Like many of ESG’s clients, I have had the good fortune to observe and work with Citrix for over 10 years. Over these years, I have seen Citrix continue on its journey of innovation for cost-effective and secure solutions that drive workplace efficiency and value. Along the way, Citrix has amassed an impressive ecosystem of Alliance Partners that have globally extended the value to IT professionals.
Since joining the company in January 2016, Citrix CEO, Kirill Tatarinov has created a clear purpose and well-defined vision for the company—to expand the value the Citrix Alliance ecosystem brings, which has the potential to pay off in spades for its loyal technology partners—and the results are already being reflected in the company’s earnings results.
My colleague, Kevin Rhone, who leads ESG’s Channel Acceleration Practice, has been watching as well. Kevin has presented Citrix with the ESG Channel Acceleration Alliances Award in recognition of the strategic/cultural refresh Citrix has undertaken over the past year. The results are nothing short of fantastic for businesses as they invest in the benefits of Citrix and its technology partners who have been diligently working together to provide strategic guidance.
IT is demanding these alliances. Rarely do I speak with IT professionals who actually want to add to the list of IT vendors with whom they’re working. In fact, most want to significantly consolidate their existing lists. Citrix and its alliance partners are uniquely positioned to enable and extend digital transformation within the data center and with cloud solution providers. Cloud’s new consumption economics are changing the way IT sources, and the strengthening of Citrix’s existing alliances (as well as new alliances) are critical. The market is also ignited with security concerns, threats, and prevention tactics that are seeing a healthy wave of IT budget allocation. And, perhaps on the slightly more tactical side, there are recent initiatives, like Microsoft Windows 10, that are creating urgency inside of business and shining new perspectives on how applications and data are securely delivered to end-users.
As I think through some of the market dynamics mentioned above, as well as the opportunities that lay ahead for Citrix and its technology partners, I see a situation shaping up that has a bright outlook. Moving forward, Citrix customers should be looking for technology partnerships that have these five key characteristics:
- Keep it simple. The solution should be simple…really simple (think 5th grade simple). This includes the technology and the economics—time to value, proactive insights, automation, and quality of experience are all essential to success.
- Possess vertical industry expertise. IT conversations about CPU speed, RAM, and disk drives are history. Businesses are expecting partners to possess expertise that includes in-depth knowledge and experience on their unique challenges. Whether healthcare, retail, or SUSE Linux enterprise technology (SLED), IT professionals and business executives take great comfort in those IT vendors that can empathize with them, while efficiently addressing top IT priorities right alongside strategic business goals.
- Add mid-market solutions to the mix. Mid-market companies often require enterprise-class features, but frankly can’t afford the investment. The mid-market segment is an ideal target given how they desire the same mobile moments being created in the Fortune 500 companies. It is these smaller companies that are often ready and willing to surpass their enterprise counterparts, when it comes to digital transformation and cloud consumption.
- Focus on security, security, security. If an IT vendor isn’t able to create a cohesive security value proposition, it’s probably not worth knocking on the customer’s door. Based on ESG research, security is top of mind among business executives across the board, and security projects are getting funded. When partners use their knowledge and expertise to help customers address a slew of issues in cybersecurity, network security, endpoint security, cloud application security, etc., customer engagement success rises.
- Embrace younger, as well as long-time IT pros. While it’s important to nurture established IT relationships, it’s just as important to focus on a younger generation that has recently entered the workforce. Millennials have become key influencers, holding a variety of positions as strategic decision-makers—making this segment another ideal target for IT technology partners.
Citrix has the momentum and the market timing on its side to invigorate technology alliances and demonstrate its “better together” value to businesses. Execution will ultimately be the measuring stick, but resistance from businesses will lessen as long as Citrix and its technology partners focus on the above five characteristics—helping businesses enhance the way employees work, the methods by which business processes are built, and the way IT manages an optimal experience for all.