VMware Partner Connect gets a makeover to reduce complexity – Channel Futures

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The VMware channel executive admits to feeling “guilty” for the complexity of some of the older partner programs.

VMWARE VMWORLD — Recognizing that the company’s partner program has become increasingly complex and complicated for partners over the past decade, VMware is completely revamping Partner Connect and will roll out a simpler, cleaner program for partners. on February 29, 2020. The original announcement of the redesigned Partner Program was first made in April at the company’s Partner Leadership Summit in Carlsbad, California.

With 90% of revenue coming from partners, VMware knows it needs an easy-to-navigate partner program if the company is to meet CEO Pat Gelsinger’s goal of doubling revenue over the next five years.

VMware’s Richard Steeves talks strategy at VMworld 2019 in San Francisco on Aug. 26.

Richard Steeves, Senior Director of Global Partner Programs at VMware, sat down with Channel Futures at VMworld to discuss the company’s strategy for Partner Connect and answer some of the many questions partners will be asking in the weeks and months ahead.

VMware has approximately 75,000 partners worldwide, of which approximately 20,000 are considered active.

Channel Futures: VMware is cleaning up its Partner Connect program. What is the problem?

Richard Steves: Over the past decade, we have had several partner programs that have responded to road-to-market, product or business unit driven strategies. I feel guilty for building and launching a few of these in the past. This created a lot of complexity.

What we’re trying to do is put our partners better at the center of the equation – much like the SaaS transformation and journey where vendors no longer push products through channels to customers; rather, it’s about an experience you create with customers at the center of the circle and creating an experience throughout that customer’s lifecycle through a relationship. That’s what we’re trying to do with VMware Partner Connect.

CF: What is the extent of this overhaul?

RS: Beyond the legal and contractual status of “here is the program and here are the benefits and requirements”, we had to go much further. Registration, Engagement, our Partner Central and Partner Portal systems and tools all need to be reinvented to provide a better experience for our Partners.

If we want to deserve the right, like [CEO] Tap [Gelsinger] said on the main stage, to double the business over the next three to five years, and if we’re going to change the way revenue is from 7-10% SaaS subscription consumption today to over 20%, we need to think fundamentally differently about how we engage with our partners, and about the skills and capabilities we need to drive growth and innovation with our customers in the future.

Going forward, we need to make sure we have a streamlined program that doesn’t ask partners to align or engage with us on how we’re organized internally, but rather focus on their customer , to choose the right business model, to choose the right investment strategy, to choose the right monetization vehicle, or not. If it is a service partner only, it is not traditionally hosted in our partner programs. If you’re a non-transactional partner, throughout the customer lifecycle there are many partners and partner business models that add value to that equation, and we want to create a home for all of those partners through a program unique.

You will see us modernizing solution skills to be more thoughtful and attentive to the partner’s business model. You’ll see us get smarter about activating service-specific partner capability – starting with our core requirements and making them…

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