Nutanix Partner Program Sees More Changes, Vendor Touts ‘Channel-Led’

We quizzed channel head Dave Gwyn about the additions, and the language around Elevate.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

October 2, 2023

9 Slides

The next iteration of the Nutanix partner program has arrived.

As Nutanix continues its shift from selling physical appliances to offering only software (on a licensed subscription basis), the company keeps changing Elevate to align more with the cloud computing era. As such, the latest version of the Nutanix partner program landed in late September — perhaps, not coincidentally, a couple days after the vendor delivered positive growth projections to Wall Street. (Also not coincidentally? As end users raise eyebrows around the pending acquisition of VMware, a Nutanix rival, by Broadcom.)

Those forecasts are critical for Nutanix and its partners. During last year’s final quarter, rumors started abounding that Hewlett Packard Enterprise would buy the struggling company. Nutanix had recently enacted another round of layoffs (4% of its workforce, or 270 people) amid unfavorable financial results. A couple months prior to those job cuts, channel chief Christian Alvarez left the company, and longtime company insider Dave Gwyn took over the role. Alvarez departed two months after spearheading the rollout of new incentives. Then, Nutanix last December debuted a referral program, but that was the last major update the Nutanix partner program received.

Until now.

The company, intent on its mission of deploying hyperconverged infrastructure – much like VMware vSAN, HPE SimpliVity, Dell VxRail and other providers do, too – has revamped Elevate, the Nutanix partner program. The changes come, Nutanix says, as organizations pursue digital transformation, data-driven insights, AI and the cloud. (They also are timed to coincide with the start of Nutanix’s 2024 fiscal year.)

But translating buzzwords into revenue poses the real challenge. Nutanix hopes to do that with its new approach — channel-led selling.

Perhaps this change comes as a reaction to industry projections. Research firm Canalys (an Informa company), for instance, predicts that, this year alone, partners will drive more than 70% of IT spending.

Nutanix Partner Program: More to the Story?

But perhaps there’s more to the story as well. Of late, more vendors seem to be emphasizing their dedication to a “partner-first” model (drawing ire from peers). This raises questions about their true commitment to the channel, especially at a volatile economic time when, to assuage antsy investors, companies can – and do – pivot strategies in a hot second. This can leave partners in the dust (something that has happened in various sectors of the channel many times over the years).


Nutanix’s Dave Gwyn

The new Nutanix partner program now contains language that prompts that kind of exploration. According to the company’s Sept. 28 blog announcing additions to Elevate, changes include “a revamped incentive structure and channel-led selling motions that empower partners with deal control throughout the sales cycle.” That includes a new rebate incentive paid for winning deals with “select accounts” (per Nutanix).

Given that Nutanix has switched up its channel specifics several times over the past four years, we sat down with Gwyn, senior vice president of worldwide channels and customer success, to get more information.

See the slideshow above to learn more about the updated Nutanix partner program, straight from Gwyn.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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