Citrix invites partners in to Citrix Academy technical training

Mike Fouts

Citrix Americas channel chief Mike Fouts.

Citrix Systems is opening up its technical training program to its channel partners.

The company has offered its own technical staff a comprehensive six-week training program, called Citrix Academy, in the past, but for the first time this year is inviting channel partners to get their own technical resources trained up.

Mike Fouts, Citrix’s Americas channel chief, said that in discussions, the company was finding that solution providers were facing the same problems that prompted it to introduce the program in the first place – it’s very hard to find the right technical skills in the market, and when they’re out there, they tend to be “super-expensive.”

“So we figured we’d clean the program up and offer it up to partners, so they can put their team through it the same way we put our teams through it,” he said. “Six weeks later, they’ve got a billable resource who’s a fluent expert in Citrix technology.”

At the end of the process, partners will have a brand new Citrix Certified Integration Architect, the company’s top certification for all of its virtualization and networking offerings. The program will cover how to architect, implement and support all of the company’s non-subscription products, which includes virtually all of the company’s offerings except ShareFile and the GoTo products.

Fouts said the company has a profile in mind of the student for the program – and that profile isn’t necessarily a partner’s most experienced technical staffer.

“We’re trying to set it up so a partner who’s already got one really solid technical resources will end up with two or even three, which we think is a real value,” Fouts said.

The ideal candidate for the Academy is someone who can “create a lot of technical expertise and depth” for the solution provider, both by learning the material themselves and offering training and support to other technical resources once they’re back in the office.

The program is delivered all in-person, meaning that partners attending will be without a technical resource for six weeks. (Yet another reason not to send your most experienced technical resource.) The cost of the program is $8,000, and partners can pay for program expenses – including the student’s travel-related expenses – with their Citrix MDF. Fouts estimated the total cost of sending a student through the Academy is $20,000.

Over the course of 2012, the Academy will be offered once per quarter, alternating between major Citrix locations in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. And Santa Clara, Calif., with each session having a maximum of 20 students. Fouts said that at the end of the year, the company will evaluate whether to increase or decrease session frequency. For the first session, which kicks off next Monday in Florida, the company restricted access to its Platinum partner tier, but in the future, it will be open to all Citrix partners, Fouts said.

Currently, there are two Canadian solution providers enrolled in the Academy’s first two sessions, he reported.

At the same time, Fouts said Citrix is taking many similar approaches to its sales training for channel partners. The company is opening up the sales training it’s been doing with its internal sales force to the channel. Like the Academy, Citrix partners can pay for it through their Citrix MDF. But there are some key differences: The program is a 1.5-day sales training course, and because it’s shorter, it can be taken on the road. Stops will include Vancouver (March 20), Toronto (June 14) , and Montreal (July 18).

According to Fouts, it’s not Citrix-specific training, but rather “methodology of selling” material, focusing on helping solution provider sales reps build their consultative selling skills and how to build solutions around specific customer business problems.