VMware's new point-based program 'makes a lot of sense' for A/NZ partners

VMware's new point-based program 'makes a lot of sense' for A/NZ partners

The evolved Partner Connect program features a new framework to align closer with cloud services growth and solutions-centric business models.

Ricky Cooper (VMware)

Ricky Cooper (VMware)

Credit: Supplied

Partners from Australia and New Zealand have welcomed VMware's revamped partner program, which sees projects tracked by a points-based system for the first time. 

The evolved Partner Connect program features a new framework to align closer with cloud services growth and solutions-centric business models.

The new iteration will also see the removal of the annual program fee, the integration of benefits and incentives and the introduction of scaled payouts aligned to program levels.

It notably also includes a points-based system, one that has been adopted – and dropped – by other technology vendors, that will determine a partner’s progress in the tiered program and then reward them for creating value through performance and capability activities.

Progression in the program will be based on the new points system rather than a complex mix of IT pathways. This means focusing beyond simply reselling and instead encompassing the whole customer lifecycle, something that former VMware channel chief Sandy Hogan previously flagged was at the core of its new partner strategy.

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.

Ciaran Roche, CTO at Sydney and Singapore-based Coevolve, said the new points-based tier structure “makes a lot of sense”.

“I think there’s a strong incentive there for partners like us,” he said.

As part of the program, a new self-service dashboard will 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.

Roche said that although he had only seen the dashboard in presentations so far, “there is value in having that visibility”.

Roche added that he was hopeful that the new program will reflect changes that he wanted to see from the old program, noting that he had provided feedback to VMware around how the old program had not necessarily been well set-up for a global, “but not necessarily massive scale organisation” like Coevolve.

“It looks like this iteration [of the program] should be able to be a more positive outcome for partners like us where we need to get clients equipment or subscriptions activated in, you know, the 81st or 82nd country down the road,” he said.

“There's going to be more of those big global deployments, so for us, that's really what we're looking for in the partner relationship, is that ability to transact across that number of different geographies and have it be a smooth process for everybody involved."

Jon Waite, GM of cloud technology at Datacom, also noted that the partner program “has always been really good, particularly the cloud provider part of that".

"It’s an easy way to engage with VMware to get upskilling for our people and to consume the latest technologies," he added. 

Waite also said he "doubted" that the new tier structure would disadvantage the New Zealand-founded IT services provider. 

Ricky Cooper, VP of worldwide commercial and partner organisation at VMware, said that feedback from around 20 partners trialling program has given the vendor plenty of time to refine the program.

While the previous program was designed around resale, “the new partner connect model gives us the ability to pay our partners across the whole lifecycle,” Cooper said.

He noted that this focus on services has been a particular point of interest from partners so far.

Cooper sidestepped any questions about the impending Broadcom deal and its potential impacts, saying: "All we’re focused on is what’s in front of us today and what our partners are asking of us today.”

He emphasised that the current focus is on nailing down their partner strategy, remaining agile and understanding how to best cater to ever-changing partner business models.

“It’s the first time I think in a while that we’ve actually got clarity on what our partner strategy is," he said. 

VMware APJ vice president partner and commercial sales Uma Thana Balasingam said previously that "flexible payment invoice options" would be at the core of the vendor's partner strategies going forward. 

“We really want partners to be able to drive subscription and software-as-a-service (SaaS) pay-as-you consume transactions and take the lead in that," she said. 

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.

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 will also become 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. 

Claudia Muldrew attended VMware Explore 2022 in San Francisco as a guest of VMware.

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