CHANNEL PARTNERS — Take it from Citrix's Calvin Hsu: If you want to know how to deliver on the promise of cloud, get to know what your customers want their technology to do.
And Hsu, vice president of product marketing for Citrix and the keynote speaker at today's Spring 2013 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, should know. He created the XenDesktop and XenApp, virtualized platforms that represent more than $1 billion in revenue for Citrix. That means companies are using the products because they meet a need. And that's how channel partners need to think, especially as they work with the SMBs who are proving to be the key adopters of cloud technologies.
To that point, while enterprises remain a little wary of cloud services, SMBs are driving cloud demand, Hsu said. Three-quarters of that demand is for applications, according to Citrix and market research. Hsu said the big opportunity for partners is in mobilizing Windows applications that historically have been relegated to the PC.
But the PC era has come and gone, and SMBs need to access their CRM and other programs from any device. Particular demand is coming from the insurance, services, education, bank and securities, and health care verticals, Hsu said. There is even greater opportunity in customizing apps for those sectors, since each one comes with its own special requirements. They also tend to want to buy bundles, so think about adding services such as disaster recovery, website hosting and data storage, said Hsu.
"Owning this whole real estate...is really key to this space," he said.
To get to the end user's business value, then, you need to get to their applications, which is where you can start crafting a custom cloud. The partners who can differentiate their cloud services and offer unique clouds will be successful, Hsu said. Yes, the stakes are higher than they have ever been, but, Hsu said, the opportunity also is bigger.
For an in-depth look at Hsu's thoughts on the channel and the cloud, read his exclusive Q&A with Channel Partners.