Citrix Canada Channel Chief Heads South

James Ward

James Ward

It’s the time of year when most of the traffic between Canada and Florida is in a northbound direction as Snowbirds repatriate, but for Citrix Canada channel chief James Ward, it’s time to head south.

Ward, a veteran of almost four years with the software vendor, has started in a new role on the company’s worldwide sales strategy team, a change in positions that will have him head to the company’s headquarters near Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s been a really fun rid in terms of being responsible for the channel in Canada over the last 3.5 years, but I’m really looking forward to this new opportunity,” Ward said. “It’s at head office, and it will be a great opportunity to collaborate with this company’s sales teams from around the world.

But before head headed south for good, Ward gathered up dozen or so of the company’s top Canadian partners for a trip to Fort Lauderdale, and the first  gathering of what the company is basically looking at as a Canadian channel advisory council.

Ward took 12 partners, including executives from its top Canadian partners for a tour of the company’s Executive Briefing Centre, and briefings with product and channel executives, including worldwide channel chief Tom Flink. As well as a briefing on what’s to come from Citrix, Ward said it was an opportunity to get feedback on the company’s channel incentives plans, and get a feel for what partners are seeing on the street.

Ward said the company is currently interviewing for his replacement as head of Canadian channels, and that there are “a number of quality candidates” with their hats in the ring. But whoever should emerge, Ward said he hopes they’ll expand upon his newly-formed advisory council, and make a gathering of these top partners at least twice a year a priority.

He may not have to wait long to see if that vision plays out. The company holds its annual Summit partner conference and Synergy end-user event next month in Anaheim, Calif., and doubtless all of the members will be in the room anyway. Beyond that, timing and plans will likely depend on the direction and strategy of the new channel chief.

As he leave for warmer climes, Ward said there’s a lot of opportunity to be found in the company’s new XenMobile product line, which aims to close the loop between the company’s virtualization products and the growing trend towards BYOD. The concept of “bring your own” has long been a pet project of the software company, and CEO Mark Templeton was championing the idea of “bring your own computer” well before the move towards consumer-owned smartphones and tablets in the business environment expanded the definition of the concept to “bring your own device.”

“Our channel in Canada is going to do wonder with [XenMobile],” he predicted, noting that the company’s top partners are already rolling out plans their own BYOD strategies based on XenMobile, both to stay abreast of the market trends and to make the conversation around BYOD, cloud, and mobility easier with their customers.

A recent study sponsored by solution provider Dimension Data would seem to back up Ward’s assertion that there are opportunities – the study by analyst firm Ovum found that some 75 per cent of Canadian businesses support some sort of consumer-purchased device usage in the enterprise.