New Citrix Channel Chief On How Partners Will Finally Walk In The Cloud

A Walk In The Cloud

It's only been about a month since Craig Stilwell, a longtime Citrix veteran, took over the virtualization vendor's channel program.

The new channel chief comes to that position at a time of enormous change at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based software vendor. If 2016 was the year that Citrix crawled in the cloud, at long last generally releasing its Citrix Cloud product, this year Citrix will start to walk in the cloud, preparing to run in 2018, Stilwell told CRN.

In a keynote delivered Monday at the company's Summit partner conference in Anaheim, Calif., Stilwell spoke to partners about what matters most to them as far as their relationship with the vendor: how they will make money with Citrix Cloud.

Stilwell spoke with CRN about some of those monetization strategies.

Secure Workspaces

We want everybody to lead with the Workspace Suite.

That’s the big SKU from Citrix with all the pieces -- desktop, networking, mobility and data. That suite is available both in the cloud and on-premises. As we talk about walking in the cloud in 2017, we want people to lead with the suite. All the capabilities Citrix has to offer, are available through that product.

We want everyone to position the value of Citrix Cloud and start moving new and existing customers to Citrix Cloud. And we want to continue to compete and win against VMware.


We want our partners to attach NetScaler SD-WAN to all of their Workspace Services workloads out there. Sell to existing customers and break into new accounts. And we want to continue to compete and win against F5 in the network space.


We want to align with Microsoft at the field level. We're asking our partners just to be better Microsoft partners. Microsoft has great programs for moving workloads to the cloud. It's important for partners to work with both of us there.

That involves the Citrix Skype for Business Optimization Pack, Windows 10 VDI, and finally NetScaler for Azure. We just want to be better Microsoft partners and capture some of that momentum together with Microsoft.


In today's world, we have all of our programs for the channel where they make money by selling on-premises licensing.

In tomorrow's world, when we sell new licensing in the cloud, all the same programs are going to apply. That makes it easy to help partners transition. Cloud deals are generally going to be bigger pound for pound. Same programs -- you end up with more dollars coming out the other side. That's good.

Implementation Services

You get a new customer up and running on-premises, you have to install Citrix, you have to configure Citrix, there's a whole bunch of stuff you have to install and configure outside of Citrix. It's the applications, the workloads, the servers. That's really where the heavy lifting is.

For the Citrix Cloud, we're installing the Citrix bytes for you, but the workloads themselves don't live in the Citrix Cloud. We're giving customers and partners the opportunity to architect their environments with a lot of flexibility. The workloads can land in a public cloud, they can live in a hybrid cloud, they can stay on-premises. Whatever's the best place for them to go. That flexibility is going to give customers the opportunity to have a long-term vision, to phase into the cloud. That flexibility is going to lead to more services, more design opportunities for partners to become engaged on the implementation front.

Managed Services

In my perspective, the implementation is kind of a wash. I think the services win for partners is on the managed services side. As you're moving your Citrix to the cloud, the partner has a great opportunity to sell long-term managed services around those workloads. The cloud just lends itself better to partners for long-term managed services.

That's where the biggest change is for a partner's day-to-day business and where a lot of their profits are coming from around the Citrix Cloud.

Maintenance Renewals

Finally, the last way partners make money around Citrix is on our software maintenance and hardware maintenance renewals. Our partners get to participate in those renewals.

We don't have that renewal program defined for the cloud yet. Good news is we don't have anybody renewing yet so we're OK from that perspective. In the last four and a half weeks I've been on this job, I didn't want to just slap something together and throw it out there.

So I believe that renewal event is extremely important in the cloud and extremely relevant. In the cloud it's a lot easier for customers not to renew if they're not having success, not having a good user experience. Given we're not managing all those workloads, we have no desire to even try to manage all those workloads, I think there's an opportunity through those managed services, through partners staying close to their customers and making sure they have good, successful implementations, to make sure we get a good renewal -- and that's not lost on me, that's not lost on anyone here at Citrix. So basically my pledge to partners is we'll have this thing figured out by the Synergy time frame [Citrix's conference in May].