Cloud News

‘Age of the Partner’ Has Dawned, VMware Channel Chief Says

O’Ryan Johnson

‘I truly believe this is the age of the partner. Look at edge, look at AI, look at all of the trends that we‘re seeing throughout the IT industry. There’s just so much opportunity, where do you focus? The way to do it is by partnering together,’ says VMware head of worldwide partner and commercial organization Ricky Cooper.

VMware’s head of worldwide partner and commercial organization, Ricky Cooper, is on a mission to recruit the best partners around the globe: resellers, systems integrators and distributors who can understand and solve the complex technical problems that drive progress.

“The only way we are going to succeed is to have partners on board who understand our technology, and can deploy our technology,” Cooper told CRN.

With the coming launch of Partner Connect 2.0 Cooper said VMware will reward partners who have invested in reaching technical designations such as solution competencies, master services competencies, validated services offerings, and who are cloud verified. Partners with those abilities will earn more points towards tier progression.

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“I keep referring to the fact that this is the age of the partner,” Cooper said. “And I truly believe this is the age of the partner … Look at edge, look at AI, look at all of the trends that we’re seeing throughout the IT industry. There’s just so much opportunity, where do you focus? The way to do it is by partnering together.”

But it can’t be a one-way street, Cooper said, with only the partner investing in their employees and VMware’s success. He said rewarding technically mature partners with tier progression is the first step. The second is passing along work for those partners.

“One we’ll reward and two we will also make a huge effort to ensure that we’re passing as many services opportunities as we can to our partner ecosystem, and you’ll see a huge change,” he said. “There was a tendency before, when the pie is a bit smaller, and you’ve got large ELAs, we were taking on a lot of that services. work ourselves. Things are really opening up... how does a partner ensure they have got increased profitability? By becoming an expert in our technology, and being a valued services partner, and taking on some of these services.”

VMware is on a path to forging more strategic relationships with a smaller set of partners through the new Pinnacle Tier of its Partner Connect Program, Cooper said. It will dedicate a worldwide leader to the Pinnacle Tier to centralize VMware’s Pinnacle Programs and form a community for its largest resellers. He said Pinnacle Partners will have a much tighter level of engagement such as executive sponsorship, managed account coverage, and joint business plan development.

Pinnacle Partners will also have access to a Big Bet program which drive jointly aligned goals with targeted outcomes and is separate to the Partner Connect program and incentives.

“We will invest resources, marketing dollars, Test Labs, etc. in the Big Bets program,” he said. We can’t share with you at this time which partners make up the Pinnacle Tier, but we can tell you the list will include major reseller partners, amongst other partner types.”

The company is in the midst of a $61 billion takeover by chipmaker giant Broadcom. Broadcom CEO Hock Tan singled out the need to move more VMware customers into subscription licenses as well as Broadcom’s embrace of VMware’s partner ecosystem in his first comments on the proposed deal back in May.

Here’s more of what Cooper had to say.

O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at

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