VMware Reorgs Enterprise-Focused Services Team, Aims To Quell Conflict Between Sales And Partners

VMware is shaking up its Accelerate Advisory Services team, which includes business and technical consultants that help enterprise customers move to the cloud and adopt its latest technologies, sources with knowledge of the matter told CRN this week.

VMware is laying off some pre-sales staff from the Accelerate team and moving some engineers into its professional services organization, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they're not authorized to speak about the matter.

It's not clear how many people were laid off from the Accelerate team, and a VMware spokesperson declined to give a specific number.

"Workforce rebalancing is a continual activity across VMware’s businesses and geographies to ensure that resources are aligned with business objectives and customer needs," the VMware spokesperson said in an email.

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VMware will "continue to invest" in Accelerate Advisory Services, the spokesperson said.

[Related: VMware Letting Some Partners Sell Professional Services Under New Pilot Program]

VMware partners told CRN the shakeup is part of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor's efforts to end conflict between its professional services salespeople and channel partners, which has been growing in recent months.

VMware is asking its partners to invest in learning how to sell its Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) portfolio, which include technologies such as NSX network virtualization, VSAN storage and vSphere 6. But not all partners are ready to work with all of these products today, and some require significant training.

Given the lack of channel partners equipped to sell SDDC, VMware's professional services organization has been taking on a bigger role in handling these projects for enterprises, said the sources.

"Most partners are not prepared technically to deploy all the new technologies that VMware has on the market, so VMware has to do it on their own. They want only the best technical sales folks now," said one longtime VMware partner, who didn't want to be named.

Sometime last year, VMware began giving its salespeople quotas to sell SDDC professional services and set up its compensation model to reward them for their efforts, the sources said.

But that has caused some VMware salespeople to move downmarket into the commercial space, an area where many of the vendor's partners do business, according to the sources.

As a result, some VMware salespeople have been competing with the same partners VMware is asking to help sell SDDC deals, the sources said.

VMware needs to invest in professional services capacity because its SDDC strategy, which looks great on paper, isn't easy to implement from a technical standpoint, sources told CRN.

VMware has been building its professional services unit via acquisition, picking up MomentumSI, a professional services firm with deep expertise in hybrid cloud, DevOps and OpenStack, last October. VMware also acquired VSS Labs, a cloud and virtualization services firm.

With these types of deals, VMware is adding the expertise it needs to get its professional services team up to speed on delivering SDDC to its biggest customers. Once this happens, VMware plans to start handing off SDCC projects to the channel, said the sources.

The first step came last week at VMware's partner conference, where the vendor unveiled a pilot program in which partners that sell the entire SDDC portfolio will be able to sell and deliver their own professional services to customers.