Citrix Channel Chief To Partners: It’s Time To Expand Practices Beyond Virtualization


Citrix Systems’ channel has always made its money delivering virtualization products, but it's time for partners to expand their practices beyond the company's flagship technology, Citrix's channel chief told partners Monday.

In a multi-cloud world of increasing IT complexity, focusing exclusively on application and desktop virtualization leaves money on the table, Craig Stilwell told CRN before delivering that message in his keynote at Citrix Summit, the company's partner and seller kickoff, in Orlando, Fla.

"2019 will be the year that we substantially grow our market and really move away from being just about virtualization," Stilwell told CRN.

[Related: Citrix CEO: 'We've Reimagined The Entire Company In The Last 12 Months']

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The products opening up those new lines of partner revenue are Citrix Workspace and Citrix Cloud, said Stilwell, vice president of worldwide partner sales at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based vendor.

"Citrix Workspace inside of Citrix Cloud is the tool that's going to get us there. We're going to be able to expand our market presence quite a lot by being able to meet the needs of more users," Stilwell said. "That’s going to be the push for partners and sellers coming out of Summit."

Workspace is a client-side app for any device and operating system that delivers a user portal for ingesting all Citrix back-end services as well as dozens of apps from popular Software-as-a-Service vendors. The product unifies elements from Citrix Receiver, ShareFile and XenMobile.

Workspace also serves as a gateway between Citrix's traditional on-premise solutions like XenApp and XenDesktop, and Citrix Cloud, an umbrella platform for about 15 Citrix services and public cloud integrations.

Only 30 percent to 40 percent of employees at Citrix customers need virtualization products to do their work, Stilwell told CRN.

Through Workspace, Citrix has the capability to address the needs of the other 60 percent to 70 percent that are using popular SaaS and mobility applications they need to access securely and conveniently.

Unlike last year, when Citrix revamped its entire program, there's no big change from a structural perspective in 2019.

The previous restructuring, in which Citrix consolidated five channel programs into one, set in motion a big year for the software company's channel—Citrix added 900 transacting partners in 2018 and saw a 16 percent increase in partner productivity, Stilwell said.

"We blew away all of our goals for 2018 as it relates to Citrix Cloud," he told CRN. "But there's still a ton of opportunity to move customers off their on-prem Citrix implementations."

Partners are seeing that opportunity manifest itself in the market.

Mike Quirin, a partner at Alchemy Technology Group, told CRN the Houston-based Citrix partner saw 450 percent growth in 2018, and "Citrix Cloud was the core accelerant to that success."

"Citrix virtualization has always been core to our business," Quirin said. But with the introduction of Citrix Cloud and Workspace, the company gained the ability to include secure and seamless access to SaaS applications, data and mobility in conversations with customers.

"Not only does this make us more strategic to new customers, but it also allows us to go back into existing Citrix customers and extend their footprint," he told CRN.

Citrix Cloud, with NetScaler, enables the firm to focus on providing customers with solutions that deliver the richest possible user experience, the speed to meet their business demands and the technology to securely deliver these solutions, he said.

"The move to cloud helps accelerate the adoption of Citrix solutions, even when the customer doesn’t have the technical expertise, time or infrastructure traditionally required," Quirin said. "Citrix Cloud reduces complexity and removes the barriers of adoption."