For many of VMware’s customers, digital transformation will remain one of their key priorities in 2017, and beyond. Whether that’s providing true mobile working to employees or delivering a Cross-Cloud Architecture that brings freedom and control to IT and competitive business advantages, the opportunities for our customers are endless. A key part of this is the VMware partner community, which is playing a vital role in making this a reality for our customers. As part of our ongoing series of partner blog posts, we spoke to Harvey Smith, Manager, UK & Ireland Strategic Partner Team at VMware about the opportunities offered by digital transformation in 2017.
‘Digital business’ is no longer a term that’s only relevant to a fraction of organisations. We are in a world where even the most traditional businesses are being disrupted by new entrants. For a number of our partners, this is old news. They’re already one step ahead of where their customers are in their digital transformation journey. But that means there are still customers and partners out there that are lagging when it comes to digital transformation.
The reality is that digital transformation tends to be driven by customers themselves in their search for innovation, productivity and improved competitiveness. That comes both from a decision maker level, but also from the users themselves. Businesses are realising they must have a digital strategy.
Partners need to look at how they’re positioning themselves in relation to digital transformation. In the new world, if partners don’t transform they won’t be relevant to their customers, and ultimately won’t be able to take advantage of the growing digital transformation opportunities.
The changing nature of the IT, business and channel landscapes means that partners who purely resell product aren’t in a position where they’re providing enough value to differentiate themselves from their competitors and if they don’t change they won’t be around in years to come.
Successful partners are those looking at their business and transforming it from the traditional pure reseller model to becoming a partner that resells solutions, but coupled with consultancy and elements of service provision. For example, one of our partners is offering disaster recovery as-a-service using VMWare vCloud Air, and wrapping additional services and value around this to complete the solution and deliver to their customers. Another UK partner is offering a software asset management service for customers, and is using vCloud Air, for one of their multinational customers, to host the service in the US so that they are able to comply with local data protection laws.
However, adapting to this new business model is something that a lot of our partners are grappling with. Some are just embarking on their digital transformation journey, and others are much further along the road. But wherever they are on this journey, those that haven’t started the transformation process will struggle to survive.
The key thing for partners to realise is that success on this journey comes from focus. Unless you’re a very big organisation, you can’t be all things to all people. You need to look at your expertise and experience and use this to inform which vendors and solutions will build your offering. Being focused means you can then much more easily communicate your value proposition to your customers and articulate the business value you can deliver. At the same time, you need to think how all the different solutions that you offer tie together, and what else you could offer to deliver a wider solution. For example, if you’ve specialised in delivering End User Compute solutions, then it isn’t a big step to offer Mobility solutions, but for your customers this could be a complete game-changer.
At VMware we want all of our partners firmly on the road to digital transformation, both for them and their customers. With our Opportunity Registration program Advantage+ we’re rewarding partners for delivering software-defined solutions, such as NSX, that are central to their customers’ digital transformation strategies. What’s more, we’re working with our Premier partners to help them build business plans for their digital transformation approach. This covers a range of things, from marketing to pre-sales enablement and messaging. We’re delivering next generation partnering to help those partners that want to offer our next generation, software-defined solutions.
If there’s one thing we want partners to realise, it is that what we did with server virtualization – allowing them to reduce cost and complexity, whilst increasing agility and flexibility – we are now doing with the public cloud – giving our customers the choice of where to place the workloads, and allowing them to easily move it according to their requirements. Our software-defined architecture is a central part of this, and means our customers can work seamlessly between on-premise and off-premise giving them the flexibility they need without compromising security, allowing them to more easily respond to changing business needs and provide innovation. What our partners need to do is ensure they understand this new approach, more importantly, the benefits it offers them and their customers.