Citrix lays out strategy to help partners take advantage of expanding hybrid multi-cloud opportunity

Citrix global channel chief Bronwyn Hastings talks with ChannelBuzz about what they see as the key opportunities for partners in the year ahead, and how the company will help partners to meet them.

Bronwyn Hastings, Citrix’s SVP of worldwide channel sales

A year ago, at Citrix’s joint direct and partner sales kickoff, the company emphasized the importance of  partners moving beyond virtualization into digital workspaces in a hybrid multi-cloud world. This year, the event was very different, virtualized like every event has been over the last 12 months.  Bronwyn Hastings, Citrix’s SVP of worldwide channel sales, reviewed Citrix’s goals around the event, and the direction the company laid out around priorities and opportunities for partners in the year ahead.

“We spoke about three key opportunities, which were both a continuation and expansions of themes we laid out last year,” Hastings told ChannelBuzz.  “One is moving the customer based to the cloud with our Workspace intelligence. The second is moving from an emphasis on infrastructure to what we call ‘wall-to-wall,’ where we can become more relevant to more functional areas of a customer. The third theme was speaking about our intent to acquire Wrike.”

Hastings described the Wrike deal, which was announced in the middle of January and is still working its way through the regulatory approval process, as a huge opportunity for partners.

“Partners see the story of workspaces here, as well as the expanded opportunities to create wall-to-wall opportunities,” Hastings said. “Citrix allows people to connect to the work they do and optimizes experience with analytics. Wrike is more about how the work gets done, and the management of it. It allows for automation and aligning team collaboration, so there are great synergies.” Hastings noted that Wrike has a partner community of its own, and that Citrix partners who were into collaboration were certainly aware of Wrike.

Citrix has been forcefully advocating the need for partners to shift focus to Workspace for over two years now, with some degree of success, although it has by no means been overwhelming.

“We see a third of our partner base as being well on their way to developing their own unique services in Workspace,” she said. “A third have a plan, and are working on it. And a third are still considering how to capitalize on it.”

Citrix was required to massage its messaging to partners to fit within the contours of the virtual format.

“We had to have the event virtually,” Hastings said. “The positive is that we had more people that were to join, with over 2100 partners. Both more partners were able to attend, and more people were able to attend from each partner. We tried to give partners the ability to participate with our salespeople, as well as to have breakout sessions of their own. We also had ‘ask the expert’ sessions with our sellers to help them better understand our new directions. We received very positive feedback.

“We also communicated at the field kickoff how we are looking to support the partners in these journeys, and how we set partners up for success,” Hastings continued.

This includes the evolution of the partner program, although it won’t take the form of major new programmatic initiatives.

“We don’t intend to have big bang announcements, seeing it more as a framework and a journey,” Hastings said. “We are making sure that the program is agile and more iterative, with a continuous feedback loop around the critical things partners need as they go on the cloud value journey around the future of work.”

Hastings said this evolution has three components.

“The first is simplifying partner value in a way that lets them deal with cloud agility,” she indicated. “The second relates to the partner economy – how we need to shift incentives to be balanced across the distribution of entire customer lifecycle, and how we can also enhance the economy because Workspace Intelligence is a platform partners can build on top of or beside.”

The third element relates to services capabilities.

“We want the customer to derive value from the cloud business and co-operative service offerings we have been working on around access to successful deliver of Citrix projects,” Hastings said. “We want to make sure that the services are in line with what Citrix recommends, and that they are optimized to have the best results. And if a partner doesn’t have the capabilities in the right area, and wants to supplement those with offerings from Citrix, we have simplified it down to three clear lines so partners can see clear ways of accessing or gaining knowledge.”

All this reflects what partners had asked Citrix for in partner councils and roundtables, Hastings emphasized.

“We will make sure that we have the economic model across the lifecycle as well as the cloud agility, and with the services will make it a simple choice for partners of what they need to build out,” she said. “It is an evolution step by step, Everything will be an ongoing journey of this framework.”

Hastings said the time has never been better for this strategy.

“Towards the beginning of last year, we saw customers just trying to have a business continuity approach,” she indicated. “In March, only 30% thought they would need to revisit their decisions. Then we did another check in mid-September, and 65% said that to stay connected to customers they had to invest in innovation, and were considering what this new hybrid work model would look like. Partners can see this opportunity to provide managed services and how hybrid multi-cloud becomes a part of their journey. 2021 is the year where we leverage those journeys to help partners expend the opportunities ahead of them.”