Programmatic initiatives to back trending areas is something VMware is telling partners they can expect to see more of in 2016.
The VMware Partner Professional Services Program, which was originally announced back in February at VMware Partner Exchange, has now launched globally. It represents what the company says will be a concerted strategy of investing more in emerging technologies and programs to support them.
“We are launching this new VMware Partner Professional Services Program for those whose model revolves more around professional services, and doing it separate from the traditional partner program,” said Donna Wittmann, Executive Director, Commercial and Partner Sales, at VMware Canada. “It’s a really unique program, and one of the biggest recent investments we’ve made.”
Focused on partners with a background in selling and delivering software-defined data centre solutions, the program provides dedicated solution architects whose role is to assist partners in building these practices.
“It also provides VMware training and validated designs, and a full cycle of customer sales support,” Wittmann said. “We also provide reverse shadowing, where our architects will ride along with partners when they call on customers.
When the program was originally announced, the timeframe was that it would be available to a limited number of pilot partners in the first half of FY15, and that the pilot would expand in the second half of FY15. The program has now gone into general availability.
“Starting in 2016, it will have a registration component as well,” Wittmann said.
In Canada, Wittmann said they expect to have between 10 and 20 partners eventually in the professional services program.
“Two Canadian partners were in the program pilot, and we expect others will be interested,” she said. “Many partners have been asking for this.” VMware Canada has hundreds of partners on the roster, with 17 falling into the “go-to” category, she added.
Wittman also stressed that more initiatives like this will be coming in 2016.
“We consider this is a groundbreaking services-focused program,” she said. “In 2016, we will be making more moves to reward partners who have invested in emerging technologies. You will see programs evolve there, and Partner Professional Services is the first step in that direction.
“We are looking for forward-looking partners creating industry-specific services that solve customer business issues,” Wittmann added. “That’s why the professional services program will be a critical enabler to making that business model transformation.”
Network virtualization is another cutting edge area for VMware partners today.
“We are seeing new partners emerge around NSX, our virtualized network platform, which helps solve really complex security problems,” Wittmann stated. “Non-traditional VMware security partners are very interested and coming on board. We expect that a key part of network virtualization will be this security use case. Security has been identified as one of the most important things for customers. We are highly encouraging partners that if they don’t already have a security practice, to either build one or partner with another solution provider to address this. NSX can be a key component of that, and a very nice add-on to security ecosystem vendor partners like Palo Alto and Checkpoint.”
Wittmann said that in conjunction with a partner, VMware Canada recently held a free training session around NSX on security, and it was heavily oversubscribed.
“People with traditional networking backgrounds are clamouring for training here,” she said. “They see that virtual networking is where networking is moving, a software-defined approach to networking.
“Software-defined has become mainstream over the past year,” Wittmann added. “We now have over half our revenue coming from emerging technology solutions.”
Wittmann said that partners are recognizing this shift, as well as the necessity of changing their sales processes.
“There is a recognition now of the importance of calling on lines of business, rather than just on IT only,” she said. “Every partner I talk to is transforming internally. The new world is all about applications and sales teams are working to understand customers’ critical new applications. VMware is assisting here by actively sharing its methodology for business outcome selling with partners.”