VMware lifts lids on partner programme revamp

VMWare logo on a white background

VMware has provided a glimpse into the changes that partners can expect when the vendor re-launches its channel programme in February 2020.

The company is overhauling its channel strategy to reward partners for competencies and delivering customer outcomes within the new Partner Connect programme.

"We have grown our portfolio and acquired new technologies to a point at which we have a strong set of capabilities that will be the foundation for our customers' digital transformation. What that means though is that we need some different capabilities from our partners than we needed in the past," Alanzo Blackstock, director of Partner Organisation UK&I at VMware, explained to Channel Pro.

"Partner Connect is about us moving away from a programme that incentivised our partners for transacting software to a new programme that incentivises our partners to deliver on the whole of the customer lifecycle. It's about delivering the outcomes and having the right levels of services and service capabilities to make the customer successful in their digital transformation journey."

Blackstock points to VMware technologies which now include hyperconvergence, networking and security, citing a need for greater integration capabilities, which "requires a skill set that our partners haven't necessarily needed in the past."

To this end the firm focusing on "six or seven" Master Services Competencies, requiring partners to specialise in areas such as networking security, data centre virtualisation, digital workspace and cloud-native applications.

"[VMware] is reshaping and realigning to the way that customers are actually buying technology these days and running it," says Gavin Jolliffe, CEO of Xtravirt, the first VMware partner in the UK to achieve all five current Master Services Competencies. "It's a very sensible move," he adds, describing the new programme as "a massive change, [and] a multi-year journey."

VMware is currently assessing where it's three and a half thousand partners in the UK and Ireland will be placed in the new programme, based on their history and existing skills set. "We're trying to prepare our partners for that journey and fill any gaps there might be," says Blackstock.

The vendor also notes that the new programme will be much simpler for partners to navigate, including providing just one agreement under which different types of partners can sell multiple technologies in multiple ways.

"We're trying to reduce the complexity to our partners and make it simpler for them to engage with us. But at the same time, making it clear that they can sell in many ways; it's not just about the licences, it's also about cloud services especially, about professional services."

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.