Reinventing the VMware Partner Experience for 2022 with the Cloud-Smart Ecosystem

The past year has been one of change and challenges for partners everywhere. As technology advances and our ecosystem evolves, we know our partners are adapting and evaluating where they will make their next investments in growth. We believe we will make 2022 our breakthrough year together, and I’m excited to share a glimpse into our partner strategy.

Multi-cloud is the future, and the future looks extremely strong. Yet while multi-cloud offerings are the future, they do come with increased complexity. This requires greater collaboration between customers, partners, and VMware—collaboration that is also an opportunity for partners to lead the way in delivering customer-for-life value.

VMware is becoming more interdependent with our partners as we move rapidly further into the multi-cloud era. No one can sell or deliver value alone. Now is the time for us to capitalize on these changing dynamics. We are building a more strategic ecosystem that maximizes the value of our interconnected network and enables success for all types of partners and business models. But our partnership is not simply about making promises. It is about providing roadmaps with clear commitments.

Our focus is on meeting partners where they are, building and restructuring our programs, processes, and resources to allow us all—VMware and partners alike—to capture the opportunities and adapt to the new realities of our new digital landscape. We see our future as having a partner-led, profit-driven, ‘cloud-smart’ ecosystem. We think our partners will like how the VMware ecosystem teams are stepping up so we can seize this opportunity together.

The Cloud-Smart Ecosystem

What do we mean by ‘cloud-smart’ ecosystem? What does that mean for partners? The Cloud-Smart Ecosystem is a combination of strategies, programs, processes, and resources that enable partners to accelerate growth, expand capabilities, and capitalize on exceptional revenue opportunities. Most importantly, it’s a system that can expertly leverage customer-first strategies to deliver customer-for-life value.

At VMware, we’re keenly aware of the need to align with our partners’ unique go-to-market (GTM) strategies, offer immediate value, and create the freedom for partners to do what is right for their business. The Cloud-Smart Ecosystem is not a promise and it’s not a blueprint. It’s a plan we’re executing on now that empowers our partners’ services and unique solutions without competing with them. We’re unleashing greater value without locking partners into any single way of doing business. The Cloud-Smart Ecosystem comprises three pillars of commitment from VMware:

  1. Building an unrivaled partner experience. We are working to remove the friction points that hampered past success. We are aligning to partners’ future business models and delivering enhanced partner experiences to make it easier to do business with VMware.
  2. Driving strong customer outcomes. Customers are sophisticated and demanding. They require solutions that propel their businesses forward, and VMware solutions and partners provide exceptional ‘customer for life’ value.
  3. Leveraging the VMware ‘multiplier effect’. Combining a multi-cloud strategy with our partner strategy amplifies the ways in which partners can grow with VMware.

Unrivaled Partner Experience

Stronger profits go hand in hand with better processes. To address some of the challenges of the past, we are developing a unified program framework within Partner Connect. Setting up partners and their customers for success requires a strategy that is transparent and easily executed. It must be rooted in customer needs and driven by technology changes and business dynamics.

That’s why we’re realigning our business model structure based on how partners do business across all routes to market. With this change we can better support advisory and professional services partners, managed services providers (including Telco partners), and solution builders (including our alliance partners and ISVs). This new approach will provide more flexibility for partners to operate in multiple program tracks and a predictable path for progressing through program tiers. This transformed business model structure is the foundation for the evolution of Partner Connect, which will begin rolling out this unified framework in early 2022.

We are also finding ways to address the unique GTM challenges of scaling SaaS sales models in a multi-cloud world. These challenges include complexity in transaction models, pricing, and programs, as well as unpredictable profitability. VMware is making significant investments via our Partner Universal initiative to provide consistent and predictable SaaS and subscription GTM options, which in turn enable enhanced profitability for all partner business models.

Driving Strong Customer Outcomes

At VMware, we believe our portfolio is singularly positioned to create exceptional value for customers, from the data center to the cloud to the edge and back. To clear the way for partners to make the most of their customer relationships and investments in VMware, we are expanding opportunities to deliver services that leverage their expertise with VMware technology and their deep understanding of their customers’ needs, and we’re creating messaging and marketing assets for our solutions that speak to those needs rather than the usual ‘speeds and feeds’.

We have anchored this effort on our business model realignment, structured around how our partners do business supporting the traditional—as well as more automated—resell motion, advisory and professional services motion, managed services, and solution builders. This alignment offers partners flexibility, inclusivity, differentiation, and predictability.

From there, we will implement clearly defined rules of engagement. We’re committed to enabling partners to take a lead role in providing services to customers, and we will begin establishing targeted partner accounts where we want our partners to lead.  

Tied to our Cloud-Smart approach is a focus on delivering customer value—not just driving transactions.  With this in mind, we’re delighted to launch a new Customer Success Competency in early 2022, with initial accreditations available now at Partner University. This creates a model of shared IP and customer success data that is tied to incentives, and you can start working on the foundational accreditations for this competency today.

In addition, our Ignite practice development programs are expanding with the introduction of Ignite Scale, offered to all partners at no charge and providing prescriptive methodologies proven to drive services and customer engagements across the customer lifecycle. Ignite Scale will be delivered as a self-service model, to be consumed at partners’ own pace. Further improvements and new features are on deck for launch in early 2022 for other Ignite programs as well, including accelerated paths to capability and practice development for MSPs, Telco and services partners.

We’ve also put a significant focus on co-innovation. We are introducing a collaborative process called Solution Labs, which highlights our focus on co-innovation and produces customer outcomes that are aligned to use cases and industry segments. The Solution Labs initiative is designed to help our partners grow their practice areas and market segments with VMware capabilities. In addition, more resources will be added to the Solutions Hub to accelerate partner solution innovation.

The Multi-Cloud Multiplier Effect

In addition to the abundant opportunities presented by multi-cloud, we believe the VMware offers a potential ‘multiplier effect’ for partners. The myriad opportunities throughout the multi-cloud customer lifecycle mean that partners can pursue many paths to growth and profitability, including through solution expansion, professional and managed services, and partner-to-partner collaboration. We are developing tools to provide insights into profit margin profiles for partners to help them invest in business models that lead to smart growth and maximize their profits.

Another piece of the multi-cloud multiplier effect is marketplaces—offered independently by VMware, hyperscalers, and distributors alike. We recognize that it is critical to offer customers a simplified choice as they research, try, buy, and consume solutions. Marketplaces are a clear GTM winner for VMware, offering our partners immense opportunities to tap into large consumption commitments that customers have negotiated with hyperscalers. We activated commercial transactions through AWS Marketplace in 2021, and we expect to bring VMware to Azure Marketplace and Google Cloud Marketplace in 2022. We are also enhancing the VMware Marketplace to be a one-stop shop for application builders, expecting to triple our user base in the coming year.

Clear Commitment to Success

Partners are the lifeblood of VMware’s business, and our Cloud-Smart Ecosystem strategy can succeed only if we build it together with our partners. We are taking bold actions to deliver more value, expand investment opportunities, and provide a better partner experience. With groundbreaking technologies and strong partnerships, there is no limit to the growth we can all achieve. I could not be more excited about building the Cloud-Smart Ecosystem with our partners, and the great partner program features and benefits we have lined up for our partners and customers in 2022.

To learn more about our 2022 ecosystem strategy and the exciting improvements we’re planning, register now for the January 13 vmLIVE with Tracy-Ann Palmer, VP of our Partner Program and Experience Organization.

Sandy Hogan
Senior Vice President, ​
Worldwide Partner and​ Commercial Organization


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