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New VMware Canada channel chief has two priorities

VMware Canada country manager Eric Gales & channel chief Donna Wittmann

VMware Canada country manager Eric Gales made official what CDN reported last week that Donna Wittmann is the subsidiary’s new channel chief.

Gales told CDN that the company launched a broad search for a new channel chief and interviewed several worthy candidates. In the end, Gales wanted to bring in a leader who could make a quick impact in the marketplace as one of his main reasons for hiring Wittmann.

“Donna Wittmann has credibility in the channel and when she came back on the market I knew she was well known to the partner and distribution communities,” he said.

Gales also worked closely with Wittmann when he was at Microsoft Canada and Wittmann handled software for Dell Canada.

“It was my view that we could not have hired someone better than Donna in terms of time to productivity. She would be the shortest of any of the candidates to productivity because she has instant credibility with VMware internally and the partners. The time to productivity with Donna was too compelling,” Gales added.

Wittmann will have the title of director of partner and commercial sales for VMware Canada.

Gales has already tasked Wittmann with two key priorities: the first is the alignment of VMware’s go-to-market model with channel partners.

“Our model has evolved into three areas: software-defined data centres, end-user computing, and VMware’s hybrid cloud. There are three different opportunities that need to go downstream in the channel.  Nationally we have a little catching up to do to explain the alignment to the partners,” Gales said.

The second priority is to drive the right level of enablement, again downstream, in the channel with distribution, ISVs, and solution providers.

Gales also address the reasons why he took so long to replace Jas Sahota, the former VMware Canada channel chief, who left the company in early February.  He said that the subsidiary had very little Canadian organizational construct and that work needed to be completed first. There were also a number of different channel partners aligned to different leaders internally and externally.

“This (work) took some time; about six month to get it established and it was then that I found out what resources we need to have,” he said.

Gales is hoping the Canadian channel ecosystem sees the hiring of Wittmann as an investment in them and also as a “real commitment” to the channel.

“I think VMware is evolving as an organization and in the solutions it sells. Sometimes it is difficult to move all these pieces at the same time. There was a lack of focus in Canada, but now we have that focus back and there is a tremendous opportunity to grow with the channel,” he added.

“People that know me know that I believe in the channel model and I wanted to hire someone who could execute this plan and make it a reality.”

Wittmann left the Canadian high tech industry 18 months ago to work at Tennis Canada as chief marketing officer. Before that she was the channel chief for Cisco Canada.