VMware Canada’s channel strategy will be clearer next quarter: Gales

SAN FRANCISCO – Since he joined virtualization vendor VMware as Canada country manager in late 2012, former Microsoft Canada president Eric Gales has been conducting a sweeping reorganization of the subsidiary to put it on a Canada first-footing. And the reorganization is beginning to come into focus.

Gales provided an update to CDN this week at the vendor’s annual VMworld user conference, outlining progress on the vision he outlined to CDN earlier this summer. The country manager position was created for Gales, and driving the changes is the intent to run VMware Canada not as an adjunct of the U.S., but as a proper subsidiary with an organization, resources and programs designed for the unique complexities of the Canadian market.

“The organizational footprint we had was largely a function of our history,” said Gales. “Now that we have Canadian leadership we can start to tune it, and make smarter decisions about where we have resources allocated.”

VMware’s portfolio is growing – the major announcement at VMworld of a new solution to virtualize the network layer is evidence of that – and Gales said the Canadian organization is growing its resources to support the broader portfolio. That includes bringing onboard more specialists around end user computing and cloud – he’s hiring in both areas – and will also manifest at the channel level as well as the vendor ensures it has the right partners with the right solution expertise in the areas they want to drive growth.

One outstanding questions is whether the Canada-first VMware Canada will have a local channel chief. Gales has been essentially wearing the channel that since the departure of Jas Sahota this spring. Other channel leaders, such as Bruce Trotman, national account manager for distribution, have also been stepping up. Gales said a decision around what to do with the channel chief role will be coming soon.

“We’re conducting a review right now to come to conclusions on what we should do to evolve the channel and our commercial business, we’re working on that and we expect to come to decisions in the next quarter,” said Gales. “But I certainly see the need to make further investment in the channel, and that’s where we’ll be going.”

On the channel front, Canada will largely be leveraging the U.S. program, but Gales said he wants to apply it specifically to Canada, and the Canada-first model will allow resources such as deployment and marketing support to be controlled in Canada, and deployed to target the specific priorities of the Canadian market, with the right message for the right segment and geography.

“What’s managed out of the U.S. doesn’t always have good synergies with Canada,” said Gales. “We can now sequence what we’re doing on marketing, enablement and solution selling, and we’re already seeing improvements.”

VMware isn’t the only vendor undergoing a Canada-first reorganization. Intel Canada is doing the same under new country manager Graham Palmer, and there are others as well. Gales said there are unique challenges to doing business in Canada — from geography to language — that are hard to fully appreciate unless you live here.

“Over history in our market, the companies that had Canadian operations have historically performed better in Canada,” said Gales.

While planning is still in the early stages, Gales said they’re segmenting the Canadian market by size, geography, and to a certain extent by industry, and looking at how VMware solutions can be tailored to help each specific segment. In end user compute, for example, he said they have good solutions for health care, education, and branch offices.

“As part of the evolution, we’re building in more granularity into how we think about the market, how we message to it, and how we deliver with our partner ecosystem,” said Gales.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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