Citrix Summit: Vying for partner mindshare

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Happy Victoria Day! Hopefully the Queen will forgive me, but I’m spending the day in Southern California at Citrix Summit, the vendor’s annual partner conference. The user conference, Citrix Synergy, gets underway Wednesday.

I had a chance to sit down yesterday with channel chief Tom Flink to get an update on Citrix’s channel and a preview of what we should expect this week. Most of the news came two weeks ago with the launch of two new cloud programs — Citrix Solution Advisor and Citrix SaaS Advisor. The week will mainly be spent discussing the new programs and general direction with partners, and providing  lots of opportunities for in-depth training and certification.

Here’s a few bullets from our conversation:

  • Flink said Citrix is making a big pivot towards mobility, and the vendor is going to be very specific in the way it discusses that. It doesn’t mean doing anything different with regards to its core strengths – desktop virtualization, application virtualization, networking, cloud orchestration – rather, Citrix sees all those core strengths as part of the infrastructure necessary to enable cloud services and a mobile workforce. “We’ll spend a lot of time talking about what that means; what is mobility, management of devices, delivery of applications and desktops, it’s all part of a comprehensive approach to mobility,” said Flink.
  • Citrix had made a number of acquisitions in recent years, most notably Zenprise last December. Flink said Zenprise had a channel program but it was relatively new, so its partners were brought immediately into the Citrix program. They were doing over 50 per cent of their business direct; with the integration of their products with Citrix’s portfolio last month, 100 per cent of the Zenprise business is now through the channel.
  • Overall, about 86 per cent of Citrix revenue comes through the channel. The other 14 per cent is primarily direct business in North America, and includes Subscription Advantage revenue that the channel is paid a commission on. Outside of North America, t95-97 per cent of Citrix revenue is through the channel.
  • Building services capacity in the channel is a key priority for Citrix, said Flink, who feels there’s more demand there than they can meet today. They’re addressing that by making the partner tiers more differentiated; Silver will be a bit less rich, but Platinum partners will have more opportunity to earn greater rebates and incentives by investing more deeply with Citrix in training and certifications, and driving more business. “Partners say they’re tapped-out on the services front, billing close to 100 per cent. We need technical expertise capacity in the channel because the demand is out there,” said Flink. “We believe by putting the incentives toward the top tiers of our channel we will encourage our partners invest in more certifications.”
  • The top program tiers will no longer be invitation-only. Rather, qualification will be based on a combination of certifications and overall revenue, more fulfilled and influences.
  • Tiers will no longer be regional, but instead will be country-based. So while previously, a Citrix partner may have been Silver in Ottawa and Gold in Montreal, now they’ll be Gold for Canada based on the highest level achieved.
  • All of what Citrix is doing in the channel, said Flink, is about vying for greater mindshare with partners. “I know most high-value partner reps can really proactively sell three to give things. They can take orders for lots of stuff, but to actually go out and pitch solutions, to listen to customers, identify needs and match solutions, it’s three to five things,” said Flink. “We want to make sure a salesperson in our average VAR or solution provider is thinking about our solutions.”
  • One piece of news – next year, Summit and Synergy won’t be consecutive events. Rather, next year the partner event will be held separately, in January as part of Citrix’ sales team kickoff meeting for the new fiscal year. While partners will still be encouraged to attend Summit with their partners, Flink said by combining Summit with the sales event partners wll have access to sales and technical resources that don’t usually attend Synergy. Summit 2014 will run Jan. 12-15 at the Peabody in Orlando.

Citrix Synergy and Summit continue through Thursday.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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