SAN FRANCISCO – VMware took advantage of partner day at its annual VMworld conference to unveil further details of the revamped partner program it first announced in April.
VMware Partner Connect, which goes live on February 29, 2020, is a single program consolidating those for all business models. Partner levels will be determined through Tier Credits based on the licensing model sold, market size and maturity, and solution maturity. The credits, which will be multipliers of deal size, will be higher for cloud (SaaS) licensing, developing markets, and emerging technologies, and earned credits for a deal will be the sum of the base amount of the deal plus the licensing, market maturity, and solution maturity credits. Exact values are still under review.
The calculation will look back fifteen months, then forward twelve months in a rolling calculation that allows for cancellations, returns, or other booking adjustments.
Of the three reward tiers, Partner, Advanced Partner, and Principal Partner, only Principal Partners will be badged. Enrollment is scheduled to begin in January 2020.
Tara Fine, senior director of channels at VMware Canada, said that work is already underway on making sure Canadian partners have the tools and information they need to be successful in the program.
The company has already launched an online assessment tool that will help partners determine where they will be in the new program, based on their current certifications and competencies.
VMware Canada is also investing on the technical side, hiring a new service engineer manager and investing in new processes to help partners, according to Peter Near, national director, solution engineering.
“We’re approaching Canadian partners from two angles,” he said. “One is helping them to get their services competencies and develop skills within their teams. The other is helping them engage in specific opportunities. And so that means ensuring that all of the right connections are in place between VMware and the partners, if necessary, actually joining some of the partners for initial calls with customers and really doing a bit of a white glove service to ensure that our partners are successful in their early engagements with our customers.”
“We really think we can help our customers solve big problems with our partners. And quite frankly, can only do that at scale with our partner community in Canada,” Fine added. “We’re going to take a focused approach versus trying to invest in all partners. We’re investing in the partners that are investing in us.”
“I love the approach that they’re taking with their MSC partners,” said Chris Swadish, executive director, datacenter software business at Softchoice. “I’ve always felt that VMware has only given lip service to, not technical enablement, but putting value behind recognizing partners that have invested in developing the skills sets and capabilities around their programs. And that includes market access to their developers and their BU leadership, and more specifically in the way we engage in field in more complex opportunities. I think the program changes really help define who the committed partners are, and in what spaces they’re invested in MSC and capabilities, where their sales motions are well aligned, and putting some weight behind that to make sure the partners that are invested, committed, developed, capable are getting preferential treatment when it comes to how we do deals together in the field.”
He does, however, have concerns about how the program differentiates partners by country, since Softchoice spans North America, and is in discussions with VMware on that front. “We don’t want to do everything twice,” he explained.
The new program is not the end of the changes. VMware chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger told media during a briefing that although last year had been very good with channel partners, and he had heard from them that programs were getting better, there’s more to come.
“We are not done,” he said. “We need to become one of the best, if not THE best, in our channel programs. We’ve made a lot of progress since last year, but I want to commit to them that we’re going to continue to invest and refine the programs. We’re bringing lots of new stuff and the only way we can realize that for our customers at scale is through our channel partners.”