New Citrix Platinum tier requirements don’t sit well with top Canadian partner

ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Before Citrix Systems’ recent reforms to the Platinum tier of its partner program, the vendor had two Canadian partners in its top tier – IT Weapons and Gibraltar Solutions. Now it has three more — Bell Canada, Compugen and Softchoice – which means some necessary changes in how those legacy partners go to market.

In a series of changes designed to build more services capacity in the Citrix channel by making investments in certifications more profitable and attractive, Citrix recently dropped the invitation-only requirement for the Platinum tier of its program and made qualification based on a combination of license revenue and certifications held. It also tweaked the rebate and margin levels to make growing license revenue more profitable for Platinum partners.

“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 Citrix worldwide channel chief Tom Flink. “We believe by putting the incentives toward the top tiers of our channel we will encourage our partners invest in more certifications.”

The new program is necessitating some adjustments by IT Weapons, a CDN Channel Elite Award winner that was invited by Citrix to join its Platinum tier in Canada eight years ago, and was one of just two Platinum partners in the country until the recent changes.

CEO Ted Garner said that IT Weapons has had to adjust because it has been focused tightly on implementation, rather than volume of license sales. That implementation focus is why they were originally invited to join the Platinum tier, but he said the new program values pure revenue and license sales over the intangibles associated with implementation, and building deeper, lasting customer relationships.

“We were one of two platinum partners last year; now we’re one of 18 (each partner location counts as one),” said Garner. “That unique thing of being Platinum is gone. We need to have a new conversation about how we’re execution-focused, not like Bell or Softchoice.”

IT Weapons CEO Ted Garner
IT Weapons CEO Ted Garner

Garner said Citrix was good in letting IT Weapons know these changes were coming about 18 months ago, so he’s been focused on “turning the boat around” for some time and he’s hopeful they’ll maintain their Platinum status.

“We had to add a parallel focus on locking in revenue, which is mainly RFP stuff, just responding to tenders and trying to buy licensing revenue, but we don’t want to  mess up any of our core philosophy,” said Garner. “We’ve made significant progress and doubled our number in the last year or so.”

Obtaining Platinum status isn’t just based on license revenue; certifications are also a requirement. That’s something Garner would like to see examined more rigorously as part of the Platinum requirements, ensuring partners truly have those skills on their staff full time.

“You shouldn’t be allowed to subcontract if you don’t have the skills. We would shine as we have all the skills; we don’t subcontract,” said Garner. “I’d like to see certifications proven. Lots of companies are just the technical arms of companies that sell licenses. It’s incomplete.”

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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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