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VMware pushes for channel cloud competencies

The vendor has introduced three new solution competencies and a new SMB specialization

LAS VEGAS- VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) is pushing its partners to gain more specialized skills to take on the cloud opportunity in 2012. The company announced three new solution competencies, along with increased reward incentives for its channel community during its Partner Exchange event here on Tuesday. 

“If you look back to two years ago, the types of solutions that we were driving into the market were not nearly as diverse as they are today,” said Scott Aronson, VMware’s senior vice-president of global channels and alliances.

That means partners need to invest more in competencies, especially since the private cloud opportunity will reach $41.5 billion by 2015, he said. 

Related story: New channel chief promises changes at VMware

The company is now requiring its premier and enterprise level partners to invest in at least two solutions competencies within the next year. The virtualization vendor argues that the investment is worth it, since partners with at least one competency sell 3.5 times more than those without.

VMware has added a virtualization of business critical applications (VBCA) competency for partners virtualizing applications such as ERP or databases, along with an infrastructure-as-a-service competency to extend partners’ expertise in VMware hybrid cloud solutions. Both of those competencies are available immediately.

The company has also introduced a management competency, available later this quarter, which is designed to help partners focused on the VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite. VMware had three existing solution competencies in infrastructure virtualization, desktop virtualization and business continuity. 

“People aren’t buying silos of technology; they’re buying integrated infrastructure,” said Kent MacDonald, vice-president of business development with Calgary-based Long View Systems. “Part of our value proposition has been the services that we’ve been able to deliver with VMware.”

That’s one reason the vendor is touting its Solution Exchange online marketplace, launched last month, where its partners can network with one another and collaborate, since it’s unrealistic for all partners to become highly specialized in every area, Aronson said.

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Being able to talk at a high level and dive deep technically is important for instilling customer confidence, especially when virtualizing business critical applications. “If we don’t know what we’re selling, it shows,” said Ayaz Rathore, director of sales at R-Com Consulting, a U.K.-based VMware partner. “It’s easy to BS in this business, but I’d rather not do that.”

VMware is also looking to grow in the small and medium sized business (SMB), and Aronson said the company is working on an SMB specialization, with more details to come later this year. “By no means have we sold into all the commercial and SMB customers out there,” he said.

“There’s certainly an appetite to virtualize (and) deploy new applications,” in the Canadian mid-size market, MacDonald said.

VMware is also rewarding partners who find net new opportunities. Those partners can receive an additional back-end rebate through its advantage+ program. Through its Solutions Reward program, partners can gain an additional bonus rebate for a first-time solution sale if it is outside of the company’s infrastructure virtualization solution competency.

Follow Harmeet Singh on Twitter: @HarmeetCDN