Q&A: Citrix VP Calvin Hsu on Telecom-IT Convergence

If you visit the “About” section of the Citrix website, you won’t find the typical boilerplate explaining how the company is the market leader in virtualization (though it is) nor that it is a leader in the cloud applications delivery (though it is). What you will find is the company’s vision for life and work: “Work is no longer a place its something you do anywhere inspiration strikes. This is better for people, better for IT and better for business.” And, you’ll find its people-centric view of technology as an enabler of that vision.

Citrix's Calvin HsuAs Citrix’s vice president of product marketing, Calvin Hsu is part of the team charged with realizing that vision. During his eight years at the company, he has launched several award-winning releases of XenDesktop and XenApp, which represent more than $1 billion in revenue for the company. Today, he is responsible for the go-to-market strategy, market development and positioning of all Citrix desktop virtualization solutions. Hsu also helped build the Citrix Service Provider program, a cloud-based desktop-as-a-service business model adopted by thousands of service providers.

Hsu will deliver the keynote address on “Creating Business Value” at the Spring 2013 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1, in Las Vegas. Channel Partners interviewed Hsu to get a preview of his remarks.

Channel Partners: How is telecom-IT convergence impacting customers view/use of technology?

Calvin Hsu: As more telecom providers are leveraging cloud technologies to get into the IT space, customers’ use of cloud technology is becoming more commonplace and expectations are high that it will work all the time. You dont have to look much further than the Netflix outage over the holidays for a good example. Your DVD player may practically self-destruct after the two-year warranty period, but Netflix has a service outage for a few hours and it is national news. This is partly because it happened to everyone at the same time, but its also because customers tend to have higher expectations for a service that they used to manage themselves but are now accessing via the cloud. There is an element of trust there and an expectation that it will just work.

CP: How is telecom-IT convergence impacting the channels ability to serve their customers?

CH: Telecom channel partners have a huge opportunity to be the front end of any cloud-based service to end customers. As with any partner channel, the key is understanding customer needs and aligning services based on those needs. This is especially true in the area of technology solutions. Whether it’s cloud computing infrastructure services for IT departments or what we consider finished goods” apps and desktops ready for consumption by end users, channel partners are able to match the solution to the need. The opportunity for channel partners in this new space is all about customer satisfaction. The management of IT is very personal to business owners, especially the SMB. The CEO wants to know exactly who he/she has entrusted their data to. When the channel partner has a relationship with the owner or IT manager of the business, the trust level increases right along with adoption of the services.

CP: How can channel partners create business value from technology solutions?

CH: Were already seeing commodity services offered at a low cost based on scale, like hosted [Microsoft] Exchange-only for example, become a race to the bottom. The partner networks that will really be successful are the ones that can identify a strategy for differentiation. Your technology solution needs to offer a unique set of value, expertise and service and one of the ways to do that is to offer combinations of finished goods and services for end users like cloud desktops and apps in your portfolio. Gone are the days of delivering piece parts to serve businesses. IT solutions” are exactly that. The best way to sell technology to the end customer is to first ask the question, Why?” Why is the customer looking for an IT-as-a-service model? As a trusted partner, once youve established the answer to this critical business question, you can better serve your customers with IT technology.

As a case example, one of our [partners] was providing outsourced IT to a physician’s group in Atlanta. When the Why” question was asked, it was determined that patient satisfaction was low because of the time it took for the physicians to handle information about each patient. The doctors literally had to drive to the place where the information was in order to access it and then contact each patient. By providing seamless cloud-based services to any location on any device, the patient satisfaction went up tremendously because the information was now readily available to the doctors. The group went “all-in” with the partner because they solved the Why” issue and not because of any technology discussion.


Hear more from Citrix Vice President Calvin Hsu in his Keynote Address on “Creating Business Value” at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1, in Las Vegas.

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