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Nutanix 'Evening The Channel Playing Field' With New Partner Charter

"We're not just putting this investment in the largest partners, we're putting this investment across our partner base," said Nutanix channel leader Rodney Foreman.

Nutanix is "evening the playing field" for channel partners as the hyper-converged pioneer launches its new Power to the Partner program that emphasizes incentives around training and new deals rather than solely sales. The program's partner status is based on the number of deals close and depth of Nutanix skills, enabling solution providers of all sizes to achieve the highest tier.

"I definitely like being rewarded in a transactional way as opposed to just seeing the big giants who take down the mega-enterprise deals always achieving the highest levels," said Rick Gouin, chief technology officer at Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass.-based Nutanix partner. "It's awesome that a midmarket-focused company like us can really benefit from this."

The program's top tier, Master Partner, is for solution providers that close the most deals and hold the most certifications focusing around selling Nutanix's core hyper-converged products as well as new solutions like Flow, Era and Beam.

[Related: VMware COO Slams 'Copycatting' Nutanix Following Frame Acquisition]

Craig Manahan, practice manager of data center infrastructure for RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati-based Nutanix partner, said the vendor is truly recognizing partners who are committed to Nutanix and continues the company's evolution to become a channel powerhouse.

"We've been committing to Nutanix, so this gives us an opportunity to compete on a level playing field with some of the larger partners out there because we got that focus on the technical aspect," said Manahan, who's company is ranked No. 74 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500 list. "It's evening the channel playing field."

First the first time ever, Nutanix is now requiring all solution providers to become Nutanix-authorized in order to sell its offerings.

"We've come to a level of maturity as a business and with our portfolio, that we now need to make sure that our partners have a certain level of skill and are certified before they're representing Nutanix in the market," said Rodney Foreman, vice president of Global Channel Sales for Nutanix, in an interview with CRN.

Foreman said the program is "about making our partners of all sizes" successful by providing new sales and marketing support, incentives and rebates. Much of the program's rebates and incentives revolve around net new customers, he said.

"We have a high rate of repeat customers. So if we can enable our partners to win new customers, once we win a new customer – they buy again," said Foreman. "So once we're in, customers see the ROI and expand those environments and then start moving other workloads to Nutanix. So we're rewarding partners, not on revenue, but more on transactions and their overall investment in selling our products across the portfolio."

Power to the Partner has three tiers: Master Partner, Scaler Partner and Pioneer Partner. The Scaler tier is for partners who are developing integrated solutions around Nutanix's Enterprise Cloud OS software ecosystem and have increased the number and level of certified staff and deals. The Pioneer tier is for solution providers who are moving their first customers to Nutanix hyper-converged solutions and gaining initial skills in core products.

The new program is giving partners features to help guide customers through digital transformation including full-service, demand generation platforms and tools to help partners get a foot in the door for new customers. Nutanix is also providing resources for partners to run Nutanix demos, Sizer and Xtract tools in order for solutions providers to deliver rapid and smooth implementations of solutions.

Additionally, the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor has created new trainings for products like Beam, Calm, Flow, Era to help customers gain more value from their Nutanix environments. The vendor is also providing more automated sales support processes for partners.

"This new charter is positing us for long term success by providing partners with a different level of sales and marketing support," said Nutanix's Foreman. "It's about making partners of all sizes successful. We're not just putting this investment in the largest partners, we're putting this investment across our partner base, across the partner ecosystem globally to make sure that our partners are successful."

Partners said Nutanix's channel momentum in 2018 is at an all-time high through a slew of new investments and products. The company revamped its partner strategy in March by unleashing for the first time ever new software rebates for the channel. Additionally, Nutanix recently launched a new Velocity partner program offering more incentives and opportunities in the midmarket.

"We're very bullish on Nutanix," said RoundTower's Manahan. "They've launched a ton of new products and partner-focused things, and they just acquired Frame. I don't see them slowing down at all."

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