In an Exclusive Interview with DQ Channels, Manish Alshi, Director, Partner Sales, VMware India and Pradeepto Dey, Director – Strategic Partner & Alliances, VMware India talked about VMware’s new and simplified partner program – VMware Partner Connect. How it will empower partners with the flexibility to meet customers’ needs, making VMware technologies and services opportunities more accessible.
Tell us about the newly launched Partner Connect Program.
Manish Alshi: Partner Connect re-imagines the way we do business with all our partners. The important aspect is threefold. Firstly, this program has been derived and conceptualized to understand what’s working and what’s not. The construct of this new program is to deliver these things – Simplicity in terms of the partner with us, Choice in terms of the markets or the program that they want to follow the needs of their customers, and Innovation. We’ve been on an innovation scheme that kind of forms the crux of our DNA, which leads to organic product development or product acquisitions as well.
Also, the flexibility to the partners to choose the model that is most appropriate for their core competence, so that they can optimize their offerings to the customers and maximize their profit. The whole idea was to give them a very clear path to profitability and also ensure that the more they invest in VMware, the return on investment for them from a business profitability perspective is directly proportional to that as well.
How the Partner Connect Program is different from the previous program.
Manish Alshi: One of the key differences is that it eases out the interaction of our partners with us. Under the ages of the unified contract, the partners can choose their business models and their ways of working between going to markets and also upcoming solutions to their customers. Earlier based on geographical distributions, based on solution areas and based on the markets, there were different programs. We have tried to put everything under one umbrella just to ensure that our partner spends the least amount of time on their administration teams and spend the maximum time in front of their customers, trying to survive their business needs, so that’s a key difference between where we were and where we are now.
Are there any changes in the partner ecosystem as well?
Manish Alshi: From the partner ecosystem perspective, it has been an evolving process continuously. The different pillars of our partner ecosystem revolve around solution providers, distributor’s strategic partners such as the systems in Eurasia and the OEMs as well as our alliance partners. There are the new breed of partners, which are also onboard, which could be cloud-native partners born in the cloud partners as well and that’s something which again becomes an integral part of the ecosystem. But from a programmatic perspective, nothing changes it just kind of gets wider and deeper in terms of the way partners deal.
What are the different reward programs for the Partners?
Manish Alshi: VMware Partner Connect offers three reward tiers: Partner, Advanced Partner, and Principal Partner. Principal Partners will be the most capable partners to help customers identify and implement the ideal VMware solutions. As partners achieve Principal status they will earn comprehensive rewards including deployment and consumption incentives. Being a Principal Partner identifies you as the go-to partner for VMware as we drive joint business planning and develop co-selling opportunities. All partners will be expected to demonstrate basic capabilities through the achievement of solution competencies. All partners will receive deal registration benefits, and as they expand their level of capability and meet sales and/or consumption thresholds, they will earn greater rewards including development funds and front and backend margin opportunities. Partners will be recognized and rewarded as they invest in and achieve Solution and Master Services Competencies, aligned to VMware’s key strategic IT priorities, and contribute to customer success and achievement of business outcomes. VMware continues to encourage partners to invest in MSCs to gain capabilities today and to prepare for high placement in Partner Connect.
In terms of training programs for the channel partners, will they remain the same as the training program that VMware was providing? Or are you also planning to get some more training programs?
Manish Alshi: The current access to our entire knowledge about our partners is through a portal called partners central. Along with the launch of partner connect, the partner central itself is undergoing a huge revamp and we are making it much more accessible and much more integrated as compared to what was there before.
With the newly launched program on February 29, the new partner central would also surface for access to the partners. With regards to the training programs, we have a series of support which is available within partner central, under the umbrella of something which we call as the partner university, which we will use to create our own internal sales organizations and to ensure that they are transparently shared with the partners as well through the partner university.
Highlight VMWare’s new alliances and feedback from the partners on the Partner Connect Program.
Pradeepto Dey: As a part of the partner Connect program, we have something called MSD. The master competencies that actually enable partners to focus on specific technology solutions that they want to be beamed or seen as experts with them. The entire stream actually enables our services competencies which are part of the program offering. In fact, the other thing about the large alliances that are really excited like the global enterprise or the global William, or any of these large partners is the fact that they have always had a 360-degree partnership with VMware, which means they are no serving just as the same partner, they are also a managed services partner and strategic outsourcing partner at the same time.
For example, IBM cloud or Led magic, they are also our cloud partners. There is this one umbrella program called Partner Connect, which encompasses these routes to market and a very simple for all these large parcels to align their objectives, towards the consumer through VMWare. Through the partner connect program, you can actually attain some of this expertise through the MSC or the microservices competency and then really go out there and tell the customer that they are the VMware experts in a given technology.
Manish Alshi: The feedback and their response to this change from our partners have been really encouraging. Things that have been consistently highlighted by a multitude of partners is the administrative aspects has been ruled of out the system completely. It offers a lot of administrative ease that gives them the flexibility to choose the route to market on their choice, stick to core competence. This whole idea has been well received by the partners.