Virtualisation giant VMware deployed an army of employees throughout VMworld Europe 2009, primed and ready to promote education and services as a way to fight the recession.
Held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes from 23 to 26 February, the event offered 150 sessions covering a range of topics from desktop virtualisation to datacentre management.
Partner Day alone attracted 1,500 attendees compared to 1,200 last year. In total more than 4,600 partners and customers were present throughout the week.
Paul Maritz, chief executive of VMware, said it was encouraging to see so many partners at the show in light of the economic downturn. “Despite challenging times, we will be investing,” he said. “This is the year for opportunities and a year where customers need to do more for less. For partners this is a core-value proposition.”
VMware highlighted the fact that services surrounding virtualisation are growing faster than the market itself IDC predicts that virtualisation services will total $9.7bn (£6.9bn) by 2012.
For VMware, that means for every $20,000 it sells in licence sales, partners can generate $225,000 in additional complementary services sold.
Carl Eschenbach, vice president of worldwide field operations at VMware, said: “Expand your services portfolio. Dig deep; we are in a fight this year with the economy and market competition. The next 12 months will see 12 bouts we will gain some bruises and some scars, but together with trust and integrity we will be standing and we will come out of this big fight with the big prize.”
He encouraged partners to close deals by offering more services. “You are an extension of our sales force, but more importantly an extension of our services opportunities.
“The number of partners that registered deals with VMware grew 402 per cent year on year, but the number of these that closed grew by only 325 per cent. It is great you are registering them, but offer those extra services to close them.”
Andy Hunt, vice president of the EMEA partner organisation for VMware, said: “New customers are important and we will be working on ways to touch more business, but we would like to see partners selling deeper into accounts this year.
“We rely on our partners and they rely on us to educate them on the services they need to drive deeper in businesses.”
Marc Groetelaars, director for the northern EMEA partner organisation, said 42 per cent of VMware’s business comes from its Advantage Partner Programme.
“We are looking to increase this as we are in a tough market that VMware and its partners jointly serve. Through partner education we would like to see partners closing the deals that they could not before customers want to see the return on investment (RoI) on paper instead of being bored to death with PowerPoint,” he said.
Groetelaars said partners can increase their knowledge of how to demonstrate RoI to a customer through the VMware’s Partner University, announced at VMworld Europe 2009.
Heading for the clouds
Chad Sakac, vice president of VMware technology alliance at EMC which majority owns VMware said the vendor held seven sessions throughout VMworld Europe this year, two of which were repeated due to demand.
“Our priority was VMware’s announcement of working towards the private cloud and we want to make sure we are the first choice for that,” he said.
Platinum sponsor NetApp used the show to announce the extension of its Virtualisation Guarantee Programme to include EMC, IBM, HP and Hitachi Data Systems.
Colin Fisher, regional director of northern EMEA at virtualisation management tools vendor Veeam, backed VMware’s call for partners to sell deeper into accounts.
“Your existing customers are the easiest people to sell to with the stamp of VMware we will be working with our partners to go back and sell additional products.”
Strength in numbers
Eric Pitcher, vice president of technology strategy recovery management at software vendor CA, said VMware is right to draw attention to the need for partners to focus on closing more deals this year.
The vendor recently launched an initiative for its partners to increase margins and encourage deal closures.
“Partners now get 10 per cent margin to start and 47 per cent in total if they close the deal with a CA product instead of a competitor,” he said.
Mel Wilks, virtualisation sales manager at VMware distributor Magirus, said partners attending the show this year were there to learn about generating more turnover and increasing margins.
“It was VMware’s first European VMworld last year and not all partners realised its relevance then. More attended this year as they want to improve in all areas and know if they do not get on board with education and services, they will be left behind,” said Wilks.
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