Cisco, Citrix Debut Partner Accelerator

As promised in April at the Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco and Citrix launched the Cisco and Citrix Partner Accelerator  a joint go-to-market framework for sales of the companies’ combined desktop virtualization solution  on June 30.

Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) with Citrix XenDesktop was first launched through the channel in September 2010 with enhancements to support high-definition voice and video added a year later.

Cynthia Gallant, vice president, worldwide channel strategy and market development for Citrix, told Channel Partners that initial feedback from partners was that the solution met the requirements, but they needed more help selling it, particularly with educating the market and generating demand. In addition, they were looking to reduce complexity of going to market with multivendor solutions, not only between Cisco and Citrix but also with storage vendors like EMC and NetApp. Finally, there were looking for differentiation in the market through specialization and also additional benefits, such as sales incentives.

Eighteen months in development, Partner Accelerator includes three basic components  Partner Enablement to shore up partner competency, Partner Tools to compress the sales cycle and Partner Benefits to incent sales and accelerate profitability. Gallant said Partner Accelerator is unique in three ways: one, it’s built for end-to-end versus product orientation; two, it’s built from the ground up; and three, it’s not a statement or direction, but a real, concrete program. She also added that it’s the first of its kind in the market  where two vendors have come together on a go-to-market framework. 

“Business as usual would be us addressing it individually,” said Brian Allison, director, data center go-to-market solutions, for Cisco. “We are speaking with one voice.”

On the Partner Enablement front, the companies have created a joint curriculum that crosses companies, products and architectures to help partner align internal resources. It also has  created “steps to success” assets such as statements of work and order guides as well as best practices for both creatign and benchmarking systems and processes.

Partner Tools include a PDI (Plan, Design, Implement) helpdesk staffed with Cisco and Citrix product experts, TCO/ROI tools to facilitate discussions with CXOs, joint demand-generation campaigns, a joint solutions portal and customer success stories program.

Partner Benefits include an identifying brand (a logo), funding for assessments and proofs of concept. “We are putting skin in the game,” Allison said.

The companies have beet beta testing the program with 20 partners in North America and Europe for more than two months.

Prerequisites to join the program include Cisco data center and collaboration specialization and Citrix XenDesktop certification on sales and technology plus storage expertise and specialization.

To earn use of the logo, two people per company need to complete training in each of the three competencies in sales, presales and post-sales. (Usually, that’s six separate people.) Allison said he expects partners to be using the logo as soon as July.

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