COLUMN: Why Nutanix Is Channel Strong

CRN’s Steve Burke says that Nutanix is a great example of a vendor that ensures that its disciplined channel model is enforced under any and all circumstances

Shane Garrett, senior vice president of WEI, No. 94 on the 2023 CRN Solution Provider 500, has seen a lot of companies buckle at the last minute when it comes to supporting partners on market-making enterprise deals involving countless sales and technical resources.

That’s why Garrett could not have been more thrilled when Nutanix recently stood by his elite technical team, refusing to yield to a customer’s last-minute request to transfer the deal to a transactional partner under the guise of price parity. In the end, Nutanix protected the partner as well as the account planning and engagement model that is at the heart of every good channel program. No small matter given that it was a complex VDI solution amounting to one of the largest marketplace deals ever for WEI.

“I have never seen a vendor in a situation like this with so much pressure remain loyal to the partner that they were working with from the inception of the deal,” said Garrett, a 20-year channel sales veteran. “That is a tribute to the channel-strong Nutanix culture. Nutanix has built a program where we can invest, add value and bring services to customers and then be rewarded for that investment.”

Garrett credits Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami for creating a channel-first culture and the Nutanix Americas channel team led by Vice President of Americas Channels Christian Goffi for ensuring that the company’s disciplined channel model is enforced under any and all circumstances.

“Christian’s practical sales experience working on deals like this was key,” said Garrett. “He knows what it takes to put these complex solution deals together. It’s a matter of protecting Nutanix, the partner and the customer with the right solution and services.”

What gets lost in a deal like this is the consulting services that go into doing detailed solution comparisons and the complex integration and services once the deal is done. In this case, the WEI multi-cloud Nutanix solution was more scalable with stronger return on investment than a single-threaded hyperscaler solution.

The Nutanix channel-strong culture is a huge competitive advantage in a market where the first reflex of many CEOs and channel chiefs is to give in and look the other way when faced with high-pressure choices. Many CEOs and channel chiefs simply don’t want to get their hands dirty.

Goffi, for his part, said it is simply a matter of integrity and doing the right thing. To that point, he said, “Integrity and being channel-centric is not something you can do sometimes. It has to be ingrained in the culture. It is the little things that say the biggest things about who you are. It might feel like a little thing to give in—even one time—but it means a lot if you do. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Either you are channel-centric or you are not. We have a channel-centric culture.”

That Nutanix channel centric ethos is reaching new heights as a result of a blockbuster new partnership with Cisco. The Cisco partnership brings together two of the best and brightest in the channel to deliver the Nutanix multicloud platform on Cisco’s Unified Computing System. Simply put it opens up the Nutanix multicloud innovation to tens of thousands of Cisco partners.

The rewards are great for companies like Nutanix that have a channel first culture. In the case of WEI, the solution provider’s overall sales with Nutanix will double this year. On top of that, WEI’s new Nutanix logo wins are up 20 percent this year.

It’s the kind of payback that results from a channel-first culture backed up by a channel-first CEO and channel team. “We are doubling down on our partnership with Nutanix,” said Garrett. “Our sales team is pushing even harder for Nutanix. There is more momentum for the partnership. The flywheel is moving faster. It’s all about being better together.”