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VMware Rallies Partners, Announces New Competencies

The day-one general session keynote at VMware Partner Exchange 2012, taking place this week in Las Vegas, began with a relatively low-key presentation to partners, but ended with a serious discussion about upcoming technology and strategy.

During his portion of the keynote, Scott Aronson, VMware's senior vice president of global channels and alliances, praised partners for their contributions to VMware's ever-expanding bottom line, but also implored them to do more. "You guys are 85 percent of this revenue," he said, referring to the company's 2011 revenues of $3.77 billion. "This is a great jumping-off point for the future."

Overall, some 4,000 attendees and 90 sponsors and exhibitors heard Aronson introduce new solution competencies, programs and rewards intended to bolster bottom lines while leading customers to new heights of success in the cloud era envisioned by VMware. For example, Aronson noted that partners with at least one solution competency sell, on average, two to four times more than their counterparts with no competencies.

He added that premier- and enterprise-level partners are being asked to achieve "additional solution competencies in order to increase their revenue, strengthen their strategic value to their customers and increase their competitive differentiation for delivering complete cloud computing solutions."

Despite an undertone of "What have you done for us, lately?" VMware also held out lots of carrots for high-achieving partners, primarily in the form of three new solution competencies. The first of those was Virtualization of Business Critical Applications, which was created to allow partners to provide guidance and solutions for virtualizing business-critical apps such as exchange, SQL, Oracle and SAP. The second new solution competency was Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which VMware believes will expedite partner sales and extend their expertise in VMware hybrid cloud solutions and services. The third addition was Management, and VMware sees this competency enabling and rewarding partners that help customers simplify and automate the operations of virtual and cloud environments via vCenter Operations Management Suite.

Revamped incentive rewards, including enhancements to the company's advantage+ and Solution Rewards incentive programs, make it possible for partners to double their 2012 incentives. Partners that register deals through advantage+ for net-new VMware customers will become eligible for a new back-end bonus rebate, and partners with solution competencies will be eligible for a first-time sales bonus rebate when they sell a new solution outside the Infrastructure Virtualization solution competency to an existing customer for the first time.

VMware also announced new programs for consulting partners and partners focusing on SMB sales; partner recognition for OEM sales involving partners such as Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu Technology Solutions, HP and IBM; and the recently introduced VMware Solution Exchange. The company also announced a Partner Rewards Incentive Management Platform, which provides partners "easy-to-use dashboards and reports for tracking and managing their financial awards achieved through the new advantage+ and Solution Rewards incentive enhancements."

Overall, Aronson cited a wide range of positive results from VMware Partner University, many successful solution competencies and good news linked to sales accreditations, technical certifications, vmLIVE and the company's Solution Track and TechExpress.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz then took the stage and told his audience, "We have a fault because every four years, we say things are changing as never before, but we are in the midst of the most profound change I will see during my business career." Maritz went on to say that both customer and employee experiences are changing, citing the arrival of the "millennial generation" that feels, because it has become so connected to technology, that it is entitled to nothing less than the most advanced tools and IT resources on the job.

"If you cannot deliver this, you will not be successful in the future," he declared.

On the customer side, Maritz mentioned a supermarket whose management told him that they need to touch their customers before they reach the checkout counter through such technology as inferred links that measure how long customers stop in any given area and what products they evaluate while they are there. The goal seems to be pushing products without any overt actions.

Maritz said VMware is dedicating itself to products and services that will revolutionize front-end and back-end environments so that customers can optimize their computing lifestyles without worrying about underlying technologies.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.