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Citrix Systems: Partner Surprises In January 2017

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

Citrix Summit 2017, set for early January, is one of the first major channel partner conferences to kick off the New Year. Among those in the spotlight: Craig Stilwell, the company's newly appointed VP of worldwide partner strategy and sales.

Stilwell, a 17-year veteran of Citrix, is no stranger to the channel. He previously led Citrix's consulting services before navigating VP-level channel, field and commercial sales positions.

Still, Citrix has been a business in transition. Former CEO Mark Templeton, a driving force at the company for more than two decades, announced plans to step down in July 2015 amid pressure from Wall Street. Robert Calderoni moved in as interim CEO until  Microsoft veteran Kirill Tatarinov arrived as permanent president and CEO in January 2016.

Citrix Systems: Asset Sales & Acquisitions

Amid pressure from Wall Street shareholder advocates, Citrix spent the past year or so selling or spinning-off some non-core assets while acquiring some new tools. Among the key moves in 2016...

At the same time, Citrix has been striving to enhance its partner program engagements. As of October 2016 there were some signs of progress, according to a Citrix earnings call at the time.

Citrix Partner Program: 2016 Progress

Revenue from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) grew 30 percent in Q3, Citrix said in October, led by strong demand for XenApp. That business had an overall annual recurring revenue of about $75 million at the time, CFO David Henshall indicated on the earnings call.

Citrix has also doubled down on its existing Microsoft relationship and a more recent Nutanix hyperconverged relationship. The Microsoft deal extends all the way from the Azure cloud to hosted desktops. The Nutanix relationship takes virtualized desktops and deploys them on Nutanix's hyperconverged data center technology.

"As to our broader partner channel, the momentum is continuing to grow," CEO Kirill Tatarinov said in October. He vowed that Citrix would continue to "reinvigorate" its partner channel in 2017.

Citrix Partner Program: Next Moves

Today's Citrix is striving to simplify its messaging and value proposition for channel partners and their customers.

During Citrix Summit 2017 in January, the company will drive home the value of Citrix's cloud technologies, according to Ash Vijayakamthan, VP of partner sales and strategy. (We're checking to see the reporting structure between Vijayakamthan and Stilwell.)

Ash Vijayakamthan

Like many vendors these days, Citrix will spend considerable time describing its commitment to partner growth, profitability and predictable engagements. Plus, technical sessions will focus heavily on VDI, file sync and sharing, networking, virtualization, app delivery and security.

The big question: Can Citrix -- backed by a fairly new CEO and a new channel leader -- deliver the simplicity, predictability and profitability that partners increasingly demand? We'll be watching.


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.