Andrew Wilcock

Doug Woodburn
clock • 6 min read
Andrew Wilcock

Name: Andrew Wilcock

Role: Vice president, ecosystems, UKI, IBM

Spirit animal: Manatee

Walk-on song: Don't Stop Me Now

How would you summarise your company's channel philosophy?

IBM's partner ecosystem is a multi-billion-dollar growth engine for IBM and our partners, in which we work together to address our clients most complex challenges and business needs.

The number of ecosystem partners generating revenue with IBM's hybrid cloud platform has increased by more than 70 per cent over the past 12 months

As hybrid cloud and AI continue to move into every aspect of business transformation, clients increasingly demand more specialised solutions and services expecting faster time to value - more efficiently and tailored to their preferred way of engaging. Often these needs cannot be fulfilled by one vendor alone, so partnership is increasingly important. The IBM partner ecosystem has become a critical element for IBM not only to meet client needs, but also to reach new markets and deliver growth.

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

The IBM ecosystem encompasses partners of all types, digital marketplaces, developers, and more; creating solutions together to address the most complex challenges in business and society, with hybrid cloud and AI, and securely.

IBM is making significant investments in our partner ecosystem, as we continually refine the way we work and co-create with partners to give them greater opportunities to drive revenue and deliver customer value. Whether they build, service or sell with IBM technology, we strive to give partners the best levels of support, resources, and expertise to help them get to market faster and grow their businesses more profitably.

How many partners do you work with in UKI

Across the UK and Ireland we have over 200 partners with whom we collaborate regularly to support our go-to market engagement. Of course we have a much larger number of partners who work with us on an opportunistic basis and many more are just beginning to develop their skills around our portfolio.

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

The number of ecosystem partners generating revenue with IBM's hybrid cloud platform has increased by more than 70 per cent over the past 12 months. We continue to expand our ecosystem with those partners who share our vision of hybrid cloud and AI and who have the skills needed to create compelling solutions. For those partners looking to develop the requisite skills, we have a rich enablement programme to help them get to where they want to be.

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

The changes we have made to our PartnerWorld programme over the past two years are the biggest to IBM's go-to-market model in a very long time. We are investing $1bn to support this and simplifying the way we work and co-create with partners.

We want to be essential to our partners, and that means delivering a consistent, rewarding partner experience for companies of all types, with differing needs, as well as with market-leading support and enablement.

The changes we have made to our PartnerWorld programme over the past two years are the biggest to IBM's go-to-market model in a very long time. We are investing $1bn to support this and simplifying the way we work and co-create with partners

Describe your perfect partner?

An ideal partner is one with whom we have, or are able to create, synergies between our organisations which enable us together to bring value to end customers. We also place a premium on openness and integrity in our relationships.

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

We see a significant growth opportunity for partners who are investing in technologies which help clients with their digital transformation journeys. More specifically, we encourage partners to invest with us in developing their IBM competencies across automation, security, data, and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

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

Partners are rapidly embracing new ways of working together in servicing client needs. While technology is continuing to evolve and the need to foster greater collaboration increases, our programmes will need to evolve too, to help facilitate partners working together and delivering value for clients.

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

Ultimately, we want to grow with our partners through successful client engagements. To achieve this, we will continue to simplify how we engage with partners, making our programmes more attractive and reduce the time-to-value for organisations which choose to partner with IBM.

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

The changes we have made to IBM PartnerWorld over the past few years are designed to enable every kind of partner to derive greater value from working with IBM, regardless of whether they build solutions with IBM technology, provide services to clients using IBM technology, or sell IBM technology solutions.

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

While situations may occasionally occur, we always work with the parties concerned to ensure that our client needs are met, and our partners receive the appropriate recognition. Our focus to streamline our go-to-market is helping to minimise this and open more opportunities to work with partners.

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

Integrity is of paramount importance in every relationship IBM has.

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

We are always looking for ways to improve and recognise partners who create value in different ways, as they sell, build and deliver services around our technology.

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

Even more co-creation opportunities and examples, where we can showcase the best of our ecosystem and the best of IBM technology in front of the clients to help solve their business challenges.

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

It is a very rewarding and broad ranging role. One of the challenging aspects is how we move with more speed as we execute the IBM strategy - both with IBM and with our ecosystem partners. I feel we have a clearly defined strategy and one that is resonating in the market with our clients.

Tell us something about yourself most people won't know

I was a chorister when I was much younger!

What is your spirit animal?

The manatee - which is a symbol of evolution and transformation.

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

Don't Stop Me Now by Queen. It's about moving forward, moving with speed and having some fun along the way!

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