Channel partner programs, Channel partners, Virtualization, Channel technologies, Virtualization

VMware Revamps Partner Program for Multi-Cloud Future

More channel companies will be adding managed services to the portfolio of services they provide to customers to meet increasing demand in the marketplace. That’s according to Tracy-Ann Palmer, VP of global channel sales programs at VMware.

Palmer spoke with ChannelE2E about VMware’s new unified channel program, a major revamp of what the company had offered up until now. More on that in a minute.

The Managed Services Marketplace

Palmer said many of VMware’s advisory services or consulting services partners are now looking to build managed services practices as part of their businesses. It’s part of a larger change in the market as more companies move from on-premises software and more companies move from buying software to using SaaS and subscription services.

Palmer said she believes there will be a massive expansion of managed service providers in the market to meet demand for how customers want to buy, and then a massive consolidation of those companies as they merge and are acquired. This expansion and consolidation will happen over the next 5 to 7 years, Palmer said.

“Today, they may be a solution reseller, but tomorrow they may also be a managed service provider,” Palmer said. “When we did an analysis of our top 1000 partners, we discovered that 90% of them were in two to three business models.”

How has VMware Partner Connect Changed?

VMware today is rolling out the next evolution of its VMware Partner Connect program globally, designed to fit the new way organizations consume technology -- software as a service (SaaS) and subscription -- and also designed to fit how partners themselves are changing to meet the needs of those customers.

The virtualization software company embarked on the journey to evolve its channel program in 2020, according to Palmer. That’s when she joined the company to help assess the existing channel program and pivot to the modern marketplace.

The new VMware Partner Connect program for the company’s 28,000 channel partners unifies VMware’s previous program which was made up of different programs for different partner business models. For instance, resellers might be under one program and MSPs might be under another program.

“We now have one program that supports where a partner is and where they are going,” in terms of business model, Palmer said.

By bringing all the partner types together under a single program, VMware is hoping to deliver a simpler experience that will help partners themselves transition to as-a-service/subscription models and expand their business models.

Updates to the VMware Partner Connect program include the following:

  • Unified, flexible points-based program: Because it’s now a unified partner program, it’s also a universal point system.
  • Rewards partners investments and capabilities: Track-specific criteria rewards programs with incentives and benefits as they grow their VMware practices and progress in the program. Partners can earn points for achievements in training and innovation.
  • New automated insights: A new partner dashboard provides a self-service experience that enables partners to customize views so they know where they stand across program metrics. Partners can track history, performance, and progress towards capabilities, specializations, and next level availability.
  • Expanded practice development: VMware Ignite, the partner practice activation and development program that VMware funds on behalf of partners, is now available to all partners across all routes to market. Ignite requires a greater commitment from partners.

“The most amazing thing we’ve done is that everything is integrated,” Palmer said. “The dashboard shows what you need to get to the next level.”

There’s plenty more information about the points and levels of the new VMware partner program here.

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis is editorial director of CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert, MSSP Alert Live, and ChannelE2E. She has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the intersection of business and technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor where she was one of the original editors running the MSP 501.