Why I attend Empower. And why you should too


EMPOWER ONLINE Europe is coming! This three-day, partner-only online conference will be held on 10-12 May 2021, and is a must for every partner (distributor, partners, service partners of VMware).

Not only we say this, but others are convinced as well. Someone like Thierry Vandenberghe, technical presales consultant at distributor Tech Data. In daily life, he is responsible for technical support in the sales process and looks at what the best solution could be for certain projects. Below he gives a few reasons why you should register for EMPOWER 2021.

Yes, there is a big difference with VMworld
It’s a comment you hear often: “Yes but, we already go to VMworld. What’s the difference?” Indeed, these are two VMware events that take place annually. They are also events where VMware announces various novelties or collaborations. But that’s largely where the comparison ends.

Whereas at VMworld anyone can attend – from end users, analysts and media to distributors – VMware Empower is specifically set up for partners and distributors. This also ensures that you get dedicated content – while at VMworld you hear more general announcements. At EMPOWER, VMware is already giving you a glimpse of what’s to come. You’ll get more and deeper insight into the strategy and product roadmaps for the coming year.

Sessions tailored to the partner
Another point of comparison to VMworld are the sessions. During the three days, you can watch sessions live. The difference is that the content of the sessions is all tailored to the partners. You can subdivide them by topic: App Modernization, Multi-cloud, Anywhere Workspace, Virtual Cloud Network and Intrinsic Security. You can fill your agenda based on the topics, but you can also subdivide them by session type.

  1. General sessions: in these sessions the C-level of VMware will give their vision on various topics. This year for example ‘Partners leading Change’ or ‘Transformative Partnerships’. But I am very curious about the session ‘Cybersecurity from a hacker’s perspective’.
  2. Technical sessions: these are sessions where you can hone your technical knowledge more on a product level. In the content catalog that is now live, you can find the necessary sessions per topic. I am especially looking forward to the various sessions on Intrinsic Security.
  3. Sales sessions: this includes information on how to position a solution in the various themes (including all the advantages and trade-offs with the competition), but it also includes a section on licenses and how to spot an opportunity. You also get tips in the sessions on how to drive conversations to generate sales and how to assess whether that customer/prospect is okay with a particular product.
  4. Marketing sessions: as a partner, marketing is important. Here, for example, VMware gives an overview of the campaigns that will be activated in the coming months. Interesting sessions at this time are definitely “Dodging Digital Fatigue in Your 2021 Marketing” or how to score well on LinkedIn (Digital Best Practices – Marketing on LinkedIn)
  5. Hands-on labs: are well known and appreciated in the VMware community. They are practical sessions with guidance and interaction (including a scripted pdf) that quickly walk you through the solutions. Staying in the theme of Intrinsic Security, I would recommend ‘VMware NSX-T – Getting Started’.
  6. Livefire sessions: This is what I personally look forward to the most. These sessions can sometimes take more than half a day. They are high end partner training sessions (deep dives) with lots of personal interaction if you wish. I will already have the session ‘Intrinsic Security: It’s Time for a New Approach’ on my agenda.
  7. Sponsored sessions: of course, it is always interesting to find out what partners from the VMware ecosystem, such as Intel and Oracle, are going to improve in terms of collaboration in the future.

It remains a networking event
The mere fact that you can network with peers gives such events their right to exist. It adds value for both the distributor and partner, and it also opens up possibilities for networking with colleagues who are facing the same challenges. Okay, this might be a bit easier during a physical event, but after a year of working from home, webinars and video calls, we’re used to it and we know the etiquette to reserve a time slot.

The ‘home advantage’ of EMPOWER online
Going online offers other advantages as well. For your employer, it means no travelling time and costs. Moreover, EMPOWER is free online, enabling more colleagues to participate.

One of the biggest advantages of the online event is that you can easily review all sessions afterwards. You can also follow two interesting sessions directly after each other. This is not obvious at a live event because the first session can run late, and the second session takes place at the other side of the building. They are also available for a longer time than the event, which makes it a little easier to fit it in your schedule. My experience is that you also attend more sessions at an online event.

If I may give a tip: book the sessions you want to follow into your agenda and block all other notifications (from mail, cell phone, etc.). They can be distracting, or your colleagues may think you’re working and contact you anyway, making it harder for you to concentrate on the session.

4 takeaways
Finally, I would like to mention four takeaways that, in my opinion, perfectly summarize why you as a partner should not miss VMware EMPOWER:

  1. The quality of the content offered is very high
  2. It’s 100% partner-focused (so the message is clear and straightforward)
  3. You get help, basic material and tips & tricks for your marketing approach
  4. To build your sales pitch, you discover what questions to ask and what answers to give to customers

Register today for EMPOWER ONLINE 2021

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