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Citrix Systems is taking its Subscription Advantage renewal business direct, which has some of the software vendor's channel partners fuming.
According to a Citrix presentation obtained by CRN, Citrix has taken its Subscription Advantage Renewal program direct and is transitioning its advisers to an agency fee model. The program took effect Aug. 1.
As part of the revised program, Citrix laid out a new adviser compensation model. Under the new terms, partners can't offer discounts. Partners must cite renewal quotes at 100 percent list price for their "assigned" customers. Authorized advisers get a 15 percent commission for influencing the renewal.
Advisers must use the Solution Advisor Renewal Tool to "proactively" engage with customers on the quotes. Partners can provide customers with a one-click e-mail quote to renew, but those renewals are processed directly with Citrix, according to the presentation document.
"I don't see any benefits at all," said Tracy Butler, CEO of Acropolis Technology Group, a St. Louis-based solution provider that generates $100,000 per year on Citrix Subscription Advantage renewals. "Citrix is not in the channel and shouldn't be dealing direct with clients. This is a step in the wrong direction. We've always been the Citrix badge to the client, but now they're backtracking. It undermines us in our clients' eyes."
In its presentation to partners about the new compensation method, Citrix said the renewal change is designed to increase customer satisfaction and partner profitability and eliminate pricing confusion. But other Citrix partners railed against the new policy.
"Apparently, having resellers lose control over how customers renew their Subscription Advantage is Great News," said one annoyed partner, who requested anonymity. "I wouldn't term it that way. Not being able to give discounts to customers and having to wait on Citrix's internal customer support for payment is also not great news." The partner was referring to an e-mail that Citrix sent to partners about the renewal change, whose subject line announced it as "Great News from Citrix."
In the memo delivered to partners July 28, Citrix also enclosed within it the letter it sent out to customers Aug. 1, citing the new policy as a "new benefit" of being a valued Citrix customer. "Citrix will be your sole source for Subscription Advantage and hardware warranty renewals," the letter said. "With this change your Citrix Authorized Solution Advisor can provide you with renewal quotes . but payments will be made directly to Citrix."
One source close to Citrix said the company's channel is engaged in a price war, and the new renewal policy aims to level the playing field for VARs that provide value-added services first and handle renewals as they come up. He said those partners often compete against another group of Citrix partners that milk the renewal business and poach other partners' Citrix business by offering customers discounts on renewals.