Citrix doubles down on need to move beyond virtualization at Citrix Summit

Citrix reiterated the need for partners to move into Citrix Workspace, laying out the advantages for doing so, and indicating new support to help them align their business with where Citrix is going.

Bronwyn Hastings, Citrix SVP, Worldwide Channel Sales and Ecosystem

At last year’s Citrix Summit sales kickoff in Orlando, the company’s annual gathering of both their channel and direct sales teams, the company changed its traditional script, with an emphasis on moving beyond virtualization into digital workspaces. At this year’s Summit, also in Orlando, while the company has a new channel chief, the message was essentially the same. Citrix emphasized the centrality of Citrix Workspace to the hybrid multi-cloud world, articulated to partners why they need to evolve their virtualization practices to it, and discussed some measures they have introduced to help them do that.

“It’s about selling value,” said Bronwyn Hastings, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Channel Sales and Ecosystem at Citrix. “It’s making sure that we are accelerating cloud, and helping partners understand the value that they can bring to Workspace. They need to understand that hybrid multi-cloud is the world we live in, to be comfortable with that, and to expand their business for the future.”

Hastings, who has been in the role for approximately 45 days, came over from SAP, where she had been Senior Vice President of Global Business Development and Ecosystems. Before that, she spent a decade and a half at Oracle.  While SAP as a company is significantly different from Citrix, Hastings emphasized that both are focused on transitioning their traditional business to the cloud to meet the needs of the hybrid cloud world.

“I have often been engaged with the different application providers when they have been on their growth journey, both at Oracle and SAP,” she said. “When you move to the cloud, customer success is at the centre, serving the customer need almost daily rather than over a long period of time. Partners need to consider whether the models that they use serve them well in a cloud world, and bridge both on-prem and the cloud. The portfolio is changing, which brings incremental opportunity to have a strong contribution from the partner community as a whole. It involves the growth trajectory, the expanded possibility of the partners’ role and to be part of growing that journey.”

Hastings emphasized that the need for partners to articulate the message of moving beyond virtualization with Cloud Workspace remained central to Summit. Citrix emphasized that this is a natural evolution of partners’ core practices around application and desktop virtualization.

“If you have come from a world of virtualization, you can bring that virtualization knowledge to Workspace and expand on that,” she said. “You don’t stop what you have been doing. You expand to add more opportunities in some areas. Partners build and continue businesses with incremental opportunities around this. Workspace still has the fundamentals of having a secure virtualized environment at its base. We have a large customer base around virtualization, but virtualization use cases only reach around 15% of users in a company. We are investing in helping partners tell the story and bring that value as a differentiator into that Workspace story. We want to help them differentiate their offerings, and we do that by bringing Workspace with Intelligence to the front.”

Hastings said that Citrix will help partners do this by increasing resources around support, by providing direct support to partners, providing indirect support through their customer success centre, and stimulating demand generation.

A key here is the Partner Services Cooperative Offering, which Citrix launched late last year to help partners jointly deliver professional services, and which they heavily promoted at Summit.

“We are adding access to the Citrix technical SMEs, to ensure that that partners have the right approach and bring the right expertise to the customer,” she stated. “We will provide them with insights into digitally forward customers. We are also adding deeper persona-based technical training, including improved access to demo systems and internal use programs.”

Hastings said that another element of this offering was putting customer success at the centre of what they do.

“Our Partner Services Co-operative Offering is a collaborative model to help them learn and be successful, expanding their capabilities and driving option through to success. We talked about investments in our customer success centre, that partners have access to.”

“We are also expanding demand generation for the partner community as a whole so everyone can bring their value to the community,” Hastings added. “Through improving alignment and bringing in some partners who weren’t part of it, we are expanding it to all partner types and having a focused approach.”

Citrix also reiterated a key theme from last year, that selling Workspace provides partners with increased scale and reach into the cloud market, by extending them further into the customer beyond the 15% who use virtualization.”

“We have a large drive on cloud, and are accelerating customers there,” Hastings said. “Are partners ready for the cloud services required? I spoke how we are investing in making sure they have a jump start, teaching them how to use micro-edge services to build applications. I also emphasized how some partners who had invested early saw a significant uptick in cloud bookings because they were aligned with how the system worked. We focused a lot on where we were investing to choose where they want to align with us. That’s how partners can best expand their business.

Citrix usually makes a new product or program announcement at Summit, and they did so again this year, with Citrix Analytics for Performance. It is a new service that goes beyond monitoring server-side infrastructure to identify performance issues with enterprise apps at the individual user level and enable admins to proactively address them.

Citrix Analytics for Performance uses a proprietary machine learning engine that integrates real-time telemetry from Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, and quantifies a user’s experience into a unique “UX Score,” that illustrates items that impact application access such as user logon time, network latency and network stability. It is available now.

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