business intelligence on how you’re doing as a VMware partner and that feeds into the Connect platform,” Flinders said. 

The platform will also set them on their path to achieving certain competencies, she said, and will be "interactive" rather than just simply "informative". 

Flinders claimed the platform was so "adaptive" it will never go through such a major refresh again, even as the infrastructure vendor continues to add acquisitions into its portfolio which it “will snap into [the platform].”

“Partner experience really matters to us, and we want to make sure it will deliver a really exceptional experience,” she said. 

On the competency front, VMware is concentrating on five Master Services Competencies featuring Hybrid-Cloud; Multi-Cloud; Modern Applications; Transform Networking and Security; and Empower Digital Workspace.

More details on the requirements will be revealed in November. 

“We will always look at augmenting the competencies, making them better and really relevant so partners can differentiate themselves,” she said. “Partners love master services competencies as you’ve got that deep technical capability. It allows them to open more doors to customers because it changes the conversation, you become more relevant with that level of competency.”

In the past year, the company has offered a teaser as to what the new program will entail, comprising of three tiers: Partner, Advanced Partner and Principal Partner.

The vendor expects all partners in the program to “demonstrate basic capabilities” by achieving VMware Solution Competencies, which focus on developing partners’ selling skills, architecture proficiency and deployment expertise.

“The program will be consistent globally, and we’ll see how it plays out between emerging markets and developed markets in terms of the certifications and requirements, and cost. But partners do value keeping the bar high,” she said.

Admittedly, Flinders said it still had a long way to go with the ecosystem in terms of helping them to build new practice areas beyond vSphere, something that VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger claimed the vendor was working hard to build on. 

“A lot of the channel is just fulfilling vSphere, and we’re working hard to build master services competencies - how do we move them to be capable of delivering networking, security, automation and multi-cloud - it’s a big focus of ours,” Gelsinger said. 

“Partners need to assess what they’re good at, where you see your customers and differentiation over time, and then pick one or more of these major pathways of new skills and capabilities with Kubernetes, developer and DevOp skills being one of those potential pathways.”

Although Kubernetes brings an additional skills demand, Gelsinger said VMware was hoping to address this by making the products easier to use and minimise some of the requirements. 

He pointed to VMware's new apps portfolio Tanzu as an example of building native skills within VMware and then amplifying those through channel partners. 

“We’re re-skilling some of our people to focus in this area [Kubernetes] specifically and use Pivotal’s resources. Many of them have the right skills, they’re just not centred on Kubernetes,” he said. “With Pivotal we have 3000 people that will be joining VMware - a non trivial team, and a lot of them are in the software development skills space - we’re going to be repurposing that. 

“We’re also going to be launching a new certification capability for our channel partners as well so we can be skilling them up.”

Julia Talevski attended VMworld 2019 in San Francisco as a guest of VMware.

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