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VMware arming channel with skills to unlock digital opportunities

Reaping the digital transformation rewards is more than just an IT conversation and VMware's UK channel chief is taking an approach based on helping partners increase their capabilities

Digital transformation is driving sales and creating opportunities for partners across  the VMware channel base.

It has been a buzz phrase in the industry all year but according to Alanzo Blackstock,  director, partner organisation UK&I at VMware, it is being translated into revenue opportunities for partners.

"Everybody is talking about digital transformation but the good thing about digital transformation is that it is real. There was a danger it was becoming a buzzword in our industry but actually where you look at where customers need to go it is capturing a real need," he said.

He said that although there were opportunities there were challenges for the partner ecosystem and it had to make sure it had the right skills and competencies to help drive digital transformation and that had been where a lot of its efforts around its Partner Connect programme had been going.

"We need to be able to have partners that have the right service capabilities and customer relationships to really drive that transformation," he said.

Earlier this year VMware started to engage the channel with its Partner Connect programme, with the emphasis being placed on Master Competencies to help resellers focus on areas of strength and to give customers a clear idea of which partner could help deliver their needs.

Gavin Jolliffe, CEO of Xtravirt, which has got itself into a position to gain those master competencies, said that it had seen the benefits from being able to support customers with their digital transformation needs.

"We are collaborating on huge go-to-market deals that are complex and multi-year and where the real benefits are is where we are learning how to make that programmatic, rather than one-hit successes," he said.

Blackstock said that digital transformation had posed some challenges for the wider industry because it went beyond specific project delivery at IT level.

"Digital transformation speaks to the business level and about creating value their  customers with a different engagement and that's a challenge," he added "We have to
think differently about how we use services to make a customer successful."

"That challenges IT and our partners to think differently about their skills and services capability," he said.

Jolliffe said that it was talking to different people at customers that it had not previously spoken to and it was working hard to make sure it could discover the needs of
the user.

"That is not just a data exercise it is quantifying and qualifying where the customer is at and what their internal barriers are, how they are communicating to the organisation
and whether they understand what the journey is going to look like and what the outcome is for them," he said.

Blackstock added that VMware had taken steps to make it easier for partners to gain the skills and capabilities to deal with those customer issues.

"We believe that we have the capabilities to offer that digital platform that customers need and to have that agility for business transformation," he added " We need partners that are able to deliver the outcome with the full knowledge and understanding of the technology portfolio that can deliver that."

"We need partners that have invested both in technology and the customer success to bridge that gap and our Partner Connect programme is designed all around trying to find and promote partners that are willing to have both of those two things," he said.

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