Getting to know our new VP of EMEA Channel Sales – Orla Ni Chorcora

Co-creating value to accelerate the customer journey to hybrid and multicloud platforms

Simon Downham
Orla Ni Chorcora
Getting to know our new VP of EMEA Channel Sales – Orla Ni Chorcora

Equinix recently announced the creation of a new Global Channel Organization to better align our partner objectives and bring our partner ecosystem together across all regions. Under the leadership of Jules Johnston, our Senior VP of Global Channel, we have welcomed three new vice presidents of channel sales: Orla Ni Chorcora (EMEA), Sophie Ben Sadia (Asia Pacific) and Kevin Thames (AMER).

In this Q&A series, Orla Ni Chorcora – in conversation with Simon Downham, Director of Partner Marketing EMEA – gives us an insight into her plans for building an Equinix channel for success in EMEA, and how go-to-market partnerships will bring value to customers through our global platform.

Simon Downham (SD), Orla Ni Chorcora (ONC)

SD: Can you please tell us a bit about your working life before you joined us?

ONC: I’m a language graduate by training but I fell into the IT industry about 26 years ago and never looked back. I worked for Oracle for 23 years in international roles, and also built out Oracle’s expansion plan for Africa. I am now delighted to have joined Equinix as VP of Channel Sales EMEA.

SD: And what brought you to Equinix, and why now?

ONC: There are two things predominantly.

Firstly, the industry is moving away from centralized networks to much more decentralized and distributed networks, and the global Platform Equinix® is uniquely poised to drive that transformation for customers all over the world. Secondly, our ambition to drive 50% of our bookings through channel by 2025 makes it a very exciting time to join Equinix and head up our EMEA channel efforts.

And lastly, I would add that the warmth, positivity and highly collaborative nature of Equinix really came through during the selection process, and was something that really attracted me to the company.

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SD: As a relatively new member of the Global Channel Organization, what are the key takeaways from your time here so far?

ONC: We are increasingly collaborating with other companies to meet the transformation ambitions of our customers. This is leading to some exciting partnerships with the likes of Dell and Orange, to give some examples, and to some very interesting Power of Three dynamics, such as the one we have with Oracle and Accenture in Spain. By Power of Three, we mean the creation of a mini ecosystem of companies, normally three or indeed more, to co-create value-added solutions for the end customer. It is clear that our new global structure will allow us to develop more of these go-to-market partnerships, allowing customers to take advantage of our global platform within and across regions.

SD: Our goal is to inspire a partner-first mindset, but can you describe the importance of partners to Equinix?

ONC: Partners are pivotal to our growth, which is why we aspire for 50% of bookings to come via partners by 2025. We are currently at about 30-35% globally and slightly higher in EMEA already, which is great to see. We want to co-create value and work with partners to build complimentary solutions that hinge on the power of Platform Equinix, extending reach to new logos and new sectors.

It is very important that partners join us on that journey, they are absolutely crucial to our growth and our success.

SD: What do you love about working with partners?

ONC: I love to work with like-minded organizations to build value that truly benefits the customer. I also love the fact that we are true partners. We challenge each other, learn from each other and build long lasting value for customers, together.

SD: So what’s going on in the Equinix channel currently?

ONC: We are aggressively activating our channel to accelerate the customer journey to hybrid and multicloud, combining the value of Platform Equinix with partner solutions.

So what does that look like? Firstly, we’re creating joint go-to-markets with partners by co-creating solutions across the entire Equinix platform. And secondly, we are looking to shape a more solution focused mindset with our channel that extends way beyond colocation. One that maximizes the highly interconnected nature of our platform and can give customers access to whoever they want, wherever they want.

SD: Great, all the right places, partners and possibilities. So, what are a few things that you want partners to know about?

ONC: I would really encourage all of our partners use the myriad of resources available. This includes structured planning processes, enablement resources, market insight, pre-sales support, quoting tools and the list goes on, all available in our Partner Central Portal.

SD: What are some of your upcoming priorities for partners in the EMEA market?

ONC: Continuing to co-create value with our partners via our joint go-to-markets is absolutely key.

We also want to increase partner awareness of the power and reach of Platform Equinix, including in areas with incredibly compelling ecosystems like Madrid, Zurich and Paris.

We also want to continue to evangelize partner solutions and their value within Equinix. And last but not least, underpinning our ambition to drive 50% of bookings to the channel, we will continue to make it as easy as possible for our partners to do business with us.

SD: So channel currently accounts for more than 30% of Equinix bookings globally with the stated aim of 50% in the next few years. How do you plan to achieve this with your team?

ONC: Such aggressive growth can really only come from collaborating with partners – such as network service providers, systems integrators, tech alliances and cloud service providers – to offer more complete services inside of Platform Equinix, to customers with the greatest need.

There will be a very strong focus on enterprise customers who are on the hybrid and multicloud transformational journey. And indeed customers in sectors such as media, entertainment and financial services, that need a high performance, anywhere dynamic in a highly secure manner.

SD: What excites you about the partner mix in the EMEA region?

ONC: We are working with top network service providers, such as Orange, Telefonica, Verizon and AT&T, as well as the hyperscalers, large technology partners and systems integrators like Accenture and Atos. They are attracted to the power of the whole Equinix platform and our ability to deploy at the edge at speed, in a highly secure way.

There is the opportunity for us to collaborate together in Power of Three or Power of Many type dynamics that drive immense value to the customer. I truly believe that it is the right time to work with all of these partners to develop that value and deliver it to our customers.

SD: Last question, tell us an interesting or fun fact about yourself that people might know.

ONC: Ah, well let me divulge a skeleton in the cupboard. When I was 17, and very much against my parents’ wishes, I became a street musician on the streets of Cork in Ireland, which is where I’m from. It was an incredibly intimidating thing to do, but once I did it I never looked back. It was incredibly enriching. I got to play music with people on the streets and meet people that I otherwise would not have met.

It became a springboard for me to go on through life and constantly push myself out of my comfort zone. So I’m very glad I did it.

SD: Thank you Orla, it has been great to meet you and to learn more about the Equinix channel for success for the EMEA perspective, I really look forward to working with you.

Thanks, Simon. It has been a pleasure and I really look forward to working with you and the team in the quarters to come.

Simon Downham Director, Partner Marketing, EMEA
Orla Ni Chorcora Vice President, Channel Sales, EMEA
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