Tara Fine is a channel chief at VMware Canada. VMware software powers some of the world’s most complex digital infrastructures. The company’s compute, cloud, mobility, networking, and security offerings provide a digital foundation for more than 500,000 global customers, aided by an ecosystem of 75,000 partners. In 2018, VMware celebrated its 20th anniversary. Fine has over 20 years of experience in working with the Canadian IT channel, helping partners and VMware collaborate to drive IT strategy and growth. When it comes to staying competitive in this new IT landscape, she knows the recipe for success balances operational continuity with IT innovation, specialization, and education to deliver results that help customers succeed. CDN recently had the opportunity to speak with Fine.
CDN: What are your biggest responsibilities in your current role?
Fine: Among my chief responsibilities as senior director of channels at VMware Canada is enabling VMware partners to sell to their customers a hybrid cloud strategy that supports digital transformation. Closely tied to this is helping organizations get to where they want to be — identifying business priorities, setting strategies, and pursuing them endlessly to stay competitive and deliver the best results possible to their customers. I’m always encouraging our partners to take a journey to the future with us. We’re focused right now on evolving our partner programs, creating a systematic approach in our engagement with our partners to align with our thinking, and acting with a “partner-first” led approach.
CDN: Talk about your general approach as an organization.
Fine: As an organization VMware thinks holistically, and offers a complete vision – empower people to access any app on any device, from any cloud, with intrinsic security ‘architected in’ across every layer. When it comes to how we work with our partners, we believe in a ‘partner-first’ approach and work very closely with our partners in the day-to-day of revenue, business development and helping to foster IT talent in Canada. I am very grateful to work with such a committed and inspiring team, both within VMware and our partner organizations.
CDN: How do you define channels at VMware?
Fine: Channels have always been at the forefront of the way we go to market. Today, in Canada, more than 80 per cent of our business is done in partnership with the channel community, which can be defined as anything from a systems integrator to a traditional reseller solution provider.
CDN: How do you ensure the Canadian, and North American, channel ecosystems thrive?
Fine: There are many ways, but a key one is trust. Our partners have amazing customer relationships and technical knowledge, and that translates into high business value impact. It is this combined expertise that allows our business to thrive.
Together, I also believe that VMware and the IT channel community have an opportunity to invest in training the next generation of IT leaders to build a workforce prepared to manage complex IT environments where cloud is normalized and strong visioning is needed to manage emerging technologies and ever-changing regulations. This will help the local channel ecosystem continue to thrive as technologies advance.
CDN: Do you have any advice for young up-and-comers in the channel?
Fine: Stay curious, always be authentic and don’t be afraid of the difficult decisions. It’s very important to stay on top of IT trends, but equally the business of the business. No matter whether you’re in sales or on the technical side, know what the goals are for your organization, familiarize yourself with the strategy that helps to drive towards those objectives and stay focused – pursue only the opportunities that align with your business priorities, even if it’s a difficult choice. Remember that partnership goes both ways, and in that relationship, authenticity and trust between partner and vendor is key.
CDN: What’s the biggest cloud trend out there right now?
Fine: To any list of cloud trends, I’d say “all of the above.” Companies are interested in getting to the cloud quickly and securely, period. Within the next 10 years it’s likely that we’ll see the normalization of could computing as organizations shift focus to IT innovation driven by AI. To compete effectively, partners will need to differentiate and specialize their services in order to manage more complex, demanding IT environments successfully.