Cloud Headlines Citrix Summit 2017

Cloud computing

Lynn HaberCITRIX SUMMIT — While networking and tighter alignment with Microsoft were key themes at the kickoff Monday of Citrix Summit 2017, the vendor’s annual sales conference for partners and its internal sales team, it was the cloud that grabbed the headlines at this week’s event, being held Jan. 9-11 in Anaheim.

Citrix asked partners to transform to selling cloud and, in particular, its Workspace Suite, a workspace-as-a-service (WaaS) offering. The theme of this year’s event is Walk in the Cloud. About 2,000 partners are in attendance.

“For me, personally, one of my biggest goals coming out of the conference is to come away with the notion of 2017 as the year that we’re going to walk into the cloud,” Craig Stilwell, vice president of worldwide partner strategy and sales, and the new Citrix Channel Chief told us. “2016 was crawl, 2017 is walk, and 2018 is run in the cloud,” he added.

Citrix's Craig StilwellThe 17-year Citrix veteran – in his job for about five weeks – replaces Kimberly Martin who held the channel chief job for about a year and a half, beginning in July 2015. Martin has left the company.

Citrix is on a mission to get its partners ready to succeed in the cloud.

“We’re going to make sure that they understand our programs, how to position the cloud and its advantages for customers and we’re going to have to go into some detail as to how the cloud is better for them [partners], i.e. how they are going to make more money, and, what’s going to change for them in terms of services,” said Stilwell.

The new channel chief not only sees the partners’ business transformation to cloud as an opportunity for them to add more services — but to add managed services.{ad}

With that, Citrix will roll out a new Services Delivery Program to sell and deliver Citrix developed offerings. The kit includes a Services Delivery Kit; a commitment to partner success with a target on the midmarket and underserved or emerging areas; and an optional new Citrix Services certification that will roll out in March.

As partners transition their businesses, Citrix wants them to get their customers ready for transformation as well. Stilwell did point out that Citrix doesn’t want partners walking away from their perpetual on-premises business, but talked about the shift to cloud as an iterative process.

Aside from a new Services Delivery Program, Citrix didn’t make any major changes to its existing partner programs, and, in fact, Stilwell said that he wants to simplify existing programs and make them more …


… profitable for partners.

“Our programs are a little bit complex and we don’t want to shift the sands under our partners as they move to the cloud; but, over time, I do want to simplify the programs so it’s easier to do business with Citrix,” he said. The company is targeting 2018 as the year for program consolidation or changes.

Also front and center at the conference is Citrix’s message to partners to deepen their ties to Microsoft, or working to develop a tighter relationship with the Redmond, Washington-based company. More specifically, Stilwell was referring to Azure to drive home the Citrix-Microsoft partnership, but also Skype for Business, Win10 VDI use cases, and NetScaler for Azure and hybrid clouds.

Citrix and Microsoft have worked together for years. When a restructured Citrix began 2016, the vendor kicked off the year with president and CEO, Kirill Tatarinov, a Microsoft veteran.{ad}

Partners also heard Citrix executives talk about security and its secure Workspaces suite – whether used on premises or in the cloud – as well as networking, with NetScaler and Citrix’s newer SD-WAN solutions.

Citrix has about 6,500 partners worldwide, with about one-third of them in North America. According to Citrix surveys, about nine in 10 (90 percent) report having plans to offer cloud solutions.

The new channel chief’s top three goals for 2017: Win more business in the midmarket — i.e. companies with between 500-5,000 employees; partner program simplification; and to partner better with Microsoft.

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