Citrix CEO dispels fears over partner certification relaxation

Software vendor Citrix has relaxed certain certification requirements in its partner programme

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By  Julian Pletts Published  March 4, 2009

Software vendor Citrix has relaxed certain certification requirements in its partner programme, which could potentially open the door to a host of new partners selling its solutions in the Middle East.

‘CSA Authorised’ is an add-on to the Citrix Solutions Advisor (CSA) programme that allows channel players to gain full margins from the vendor’s virtualisation and application products immediately after enrolling. Citrix says that it makes it easier for existing partners to expand their portfolio and also helps new partners start selling some of its product straight away with less upfront investment.

Some partners in Citrix’s Middle East channel have expressed fears this might devalue the investment they have already made in attaining Citrix certifications and also open them up to unsustainable levels of competition.

This is a concern that CEO and president Mark Templeton is keen to rebuff. “Our existing partners are able to get a larger profit margin, and once you are certified the profit goes up because we have a certain programme where you earn something called advisor rewards so it won’t devalue their franchise at all,” asserted Templeton. “Actually, it will make it much more economical for them to offer our full product line. That is a key piece of the message for our existing partners, so if you are already a great XenApp partner and you see an opportunity for XenServer or XenDesktop you can get to it.”

Templeton told Channel Middle East that the CSA Authorised addition will benefit both existing integration partners by allowing them to add more Citrix products to their networking arsenal and new partners by making it easier to take the first step towards an alliance with the vendor.

Citrix has made an important and deliberate omission to the relaxation of its partner certification requirements in that CSA Authorised does not include XenApp, its most high-profile and successful product.

Noman Qadir, sales manager for channels at Citrix Systems Middle East, underlines the point that CSA Authorised takes a much greater commitment and investment for a partner to graduate from the initial enrollment.

“We have more than a couple of hundred CSA partners covering our Middle East channel today, most of them will be looking for a differentiation and that differentiation will come in two ways, either the way that they approach customers or the way they get support from the vendor,” said Qadir. “There is a gap, it is easy to come in on step one, but the jump from step one to step two is really big, both in terms of investment and in terms of recognition from Citrix.”

Qadir also revealed that the vendor intends to improve other aspects of its partner programme following mild concerns from the channel that elements such as the Citrix Advisor Awards system do not always accurately reward their efforts.

“At a global level CSA Awards work very well, I think locally there are some efficiencies in regards to the way the process is managed at each step. Part of it is education for the channel and we started that in January,” revealed Qadir.

“Most of our partners do not know the details of the programme. Locally we are trying to improve the education of partners and how to work efficiently. More importantly we now have dedicated people managing leads coming to us on a weekly basis, so there is no reason why a partner should not see the value of working with us closely,” he added.

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