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VMware on a journey to rebuild partner programme

The vendor's recently appointed channel chief has shared her plans for rebuilding the firm's partner programme

VMware is in the process of revising its channel partner programme looking to roll out changes next year and has already indicated to partners that the emphasis will be on gaining master specialisations.

The vendor has been pushing its master services programme, which currently has four specialisations but will have more to come in the future, since it launched back in May and the top partners in any rebuilt channel scheme will be those that have gone through the process of gaining those certifications.

Jenni Flinders, global channel chief at VMware, said that as well as putting the emphasis on specialisms it also wanted to make its interactions with the channel easier and simpler and work was underway to make that happen.

"I have been in this industry for 24 years, always working with channel and building routes to market, and I have been in this position at VMware for six months. In those six months I have been meeting amazing partners and one of the most vibrant and committed ecosystems," she said.

"We need to evolve how we are engaging with partners and in the programmes we are building look at how are we building enablement to really help them build the capacity so they can deliver solutions," she added that the question she was looking to answer was: "How do we get better simplifying our approach and engagement with partners."

"We are embarking on rebuilding the partner programme and we are going to look at driving simplicity and ease of doing business with our partners based on their business models with VMware," she said.

The Master Services Competencies

• Cloud management & automation
• Data center virtualisation
• Network virtualisation
• Desktop & mobility

Flinders recognised that the vendor was now having to work with an ever widening channel and its way to identify the best of the best was around the four master competencies, "so we take more of a solution approach and allow partners to engage with us based on their differentation and what they are unique at".

"We need to do a really good job of knowing what our partners capabilities are so that we can effectively engage with partners early enough in the deal based on their skillset. So that's the muscle we will be building in terms of gaining that insight from the channel," she said.

In terms of timetable the firm is expecting to make an announcement in the first half of fiscal next year providing more details but the idea is for it to be more of a journey than a hard launch.

"We are not flicking a switch early next year saying 'here's your new programme' it is more of a journey. We are saying to partners they should assess themselves now and see where they fit into the solution competency areas and here is your journey to get to the master services competencies," she said.

Dilip Kalliyat, CEO of Dubai-based HUCO, said that although it had only been around for a few years it had worked hard to gain the master competencies and found that it helped the firm stand out against rival resellers. It also provided VMware with a clear idea of the commitment of his firm and the level of technical expertise it could offer.

UK resellers are also being encouraged to gain more of the services competencies with Alanzo Blackstock, director of partner organisation UK&I, VMware, also banging the drum on the issue.

"Services is going to be a big thing for VMware from a partner perspective over the coming years. We see in order to get the full value of what our customers buy it needs our partners to deliver that full value of services," he said.

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