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5 Things To Know About The New VMware Partner Connect Program

Mark Haranas

Here are the five most important things VMware partners need to know about the new VMware Partner Connect program.

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5 Important Areas Of The VMware Partner Connect Program

VMware is changing the way it engages and incentivizes its growing channel community with the unveiling on Tuesday of the VMware Partner Connect, which will eventually replace all current partner programs.

“VMware is introducing a new way of partnering,” said Jenni Flinders, vice president and VMware’s Global Channel Chief, in an interview with CRN. “With this new program, we are making it very simple for partners to co-sell and co-invest with us.”

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization superstar announced the new program at VMware’s Partner Leadership Summit today. Flinders said partners played an ‘instrumental’ part in crafting VMware Partner Connect as the company worked side-by-side with various channel advisory boards when building the program.

Here are five things VMware partners need to know about the new program.

Competencies Are King

The new program will have three tiers: Partner, Advanced Partner and Principal Partner. A solution provider’s tier in the program will be heavily influenced by the number of Master Services Competencies and Solution Competencies under their belt. With the addition of VMware Cloud Foundation on AWS, VMware now has a total of five Master Services Competency: Data Center Virtualization; Cloud Management and Automation; Network Virtualization; and Desktop and Mobility.

“If you’re a partner and want to sign with VMware, you can start dabbling in our Solution Competencies and we’ll refer to you just as a VMware Partner. If you start achieving your Solution Competencies and start working toward Master Services, we’ll call you an Advanced Partner. Once you’ve received your Master Services Competencies as well as your Solution Competencies and those requirements, you’ll become what we are going to refer to as a Principal Partner,” said Flinders. “So Principal Partner is kind of where it’s at. It’s easier for us to promote you as being the best-of-the-best in a specific category. The more you invest and become a Principal Partner, the more you get to participate in the benefits of the program.”

Simplicity Is Key

VMware made a serious commitment when creating the VMware Partner Connect to make it simple to understand for partners. Partner Connect will eventually become the only partner program at VMware with partners needing to sign only a single agreement.

“The program we have today is multiple programs. It’s pretty difficult for partners to navigate and understand, it’s just been the way it has evolved,” said Flinders. “If you’re a partner today that is part of our VMware Cloud Provider Program and you’re also part of our Solution Provider Program, I know it’s not a good experience for the partner because it’s different requirements, different fee structures, different incentive models, different contracts, etc. What we’re doing is making it so much easier for you where you have a single agreement with us.”

Design For Any Business Model

The new program was designed to align to each individual solution provider’s business model. Partners can now specialize in a certain aspect of VMware technologies – such as hybrid cloud, network and security, application modernization, or digital workspace – without needing to fulfill other VMware requirements that do not align to a partner’s business strategy.

“Whether you want to specialize in hybrid cloud, network and security, digital workspace, multi-cloud, or you can choose to do more than one of them -- you get to pick your path and get to invest in specifically what you want to invest in. We’re no longer going to make you sort of pick other boxes too and things that are not relevant,” said Flinders.

She said partners will now have a clearer path to ROI and gaining specific capabilities to better “ignite” co-selling with VMware.

Incentives and Co-Selling

As partners invest and expand their level of capability and meet sales and consumption thresholds, they can earn greater rewards in Partner Connect, such as enhanced front- and back-end margin as well as deployment and consumption performance incentives. Partners who achieve the top Principal Partner tier-status will earn additional rewards around deployment and consumption incentives and receive prioritization for joint-business planning and co-selling opportunities with VMware.

“Through deployment and consumption incentives, we’re making so much easier to recognize the partners who are actually delivering those [lifecycle] value-added services,” said Flinders. “So from a benefits standpoint -- from deal registration to sales incentives to marketing developing funds, to deployment and consumption incentives, to co-investing in education to help our partners build capabilities – one of the most important things for our partners is co-selling. It’s like, ‘Let’s do the field engagement together. I want VMware to know I’m the best-of-the-best in this category. Let’s go win with customers together.’

Official Launch Timeframe: ‘Early 2020’

Flinders says partners need time to digest and understand where they fit inside the new partner program, which is why VMware Partner Connect will not officially go into effect until sometime in “early 2020.”

“We’re going to give partners a very clear roadmap of their current investment with VMware and how they then get integrated into the new Partner Connect,” she said. “We want to make sure we have a good process of onboarding them into the new program.”

Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at mharanas@thechannelcompany.com.

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