VMware has evolved its Partner Connect program featuring a new framework to align closer with cloud services growth and solutions-centric business models.
A flexible ‘points-based system’ has been introduced that will determine a partner’s progress in the tiered program and reward them for different ways they create value, including both performance and capability activities.
Progression in the program will be based on the new points system rather than a complex mix of IT pathways, focusing beyond ‘resell’ and encompassing the whole customer lifecycle, something that former VMware channel chief Sandy Hogan previously flagged was at the core of its new partner strategy.
The levels include Community, Select, Advanced, Principal and the new ‘Pinnacle’ which promises greater financial benefits and VMware engagement, including managed account coverage, joint business plan development, and access to big bets programs.
Partners will have until March next year to get on board the new program, which will continue to see additional capabilities and enhancements down the track.
Additionally, the evolution of Partner Connect is also recognising multiple business models under a single program including solution services, solution builder, cloud solution provider, and solution reseller.
VMware APJ vice president partner and commercial sales Uma Thana Balasingam said the changes were reflective of what VMware was witnessing in its ecosystem around cloud, services and solutions-centric business models, expanding beyond the ‘resell’ factor.
“In the past 24 months we saw a massive shift in the way that partners are addressing customer needs,” she said. “We recognise that partners are part of a wider alliance, provide non-transactional influence and the retention roles they play, means it’s no longer about the IT channel, but it’s now about an ecosystem that’s focused on a customer-for-life value.
“That was the key consideration in designing this new framework, which is based on our own observations and feedback from a series of engagements with partners across Asia Pacific and Japan in the past two years.”
Balasingam said it wanted to provide a framework that encouraged performance and capitalises on the prospect that partners can’t deliver value on their own.
“The changing dynamics and how partners are looking to capture opportunities provided by the cloud economy, it really requires building and leveraging an interconnected network that enables success for all types of partners,” she said. “We see the future as enabling a cloud smart ecosystem and the demand for collaboration between partners has never been higher.”
Balasingam also pointed out some of the main differences between the previous program and the new iteration was removing the annual program fee, integrating benefits and incentives, while introducing scaled payouts aligned to program levels.
A new self-service dashboard will also provide partners with visibility into where they stand in the Partner Connect program, helping them keep track of their progression, incentives earned, competencies achieved and other valuable telemetry for managing their VMware business.
“We’re really giving them capabilities, additional visibility into their business with us but also their business with customers so that they can deliver value across the lifecycle,” she said.
“Having the framework and the construct of the program is one thing, but then giving our partners the tools to be successful is equally important and so you're going to see a huge amount of commerce capabilities that we're announcing that are already now live for example, the channel purchase pay, were partners are able to offer flexible payment invoice options.
“We really want partners to be able to drive subscription and SaaS pay-as-you consume transactions and take the lead in that.”
A new Partner-Led Customer Success Specialisation has also been introduced, giving partners three options to execute customer success where they can pick to build their own comprehensive offering through the Specialisation, collaborate with VMware on Customer Success activities, or resell VMware Success 360.
Balasingam hinted that a new managed service specialisation along with ‘vertical’ focused specialisations such as finance and healthcare, were also on the horizon.
“We continue to invest heavily in partner capabilities and how we help partners develop that,” she said.
VMware has also launched the Go-To-Market Play System (GPS), which provides defined solutions with unified enablement and incentives to increase value and reach, as well as digital marketing support.
VMware Ignite is also becoming more broadly available to partners, offering a practice activation and development program with structured paths to build capabilities across technical, sales, services, and marketing functions; access to training and VMware experts to support sales and practice development.
The new VMware Ecosystem Solutions Partner Studio, which includes Solutions Lab and Solutions Hub, empowers partners to create and co-innovate on use-case-focused solutions to drive partner growth and global market differentiation.