Citrix: We Don’t Do PPT-Based Training And Expect Partners To Sell Mobility
Kaushal Veluri, Director, Channels and Alliances, India Subcontinent, Citrix Systems, talks about why—and how—partners should drive BYOD with their customers.
Radhika Nallayam Apr 17th 2013 A-A+

A number of Indian CIOs have shut the door on BYOD. Is this really the right time for Citrix—and its partners—to cash in on the concept?

Veluri:Today, IT may be saying ‘no’ to allowing employees to have multiple devices as organizations are trying to standardize devices. But users are demanding device diversity, so BYOD will eventually become a way of life. Today, users want to bring devices they are comfortable with and operate them in the workplace. But BYOD introduces new challenges around security, control, and data delivery. So there is no better time than now to talk about BYOD and enterprise mobility.

Does the acquisition of Zenprise give Citrix a far more compelling enterprise mobility story?

Veluri: Initially, when we spoke to customers about BYOD, it was more about bringing-your-own-computer, because customers were concerned about device management. If employees bring any device they want, controlling and managing these devices becomes an issue. That got us to the realization that we have to offer a complete management suite. That’s how the acquisition of Zenprise happened. We already have cloud access gateway as a product line, which gives application access control. With Zenprise, we now have an end-to-end enterprise mobility stack. Enterprise mobility typically starts off with the device and then spreads across different areas like application delivery on mobile devices, access control, and network control (which includes features like geo fencing). Citrix addresses all these aspects through a comprehensive enterprise mobility stack. This allows users to have containerized e-mail, Web, and other applications. It even allows the development of new apps. Users can now have a seamless experience across devices and IT can provide a control mechanism, which so far was the biggest concern.

Won’t this kind of a holistic enterprise mobility stack be a new concept for your partners as well?

Veluri:Mobility is definitely one of the strong pieces that we can take to the market. But you’re right; the mobility story has to be explained to the customer in an effective manner by the partner. It’s a fairly new concept for our partners and customers; maybe as new as desktop virtualization was about two years ago. Today, our partners have the maturity to drive a VDI conversation effectively, and I think the learning curve for mobility will be much shorter.

Why will mobility’s learning curve be less steep?

Veluri: Partners can clearly see that most of their customers are using some sort of mobility solution. So the first question that a partner can ask his customer is: What is your organization’s mobility strategy? Suddenly, our partners are able to open up a new facet and a new way of thinking for that particular customer. Some customers are already thinking about the BYOD scenario whereas some others are clueless. Partners today have the ability to bring in a new perspective and clarity.  Our mobility stack provides end-to-end solutions that include device management and management of applications, data, and productivity tools.

For partners, it suddenly creates a new avenue to gain access organizations.

What does the learning curve for partners look like?

Veluri: Our approach is to stage this bit by bit. To start with, we engaged with our top regional partners who have understood and experimented with the concept of mobility. We did a mobility roundtable for all our partners in Mumbai, Bangalore, and New Delhi. We combined that with a demo and explained why they should look at BYOD.

This must have helped you gauge their interest levels…

Veluri: We know that not all partners are going to take the plunge right away. But some partners, those who already have an understanding of mobility, are currently showing a lot of interest. We already have a few partners who are engaging with us strategically. We’ve had dedicated sessions for their sales teams. This will give us the first round of partners, who are very excited about mobility and already have the requisite knowledge. However, we are also planning to look at the other set of partners who currently do not have a great understanding about the concept. We are talking to them at a more fundamental level. We believe that mobility is a great way to reach out to customers.

Mobility, all said and done, still has a lot of ambiguities. How do your partners start a discussion around mobility, considering it requires a deeper understanding?

Veluri: We are planning joint sales calls with our partners for the initial few customers, during which Citrix representatives explain the concept to customers. I don’t think that any partner can suddenly start selling mobility after seeing our demo or presentation. It has to be on-the-job training. We can’t do PPT-based trainings and then expect partners to sell. As the next step, we are also organizing sales and technical boot camps for our partners so that they are ready to spread the message. 

Globally, Citrix is talking about ‘triangulation opportunities’ for partners, mainly around cloud, virtualization, and mobility. Are you driving a similar message among your partners in India?

Veluri: We are encouraging and guiding our partners to think along such a ‘triangle’, with mobility, cloud , and desktop virtualization on three different sides. A partner might currently be focusing only on one vertex, or corner, of that triangle. But we see more and more partners evaluating the option of taking the whole triangle to the customers. Those who have this triangulation story are viewed more seriously by their customers and are becoming strategic partners to them. Partners can begin with one corner of the triangle and gradually expand to other areas. Earlier, that corner used to be desktop virtualization; going forward it will become mobility. We have almost productized the mobility solution for our partners. Today, Zenprise and the cloud gateway are two different products, but six months down the line, we are planning to integrate them into a single product category.

Do you currently have customer wins in India?

Veluri: We have already started talking to our existing customers, though we haven’t had any wins as yet. But there are a handful of promising leads. There have been global wins, and in India we have Zenprise/MDM customers. 

Most of our tier-1 partners had already thought about mobility and were evaluating various MDM platforms even before we acquired Zenprise. So, the Zenprise acquisition helped us fill that MDM gap. Mobility is not as complex an implementation as desktop virtualization. But the services opportunity is very significant for all kinds of partners.

What differentiates your offering from similar solutions like VMware Horizon?

Veluri: Some industry experts observe that though Horizon claims it can do a lot, it does not deliver all of those presently. But at Citrix, we are in position to deliver everything that we claim we can, right away.

We are planning joint sales calls with our partners for the initial few customers. I don’t think that any partner can suddenly start selling mobility after seeing our demo.