VMware PARTNER EXCHANGE — Virtualization and cloud software juggernaut VMware kicked off its annual partner conference today in San Francisco with a flurry of program announcements designed to help solution providers better serve customers and reduce administrative overhead.
Come May, the company will no longer require partners to declare which program they want to join, allowing them more room to roam around the VMware partner ecosystem until they get to know the market landscape. The change was just one unveiled this week by the company, which is preaching a message of consistency, predictability and greater profitability this week.
“Since August, we have looked at all aspects of our partner program from benefits perspective, requirements and more," said Toni Adams, vice president of global partner marketing at VMware. “We saw room for optimizing. We asked ‘how do we onboard partners faster so partners reap benefits more quickly?’ ‘What is the engagement model, etc.?’ This exercise led us to create some of the enhancements you’ll see at the event."
Specifically, VMware has created a new "Enrolled tier," which will allow new partners to join the VMware Partner Network, receive training, and then select the program that best suits their business focus, according to the company. In addition, the company has created an early-adopters program for partners looking to pursue new opportunities around VMware NSX and VMware Virtual SAN technologies. It will be named the “Elite Partner Initiative" and be limited to a few select partners.
VMware also unveiled new program competencies and a simplified reward structure on Tuesday. Beginning in May, for example, VMware will offer a new Cloud Provider Solution Competency and vCloud Hybrid Service Solution Competency.
The changes bear the fingerprints of Senior Vice President Dave O’Callaghan, the one-time Cisco executive who joined VMware as head of channels and alliances in May 2013. He’s borrowed some of the best of Cisco’s partner philosophy and blended it with his own ideas to help make VMware’s partner program one of the most progressive and popular in the industry. Today, the program boasts more than 75,000 partners worldwide.
This week, more than 4,000 of them, along with several hundred ISVs, developers and analysts, have gathered in San Francisco to see the latest from the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, which has been on a roll of late. Last month, VMware reported year-end sales of $5.21 billion, an increase of 13 percent over 2012. Earnings, meanwhile, topped $1 billion, a 36 percent jump over 2012.
With momentum behind it, the company has moved to buy new companies to enhance its capabilities. Recently, it announced that it will acquire AirWatch, an enterprise mobile management and security company. This follows a previous decision to buy Desktone, an early Desktop as a Service (DaaS) cloud innovator.
At the partner event, the company provided an update on some milestones that underscore enthusiasm for its products and technologies. They include:
- Approximately 275,000 individuals from VMware Partner companies received training in 2013.
- Nearly 30,000 individuals have completed accreditations toward achieving at least one solution competency.
- More than 110,000 individuals have earned a VMware Sales Professional (VSP) accreditation globally.