Andy Corcoran

Doug Woodburn
clock • 6 min read
Andy Corcoran

Name: Andy Corcoran

Role: UK and Ireland channel sales director, VMware

Spirit animal: Chimpanzee

Walk-on song: You'll Never Walk Alone

How would you summarise VMware's channel philosophy?

VMware prides itself on delivering a Cloud-Smart Ecosystem to create customer-for-life value. The company is transforming its ecosystem to become truly customer-first, partner-led and outcomes-driven. That's a real differentiator - seeking to create relevance and value for each customer that engages with us to help them grow.

We're currently going through significant changes in our business model, as we move from a SaaS-based model to subscription

Tell us about VMware's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…

Our partner programme is flexible and collaborative, enabling partners to build and combine multiple business models, in whatever ways makes sense for them. We focus on outcome-based solutions, while allowing partners to provide value across the entire customer lifecycle—empowering influence, deploy, and consume mindsets.

How many partners do you work with in the UK?

We regularly transact with 800+ partners across the UK and Ireland. We also actively look after four distributors in the UK and Ireland, who do a great job of steering that long tail of partners with us.

Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?

We're currently going through significant changes in our business model, as we move from a SaaS-based model to subscription. Having seen other companies undertake this transformation previously, we know that going forward, we'll need a different type of partner to support the business as it transitions to that new model in the multi-cloud world.

Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?

Over the next few quarters, we will continue to focus on our Execution Priorities which may lead to change. These include our partner-led services motion for influence, deploy, and consume, embedding VMware into the DNA of partner solutions with scaled GTM and driving consistent multi-cloud buying models and automated selling motions. We'll also continue to modernise a unified GTM aligned to partner business models.

Describe your perfect partner?

In one word, flexible. Every single vendor needs the flexibility of the partner to make sure that we engage with the customer exactly as they want to engage with us. That's the power of the channel - it's always given VMware the reach. The perfect partner is one that has a similar philosophy to us around putting the customer first but is able to pivot in order to serve different customers in the ways they want.

Our modern apps portfolio (VMware Tanzu) is going to a key discussion point with our partners for the year ahead

In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?

Our modern apps portfolio (VMware Tanzu) is going to a key discussion point with our partners for the year ahead. For partners to address customer requirements for this new digital-first world - while making it easy for customers to operate in the multi-cloud environment - they'll need to adopt a technology that's flexible to morph to the requirements of the customer. The Tanzu portfolio is simple and allows customers to develop their platform easily in that way.

How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?

Traditionally, we've seen customers and partners engaging on more of a project basis. This fitted the perpetual model, where hardware was delivered for a 3-5-year term. Now, good partners are constantly in touch with their customers to make sure that the delivered technology resolves their given problem/challenge.

In the cloud consumption world, you need to have a partner base that can drive continuous engagement with the customer. It's so much easier to switch out technologies in a cloud ecosystem, so channel programmes should evolve to incentivise partners to sustain those continuous touchpoints. Incentives for partners at VMware are geared towards this, who are rewarded throughout the lifecycle of consumption.

In the cloud consumption world, you need to have a partner base that can drive continuous engagement with the customer

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

Our biggest priorities will lie in preparing the channel for the move to the subscription capability that's coming for vSphere. Moving that platform from SaaS will be a big change. We want to ensure   we best prepare partners during this shift and help them understand how to effectively adopt vSphere services.

Do you feel VMware is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?

These are the exact type of partners that we're looking to engage with. Do we cater for them today? Absolutely - we have a programme geared to support those partners as well as others. But we're moving much further into that environment today than ever before, with a Partner Development Management team specifically focused on these stakeholders.

Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?

It's very rare that we come up with a circumstance of direct channel conflict.

Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?

In one word - loyalty. It's the pinnacle of the relationship that you build with a partner, but you can't secure loyalty without showing other traits along the way. If you don't have honesty, you can't build trust. If you can't build trust, you don't get loyalty. Equally, lack of honesty is typically the source of a communication breakdown.

Our programme delivers profitability, and we can prove it. Our work with IDC highlights a potential 15:1 ROI for their services investment.

How do you feel VMware's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?

Our programme delivers profitability, and we can prove it. Our work with IDC highlights a potential 15:1 ROI for their services investment.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one aspect of your channel performance or strategy overnight, what would it be?

To invest even more in people who can drive the power of the channel forward and support the distribution business more.

What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?

Keeping up with the pace of change that our partners go through and see, for sure. It's a constant refresh of vibrant, youthful people coming into the channel environment, and I look at some of the sales makers and feel old! Keeping pace with it all can be a bit of a challenge but is equally the best thing about the channel - it's always evolving.

Tell us something about yourself most people won't know

I'm a reformed workaholic… Take from that what you will 😊

What is your spirit animal?

I think my spirit animal is a chimpanzee - fun and a good laugh.

What would be your walk-on song, and why?

As an avid Liverpool FC fan, I'd have to say the anthem, ‘You'll never walk alone'. It's the song sung during some of the greatest triumphs I've witnessed, and is one I won't forget.

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