Citrix outlines four go-to-market channel objectives

SAN FRANCISCO – During its annual Citrix Summit Partner conference held here, company executives outlined four objectives the company wants its partners to lead with as they go to market to help grow their businesses this year.

Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix, announced that this year’s Summit is the company’s largest so far, with representatives from 600 partner companies in attendance.

Al Monserrat, senior vice-president of global sales and services at Citrix, said last year, while the economy was in a downturn, Citrix experienced growth across its XenServer (25 per cent), NetScaler (14 per cent) and Branch Repeater (11 per cent) lines, year over year. The company also grew its net new customer base by 22 per cent for XenDesktop in 2009.

This year, Monserrat said the company has outlined four objectives as part of its go-to-market strategy, which it will be carrying out with the help of its channel. These include, Citrix’s virtual computing, leading with desktop virtualization, cross-selling with networking products, and engaging with Microsoft.

Channel partners can tell customers the virtual computing story, which is a competitive market differentiator, Monserrat said.

“Citrix is about users and technology,” he said. “It’s about getting applications and information to end-users so they can be the most productive possible. These two are becoming more separate, but through virtualization, we bring them closer to connect people together through any device, anywhere. Delivering this message will help differentiate yourselves from other competitors in the industry.”

On the desktop virtualization-front, Monserrat says this is what customers are interested in and “this is where the money is.” Partners should be prepared to take the Citrix XenDesktop 4 solution to customers, especially since Windows 7 will be a huge driver towards this too, he added.

Along with leading with desktop virtualization solutions, Monserrat says partners should also cross-sell networking products such as NetScaler, Branch Repeater and Access Gateway to realize more profit opportunities.

Lastly, Monserrat encouraged partners to further engage with Citrix in its virtualization alliance with Microsoft. Together, the companies have more than 215,000 joint customers and 100 million users, he explained.

With added investment from Microsoft, who announced an extended technology collaboration with Citrix back in March, Monserrat says the alliance is a “game changer” and will help partners to “accelerate their desktop virtualization efforts and expanded Citrix business.”

“Microsoft is building an overlay team and we’re doing the same,” Monserrat said. “With $1 million in proof of concept funding, new tools, training programs, customer roadshows and regionally-focused partner initiatives, we’re making it easier for you to service our joint customers.”

For Gerald Danais, owner of Winnipeg-based Danais Technologies, a computer consulting and network services provider, and also Citrix partner, the extended partnership between Microsoft and Citrix means good news for his two-year old start up company.

“From a partner perspective, this is good for us because now Microsoft will now be saying the same message as Citrix,” Danais explained. “This gives us credibility with our customers since the message is being repeated by the two vendors, which means a lot to our clients.”

Todd Hsu, president of Montreal-based THConsultants, a platinum-level Citrix partner, said the solidified alliance between Microsoft and Citrix will help bring in net new business for his company, as well as will help ensure that sticky relationship with existing clients.

Another Citrix executive who took to the Summit stage yesterday was Tom Flink, vice-president of worldwide channels and emerging product sales. Flink said partners should start thinking about cloud computing, if they haven’t yet already.

Flink referenced a stat found by Gartner Research, where by 2012, 20 per cent of all businesses will own no IT assets.

“Change is coming our way in the industry and I encourage partners to start building out their services portfolio,” Flink advised. “Also, build out your competency in integrating on-premise and off-premise solutions. Position yourself as a virtualization advisor, because this is how you’ll position your value, and also, get closer to your customers by looking at opportunities to train and grow with them.”

Increasing activity in managed services and support will also be a key factor in helping partners ensure they maintain that “sticky” relationship with their customers, especially in the SMB space, he said.

With more than 8,200 partners around the world, Flink said the company is dedicated to helping partners increase their productivity by 10 per cent and to also increase the number of transactions they do with the channel by 10 per cent.

Closing off his keynote, Flink reminded partners that the company launched Syndication last fall. This provides partners with content for their Web sites and also offers built-in lead capture information.

Flink also discussed the importance of demoing equipment to customers.

“Demos are your strategic weapon and how you can show your customers the power of desktop virtualization,” Flink said.

As part of this, the company announced the availability of its Virtual Computing Demo Center, which is a high-performance, cloud-based offering that helps partners prepare for a demo and provision it in a virtualized environments. To start, the company is offering up to 250 partners per quarter, a 90-day free trial of the system, through until June 2011. After the 90-day period is up, Flink said partners can use their MDF or Coop funds to help pay for the offering. In order to use the Center, partners must have the XenDesktop certification and participate in an online training session.

To help partners earn more margin in the XenDesktop space, Flink also said partners can take advantage of the trade up promotion for XenDesktop 4. As part of this, Citrix has increased its margins by up to 50 per cent on new customer deals that involve XenDesktop. This promotion is good through until the end of June, he added.

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