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VMware partner event to focus on SMB and new incentives

Analysts give CDN a preview of what partners can expect at the vendor's conference this week

LAS VEGAS- VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) is officially kicking off its Partner Exchange here on Tuesday, where its global channel community has gathered to hear how the virtualization vendor will take it into 2012.

Partners have been attending smaller seminars for the past few days, but today will hear from VMware’s executive team during the general session.

Christine Dover, research manager for software channels with IDC, gave CDN some insight into what the vendor is planning for its partners. “They are going to talk about solutions and competencies around infrastructure as a service, which is their vCloud Director product,” she said.

However, the vendor  will also be emphasizing the message that it is not a services company, and that business is left to its partners, she added.

Related story: New channel chief promises changes at VMware

As part of that message, VMware will likely push its partners toward the small and medium sized (SMB) segment as well. “My perception of VMware is that they’re very much an enterprise sell and they need to expand their market down to small and medium business,” she said.  “I think you’re going to hear about routes to market in emerging countries.”

VMware argues that only 15 per cent of that market of under 1000 employees is currently virtualized, leaving a major opportunity for its partners tackling the SMB market. “In my mind, anything that’s focusing on the SMB market period is certainly a win for many Canadian partners,” said Mira Perry, senior analyst of software channels research at IDC Canada.

“They’ve got some incentive programs that they’re launching around expanded rewards and opportunities for partners,” Dover added, including doubling rewards on certain solutions. “They’ve got a new platform for managing incentives.”

Part of that offering likely comes from channel partners across the industry not fully leveraging the market development funds made available to them by vendors, she said. “They want to really make sure partners take advantage of all of the incentives that they offer.”

The event has also already seen other companies using the event to make their own announcements, such as Burnaby, B.C.-based Teradici Corp.’s new partner program.

“One of the things that’s interesting is that they’re expecting a 20 per cent increase in attendance over 2011,” Dover added, bringing this year’s total attendance up to about 4,000. Part of that can be attributed to the conference having 90 sponsors, up from 60 last year, but also the event’s location in Las Vegas.

Follow Harmeet Singh on Twitter: @HarmeetCDN