VMware has expanded its Partner Connect program aimed at driving growth for partners delivering solutions to customers in a multi-cloud era.
The evolved program offers enhanced flexibility, efficiency, “faster and simpler” paths to progression, incentives, and rewards for partners’ performance and capabilities.
“Through Partner Connect, we are reinventing the VMware partner experience,” said Tracy-Ann Palmer, vice president of Global Channel Sales Programs and Compliance at VMware.
“Our strategy is for every VMware partner to own the customer lifecycle end-to-end, leading with services, partnering with others, and building predictable, recurring revenue streams.”
Updated platform and partner business models
Aiming to increase partner-to-partner collaboration for greater customer success, VMware is introducing four business models within its new program. Partners can engage in one or more of these models with the potential to earn more incentives and faster progression.
The business models have been identified as solution reseller, solution services provider, cloud services provider, and solution builder, with the assurance that partners will be supported regardless of their choice of business model and go-to-market strategy.
The cloud provider has set its sights on optimising partner profitability by expanding support for business models centered around cloud, services and solutions, aligning partner enablement, practice development and incentives to business outcomes, as well as create value across the entire customer lifecycle.
A key update to Partner Connect is the consolidation of all programs and activities into one universal point system which “recognises, aggregates, and rewards” partner accomplishments across transactions, service delivery, capabilities, and specialisations.
VMware has also modified its partner dashboard, overhauling it to provide a “robust, self-service experience”. Partners will have increased visibility of their performance metrics, including their history and progress around their capabilities, specialisations, and next-level availability.
In terms of partner rewards, track-specific criteria will determine incentives and benefits for partners as they develop their VMware practices and progress in the program. Partners can earn points for achievements in training and innovation, from “foundational capabilities” to “differentiated services and IP”.
Previously, partners could only progress through the program with tier credits earned through transacted bookings. With the new structure, non-transacting partners registered as solution services providers can advance in the program by earning performance points for influenced bookings, whereby customers are offered services before and beyond the transaction, with an emphasis on pre-sales advisory and post-sales lifecycle services.
Meanwhile, incentives under the revised program are aligned with VMware’s Cross-Cloud services to support partners in their move beyond transactional sales towards “high-margin, repeatable” sales.
The vendor has created an “incentives historical tracker” for partners to review their total payout in previous quarters to gain an understanding of where they can maximise profitability and identify potentially missed opportunities.
Three types of incentives will be available to qualified partners. Firstly, the Sell incentive is a backend rebate program designed to reward eligible partners who sell Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), subscriptions and licensed software.
Additionally, VMware revealed that SaaS and subscription sales will enjoy two to ten times higher payouts than licensed bookings.
Secondly, the Activate incentive focuses on partners who provide professional services to customers who transition to a public cloud and adopt VMware’s Cross-Cloud services.
Lastly, partners who accelerate their customers’ digital transformation with specific VMware solutions for application modernisation and multi-cloud will receive the Deployment incentive.
Extended training initiatives
As part of efforts to equip partners for success, VMware’s partner practice activation and development program – Ignite – will be made available to partners across all routes to market.
Funded by the vendor, Ignite seeks to “build capabilities and accelerate growth” via its end-to-end practice development framework designed to be “rigorous and time-bound yet flexible and robust”.
VMware also doubled down on its commitment to partner training with its offer of 14 Solutions Competencies, 8 Master Services Competencies, and two Specialisations for partners to attain in order to close “larger, higher margin” deals faster.
Partners can also earn capability points toward program progression based on their investment in training, competencies, and certifications.
Drawing on multi-cloud opportunities
According to VMware, the updated program comes at a time when organisations are looking for a “cloud smart” approach and partners are presented with an opportunity to help customers accelerate application migration, automate and secure the software supply chain, and advise on spending on private and public cloud infrastructure.
VMware affirmed its ambition to work with partners to tackle market challenges by supporting critical business outcomes such as “accelerating app modernisation, enabling enterprise cloud transformation, and securing the hybrid workforce”.
“IDC is seeing a transition in the market today, where for customers it’s not just about digital transformation, it’s about digital first. This continued evolution will drive changes in how the VMware partners engage their customers, where and how they create value, and how they interact with an increasingly connected ecosystem,” explained Steve White, IDC’s vice president of channels and alliances.
“The transformation we see VMware delivering in the Partner Connect program is a recognition of these macro trends. By bringing everything together under one VMware program with a more simplified experience, VMware can help partners transition to as-a-service/subscription models, expand their services portfolios, and better leverage their investments to the fullest.”