VMware's John Donovan at EDGE 2015
ARN Hall of Famer and VMware's director of channels and general business, John Donovan, and senior product marketing manager, Aaron Steppat, took to the stage at ARN and New Zealand Reseller News' EDGE 2015 conference in Port Douglas, to discuss the changing role of the channel in an age of disruptive technology.
Donovan opened the presentation by discussing VMware's changing role in the marketplace, from that of a compute virtualisation solution, to virtualising everything in the datacentre and tying it all to Cloud.
"We're not just leaders in compute virtualisation, but the extension of that into the software defined datacentre. It's about looking at the virtualisation of those layers into the datacentre. That includes compute, networking, storage," he said.
As part of this, IT has rapidly moved beyond a technical discussion.
"The role of the channel is to create a much tighter relationship between you and your customers. You're not just suppliers of technology, you're suppliers of transformational technology that impacts business transformation as a whole," he said.
VMware is now the fifth largest software company in the world, with $US6bn revenue in 2014, 500,000 customers and 18,000 employees worldwide. In Australia, VMware has 700 active accounts, 6 distributor and aggregator partners, and 298 competencies held by partners.
A key focus of this has been the focus on the channel, which accounts for 97 percent of the company's revenue by volume, he said.
"Almost all of our revenue by value and by volume goes through the partner network. We've had a long standing commitment to working through the channel."
Now that IT is the key driver of business transformation, the role of trust and the leadership that helps bring, has been key. IT is now more personal than ever before. Customers feel a personal connection to the market, Steppat said.
Products such as Netflix, AirBNB and Uber, have removed the facelessness of IT. With new challenges, come new competitors, and the personal connections and the relationships that the channel make are now more important than ever before.
"When something goes wrong, customers will tell ten people. When something goes right, they'll tell two. Bad news travels fast, and feedback is now so important," he said.
The brave new world of IT is based around five key attributes. Customers want results instantly ("on demand") -- or else they go to Shadow IT (such as their own Dropbox), and the channel needs to be fluid.
"What I want on day one may not be the same as on day two, or even the next month," Steppat said.
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