Mutual growth key to partner loyalty, not incentives: Makarand Joshi, Citrix

Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head – India Subcontinent at Citrix, shares the success recipe to Citrix’s partner loyalty and its GTM for 2018 and beyond.

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In the increasingly competitive managed security space, a key parameter to ensure success is a company’s channel partner strategy and its ploy to ensure partner ‘stickiness’.

While some OEMs swear by attractive incentive schemes, others like Citrix believe that mutual growth is the key to a strong partner relationship. Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head – India Subcontinent at Citrix, in an exclusive interaction with ChannelWorld, reveals the company’s channel focus and how its partnership with Microsoft and Nutanix adds firepower to its channel strategy.

Edited excerpts: 

Citrix relies heavily on its channel partner network. What has changed in Citrix's channel partner strategy, and is there any added focus on a particular service or technology?

There are three types of channel partners we engage with. Citrix's large managed partner ecosystem has been built over a period of several years. Some partners have been with Citrix from Day-1. 

It's rare to see this kind of relationship in the IT industry, but Citrix has been fortunate in being able to accomplish this partnership.

“There's a significant amount of investment this year earmarked to develop deep strategic relationships with system integrators and alliance partners. We've developed joint partnership with companies like Nutanix and Microsoft.”

Makarand Joshi, Citrix

 

Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head – India Subcontinent, Citrix

There's a significant amount of investment this year earmarked to develop deep strategic relationships with system integrators and alliance partners. We've developed joint partnership with companies like Nutanix and Microsoft. 

In terms of engagement and go-to-market, we're making significant investments to develop the partner ecosystem. The investment is a lot higher than what we've done in the past. 

Please tell us about Citrix's go-to-market strategy for this year and the next?

In the enterprise space, you'll always find a Citrix footprint in every large organization - be it banks, healthcare companies, manufacturing firms, or the government.

The biggest advantage of Indian SIs is that they understand the industry domain quite well. Our focus will be on working closely with SIs to go deep into existing accounts.

The second part is around geo expansion. We are focusing on increasing our footprint in India. This is not about Citrix creating more branches in India; it's about working very closely with partners to address markets we haven't explored yet.

The third focus is on cloud subscription ecosystem. When I look at the CSP (Cloud Service Providers) play among our partners, we see that it is growing at a significant pace. We'll be working with more CSP partners to attain joint growth in the market. 

You said that a lot of Citrix's channel partners have stuck on since day-1. What steps are Citrix taking to build loyalty around channel partners?

The success and growth of Citrix can be attributed to the significant support of our partners over the last decade. A major factor that helped us forge this relationship with our partners is not based on incentives alone, but the opportunity to achieve mutual business growth. 

In addition to this, the partner lands up with an impressive stack of products owing to our partnership with companies like Microsoft and Nutanix. In most cases, the core solution comes from Citrix, but the partner also gets more opportunities to deploy additional solutions.

So to sum it up, the partner achieves business growth; there's adequate pull through for the partner; third is the incentive the partner can earn; and the fourth part is the after-sales implementation. These factors bring about a comprehensive profitability across products and services, and that, I believe, is going to continue to work for Citrix.

“A lot of focus also went towards enhancing the technical skills of a partner. The intent was not just around helping a partner drive better conversations, but to be able to connect the dots and do the POC if required.”

Makarand Joshi, Citrix

 

Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head – India Subcontinent, Citrix

In the present day, channel partners' communication isn't restricted to CIOs alone, it extends to all stakeholders in the company. What is Citrix doing to ensure that its channel partners are able to drive better conversations with other LOBs?

The structure of IT companies has changed, and the role of a CIO today is that of a business enabler. Other LOBs now have a better understanding of technology, they know exactly what their user-needs are. 

The partner should be able to provide solutions with the agility the business needs. Gone are the days when IT would decide everything on their own and then deliver the solution to the business. Last year was a turning point because we invested in our partners to enable value-based selling to meet their customers' needs. 

A lot of focus also went towards enhancing the technical skills of a partner. The intent was not just around helping a partner drive better conversations, but to be able to connect the dots and do the POC if required.