Toni Adams is responsible for VMware's global partner marketing for the channel, alliances, system integrators, service providers and independent software vendors. "My role is to help them accelerate their accounts. So from a priorities perspective, we look at the entire engagement life cycle," said Adams, who held a similar role at Symantec Corp. before taking his current position. "We're at the front end of the funnel, looking to generate demand. We're making sure they have the right materials at the right time in order to accelerate the life cycle." The company recently added several new marketing programs that build on its existing VMware Partner Central, a portal that houses assets for partner digital marketing efforts in addition to training, product information and sales tools. The latest offering, PartnerLink, allows the company's 55,000 partners to create their own digital communities. "Like most vendors, we're providing 99% of the information to partners, but we're hearing very little back," he said. "We want to know what they are implementing, what support issues they are having. PartnerLink gives us a way to encourage two-way discussions." There are already 3,800 active PartnerLink users who can access about 20 VMware-managed public groups and 168 private ones. The communities can be created and categorized by location, product, customer segment—anything that might help partners sell better, Adams said. VMware employees monitor and join the conversations taking place in the communities. Partner Powerplays, a marketing program currently in the pilot stage, gives resellers access to enablement and demand-generation materials that focus on solutions that incorporate partner marketing.