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Citrix Simplifies Cloud, Mobile Management Game Plan for Partners

LinkedIn: Craig Stilwell, chief revenue officer, Carbonite
Craig Stilwell

Citrix Systems unveiled multiple mobile and cloud services moves for channel partners at the Citrix Summit 2017 conference today in Anaheim, Calif. The effort, which includes a deeper Microsoft relationship, reinforces key steps that Citrix has taken to simplify its product line over the past year.

The key news from today:

  • Citrix is introducing new licensing to help customers transition from XenApp or XenDesktop licenses to Citrix Cloud and managed services offerings.
  • Citrix announced a pilot program for Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) that want to deploy workspaces leveraging Citrix Cloud.
  • Citrix released XenDesktop Essentials to ease Windows 10 Enterprise deployments on Azure.
  • For customers that want to deliver business applications directly from Azure, Citrix announced XenApp Essentials, which will ship sometime this quarter.
  • Citrix is introducing Smart Check, Smart Scale and other pre-configured packages and capabilities that "simplify and accelerate the rollout of new virtual app and desktop services." Those new offerings join the Smart Tools family, formerly known as Citrix Lifecycle Management services.
  • A new Citrix Ready program combines the advantages of Citrix Cloud with hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) from partners to simplify the scalability and management of VDI environments for mid-market customers.
  • Citrix and Microsoft have integrated Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway with Microsoft Intune. This solution enables IT admins to check for compliance and the state of the end user device, Citrix says.

Moreover, Citrix Channel Chief Craig Stilwell described how the company is going to market with partners this year. He's calling on partners to:

  • Start the cloud journey and lead with Workspace Suite;
  • Attach NetScaler to XenApp and XenDesktop, and position SD-WAN;
  • Be a better partner with Microsoft.

So, what was missing from today's event? Announcements involving multiple product lines that Citrix sold off over the past year -- including the company's former CloudStack and the GoTo offerings.

Citrix: Simplified Playbook

Before those asset sales, Citrix was like a U.S. football team with multiple play books and competing game plans, concedes Stilwell.

"We weren’t sure if we were running a pro-style offense or an option package," says Stilwell. "We were doing both. We were all over the field. And that was difficult for partners and our sales to navigate." Now that the non-core products are sold off, Citrix and partners can more effectively focus on app, desktop, mobility and networking solutions for on-premises and cloud customers, he adds.

Also of note: Citrix did not announce new partner programs during today's event. "And that's a good thing," Stilwell tells ChannelE2E. "It's all about making sure our partners understand our current programs."

Citrix expects partners to have blended business models -- profiting from implementation projects and then generating recurring revenue from managed services. Partners should lead with Citrix Workspace Suite, he says, and then keep winning with networking and new offerings like SD-WAN services, he adds. Successful SD-WAN deployments, in turn, can potentially improve the performance of XenApp at the desktop, he says.

Citrix also wants to accelerate VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and desktop as a service (DaaS) deployments. Those efforts will leverage Unidesk, a newly acquired company that eases VDI and DaaS management.

What's Next: Citrix Renewal Program

So what's missing from the simplified Citrix play book? Stilwell is surprisingly forthcoming. He concedes that Citrix still needs to nail down a renewal program, which will ensure that partners thrive from customer renewals. Details for that should be nailed down in time for the Citrix Synergy 2017 conference in late May.

In the meantime, there's plenty of opportunity for partners to profit from long-term services opportunities, he says. "Customers don't want to manage infrastructure anymore," Stilwell asserts. "The long-term managed services opportunity in the cloud is much more compelling that traditional IT management. We’re not taking on those workloads and the integrations. That’s for our partners to pursue."

More: Track all Citrix Summit 2017 updates here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.