VMware's New Channel Chief Is Ready To Drive Services Revenue For Partners

VMware's Channel Has A New Leader For The Multi-cloud Era

Jenni Flinders, VMware's new vice president of worldwide channels, is no stranger to helping a large software reseller channel embrace cloud services and a recurring revenue model. During her time at Microsoft, she led efforts to get more than half a million partners to start their transition to the cloud.

After a stint leading a company that advises industry clients on their channel strategies, Flinders came to VMware last month, and she hit the ground running.

At the VMware Partner Leadership Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., Flinders introduced the VMware Master Services Competencies for cloud management and automation, data center virtualization, network virtualization, and desktop and mobility.

Before unveiling those new competencies on Tuesday, Flinders spoke to CRN about her plans for transforming the virtualization leader's channel and creating new opportunities for partners to monetize cloud.

What is your first big goal at VMware?

We're working to evolve and transform the way we look at the partner ecosystem—what routes to market we need to take and what capabilities our partners need to develop.

From a product divisions standpoint, things are just looking fantastic. So we're looking at how we can further enable our partner capabilities.

We're looking at value beyond the transaction. We're a very transaction-oriented solution. But with our advanced technologies, we have to look at value beyond the transaction.

That's where we're focusing right now as it relates to the next evolution of the VMware partner program.

You're rolling out four VMware Master Services Competencies. Why is developing services capabilities important for your channel?

We all know that services are hugely profitable for partners. And our advanced technologies are giving partners a great opportunity to deepen their practice models.

We're working with partners on how to monetize on the cloud by offering project-based services, advisory services, and managed services.

There is so much more for our partners to build a holistic value-chain to the customer. And the deeper the value, the longer-term relationship will be entrenched.

How will you enable partners who earn those new services certifications?

As we guide our partners down the services journey, some of the benefits we're going to focus this program around are on how we're going to help partners build services-enablement capabilities and priority access to the enablement program.

We'll do customer demand, making sure we promote the Master Services Competencies to our customers, including through badging and branding. Obviously, these will be preferential partners to us, and we'll help drive customer preferences and demand with our partner locator.

We've got to stay ahead of the curve with our partners. I'm looking for ways we can be leading-edge out there for the partner ecosystem.

What's your impression of VMware so far?

What I love is VMware is definitely partner-centric, which certainly pulls at my heart strings. For me it's an opportunity to look at how we double-down on VMware with our partners and grow the business together.

There's so much innovation that's being driven across this company. From a technology standpoint, the hybrid-cloud story is so powerful.

I'm going to be the [VMware] channel's greatest advocate and voice.