Cloud services model gives Citrix channel new route to market

Santa Clara, Calif. — With a new cloud services delivery model, virtualization software and appliance vendor Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) is leveraging the channel to drive deeper into the small and medium-sized business market than ever before.

Citrix has always been strongest in the high-end of the market, where its application and desktop virtualization solutions, as well as its network optimization tools, scale well across large enterprise deployments. In Canada, that means a strong presence in financial services and in the Alberta oil and gas sector said Fernando Campo, Citrix’s vice-president, Americas, at a Citrix media briefing. While Citrix primarily takes the enterprise space direct, it relies on its channel partners from the mid-market down into the SMB.

Going into 2011, Campo said the primary focus for Citrix and its channel will be around desktop virtualization, with growing customer demand.

“It’s a space we’re very excited about and we believe we have the best offering,” said Campo. “We’ve been doing desktop virtualization for 20 years, whatever you call the product, and XenDesktop is very much built around those technologies.”

Citrix sees the cloud playing an increasingly important role in driving desktop virtualization adoption.

“We don’t see the cloud as an end customer but rather as a route to market that will continue growing,” said Campo.

And it’s a route to market Citrix increasingly sees the channel embracing. Campo said Citrix reseller and solution provider partners that would once do on-premise installs of Citrix offerings for customers are increasingly embracing a cloud service provider model that sees them providing those same services not on premise, but through the cloud.

“Citrix solution providers that are going to provide access to Citrix technology in a subscription model in a way that the capital investment for the customer is much lower, and they don’t have to do any operational management themselves because someone is doing it for them,” said Campo. “We see that as a big aggregation-point for the SMB as a go to market for us.”

Some Canadian partners have already embraced the model, and Campo said Citrix is also in conversations with several large Canadian telcos interested in broadening their services portfolios.

Citrix has launched a cloud service provider program to help support this go to market said Tom Flink, Citrix’s vice-president, worldwide channel. It’s designed to help partners build a business that delivers applications and desktops as a service with Citrix technology to their customers, and bill the customer on a per user, monthly subscription basis. They can deliver it as a service that’s all their own, and wrap in their own value-added services and support. Both smaller MSPs and larger telco models are supported.

“The end user customers are the service provider’s, not ours,” said Flink. “But we did some research and surveys, and we found that within the application and desktop as a service market, 95 per cent of the end user customers were people that had never done business with us before. We’re reaching net new customers.”

The overall channel has helped drive strong growth for Citrix in Canada, said Flink. In fact, he said the Citrix channel in Canada grew faster than the company did itself overall in 2010, and it was a pretty strong year for Citrix worldwide. In 2011, Citrix isn’t looking to add capacity but rather help its current partner base do more.

“We’re very focused on the partners that have grown their experience and expertise with us, and we want to continue to grow and invest in them through our core channel,” said Flink. “We’re investing in our channel, we think it’s strong. We think we have the right partners and we’ll continue to move forward with them.”Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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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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