In a move that places all of its virtualization eggs in one distie basket, Citrix is dumping its other North American distribution partners – including Avnet</a, Alternative Technology and Tech Data – in favour of an exclusive arrangement with Ingram Micro.
Citrix has about 1,900 partners in North America, and to be fair, only about 120 aren’t doing business with Ingram already – though many go through multiple distributors (about 75 per cent of Citrix sales go through distribution).
Some partners may not be thrilled about this move – after all, the distribution channel is all about choice. But Citrix doesn’t think it’s going to be a problem.
The vendor believes, with an exclusive partner, it will be able to create a more focused approach to the market. This approach will include the Ingram-Citrix Smart Enablement Program, which will reward partners for Citrix purchases with credits that can be used for certification courses and end-user demand generation programs. Ingram will also provide additional resources, including marketing tools, technical support, business development, licensing specialists and field deployment sales engineer and product specialists.
Could we start to see this kind of exclusive arrangement more often? This certainly isn’t the first time – and won’t be the last – where we see vendors reevaluate and shift alliances. And that’s fair enough. If an alliance isn’t working anymore, or a vendor doesn’t want to spread itself too thin with a specialized or complex technology, it may make sense to review those alliances.
Citrix says the changing needs of customers and markets makes it the right time to align with a distributor best positioned to help drive recruitment, build better programs and drive demand generation marketing.
But its former distribution partners have helped build the Citrix business here in North America, and they may not agree with that statement. While they haven’t made any public comments on the matter, they can’t be all that happy about it – particularly if they’ve spent time and resources building their virtualization practices. They’ll probably put more focus on other virtualization vendors, which in the end could be a big benefit to VARs.
Virtualization is big business for distributors right now, and all except Ingram are going to be losing out on a big piece of that virtualization pie (Citrix reported revenues of US$392 million during its last fiscal quarter). For Ingram, however, it’s a sweet deal.
But nothing is forever, and this arrangement could end up changing too. After all, if Ingram doesn’t produce, then that exclusive arrangement won’t stay exclusive for long.