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Citrix CEO Vows To Stay ‘Channel-Oriented’ Amid Company’s Cloud Transformation

‘Citrix is a channel-oriented company — we always have been,’ CEO David Henshall tells CRN. “And channel plays an incredibly important role. The vast majority of our solutions are fulfilled through partners, and they will continue to be.’

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In a year of enterprises big and small transforming their business operations through cloud computing, software vendor Citrix is in the midst of its own digital transformation.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company has moved toward a business model with more subscriptions, recurring revenue, users and more revenue per user. Adding onto the business transformation, the company is also on the search for a new permanent channel chief after Bronwyn Hastings departed the company for Google Cloud.

But CEO David Henshall told CRN in a recent interview that the company will continue to rely on partners to navigate these waters.

“Citrix is a channel-oriented company — we always have been,” Henshall told CRN. “And channel plays an incredibly important role. The vast majority of our solutions are fulfilled through partners, and they will continue to be.”

Tim Malfara, vice president of hybrid IT and cloud services at Citrix partner Anexinet, told CRN that virtual desktop interface (VDI) will become a “continually increasing market” due to the stress of more remote workers on virtual work environments. Citrix’s offerings across on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments and not relying on virtual private network (VPN) technology for security is good for customers.

“We are seeing more and more organizations re-evaluating their VDI environments and look to optimize the VDI experience for their employee base,” Malfara said. “In addition, we are seeing many industry leaders and customers choosing to embrace a more permanent working from home environment.”

Malfara’s advice to Citrix as it invests in channel partner programs is to increase investment in engineering relationships with the partner community. Technical briefings, education and collaboration opportunities would provide more value to end customers, he said.

“Co-branded or funded, proactive re-assessments of customer environments is a specific area that can help clients ensure their environments can meet the continuously growing requirements of their VDI landscape,” he said.

For the first quarter of its fiscal year, which ended March 31 and was reported April 29, Citrix reported $776 million in revenue, down 10 percent year over year and missing analyst expectations. The stock is down about 9 percent this year, trading at $116.75 on Monday.

But Citrix’s cloud investments are apparently paying off in driving more customers into that side of the business. Cloud paid subscribers rose to 10.3 million last quarter, a 34 percent increase year over year. And total annual recurring revenue — a recent metric Citrix introduced to investors that comes from subscription annual recurring revenue generated by term licenses, SaaS annual recurring revenue and maintenance annual recurring revenue — grew 15 percent year over year excluding the recent $2.25 billion acquisition of work management application vendor Wrike. SaaS annual recurring revenue grew 43 percent year over year, up from 39 percent the prior quarter. And future committed revenue was about $3 billion, up 20 percent year over year.

Here’s what partners need to know.


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