Live coverage of the kickoff of Citrix's annual partner summit in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO – Citrix kicks off its 2012 Summit and Synergy events Monday afternoon with the keynotes of its Summit partner conference here.
Expect program and market updates from Citrix CEO Mark Templeton, sales chief Al Monserrat and channel chief Tom Flink, and probably a bit of Moody Blues – it is Templeton’s show, after all.
And of course I’ll be live in the keynote hall, bringing you the updates as they happen. The blog should go live when the keynotes begin – 4:00 pm Pacific (7:00 pm Eastern) so join me there if you’re not at the Moscone Center yourself.
Good afternoon from San Francisco! The keynote hall is filling up here in the Moscone West, the last “take your seats and silence your phones” notices are being made, and things should be getting underway for Citrix Summit very shortly.
There are more than 2,000 partners in San Francisco for Summit, Monserrat says — and 35 per cent growth in number of unique sessions for partners. The company’s technical training learning labs are sold out again, despite being greatly ramped up this year.
“The last year has been fanstastic,” Monserrat says. A year ago, the company asked partners to focus on cross-selling and up-selling networking, and as a result, the company saw 32 per cent growth for its partners. Meanwhile, service providers grew their Citrix business a whopping 337 per cent.
“It was a fantastic year when you think about the technology we brought out,” Monserat says.
Monserrat talking about Citrix’s 2011 acquisition spree — seven purchases, NetWeaver, Cloud.com, Ringcube, Sharefile, AppDNA and Kaziva among them. “It’s been a busy year for us,” he says.
Q1 highlights: 20 per cent revenues growth – 46 per cent growth on NetScaler, 21 per cent increase in bookings for CSAs.
“We’re doing thinks to build on that,” in terms of strategic partnerships — most notably the Microsoft partnership, Monserrat says.
“For the first time ever, we are the number one of number two product in each one of our core products,” Monserrat says — including desktop and application virtualization as the leader, cloud networking, public clouds, and second-place in Web collaboration.
But that means things are changing, and the goal of Summit is to make sure partners are equipped to sell across the whole portfolio.
The goal at Citrix has always been “a world where people can work from anywhere,” but Monserrat said the company has recently added “worked and play from anwywhere” to the equation, because of the impact of BYOD.
Meanwhile, he says, IT is facing the most volatility ambiguity and other challenges that they ever have.
Monserrat going through the “passing of the torch” from the PC era to the cloud era, and the changes that requires on how IT designs solutions. “The assumptions for the current world are based on the wayt things were 20 years ago,” he says.
“If you build for these old assumptions, every exception is an incremental expense and an incremental stress on your infrastructure,” he says.
“We believe that the exceptions of the PC era become the new assumptions for the cloud era, and that’s what you have to built for, and design for, to make IT more successful.”
Two big focuses from Citrix:
1) Mobile Workstyles — work from anywhere; and
2) Cloud services.
“To deliver those effectively, you have to believe in the world of three clouds.
The first cloud is “my stuff” – contacts, all your data.
And secondly, private and public cloud.
The line between the two are blurrin — the forecast calls for convergence between the two types of cloues, and that fits into Citriz’s spweetspot, Monserrat says.
The goal, Monserrat, is to package everything around solutions — and for Citrix that means “what people want to do.”
“You don’t want to go to a customer and say ‘ You want XenDesktop,’ … you want to go to them to implement a bring-your-own-device solutions. It’s a specific need.”
To that end, the company is offering 7 distinct solutions in a way that Monserrat says will mean “bigger deals, shorter cycles and greater impact” for the company’s solution providers.
Solutions includ executive mobility, Bring your own devices and whorkshifting on the mobile work style solutions category; and unified storefront, desktop virtualization, enterprise cloud networks and cloud convergence in the cloud services category.
“This is a wy of reaching your to them and giving them what they want,” Monserrat says.
12 years ago, when Monserrat started here, the company was selling to IT admins trying to solve a specific, tactical problem.
But now, there are a lot of different individuals in a company that partners can target, from the CIO on down.
“This expands your opportunity — it’s more people to sell to.”
Partners are now starting with a product discussion, but then upgrade the solution through the curse of the discussion. “Before you’ve known it, you’ve more than doubled the size of the deal, Monserrat says.
But to do so, partners “have to tell the Citrix story,” and focus on selling solutions that customers want to buy. “Maximize revenues and profits by talking their language,” Monserrat says.
“This week, invest the time to learn about those solutions, the components of them, and truly recognize Citrix as the great partner it can be to you,” Monserrat says. If partners “tweak” the way they sell, they can significantly upsell and be more relevant to customers.
Citrix has 80 offices in 35 countires — 7,000 employees, 125 applications and four major data centres.
As a technology company, “everyone wants to bring in their own toys,” which led to the company’s status as early adopters to the bring-your-own device approach.
The company uses its own Cloud Gateway product to support single sign-on across all of its SaaS apps.
Now talking through how it uses its recent ShareFile acquisition to integrate with Receiver, synchronizing acorss all devices, with all traffic encrypted.
“It makes a consistent environment, and that’s what’s important.
BYOC was introduced 3.5 years ago — and did so in 90 days, Martine says.
“BYO can take on a variety of forms,” including formal and informal program.
The company started with a survey to detail customers, assessments. They found that employees wanted something different when it comes to devices, were willing to take on some of management tools in return for the freedom.
To figure out a stipend, figure out how much you spend on buying a laptop, procuring, shipping and receiving and ongoing support. Citrix came up with a ,100 stipend — and that represented a 20 per cent decrease in traditional desktop management.
The only caveat from HR and legal was that they wanted a reminder that corporate policy still applies when using their own devices.
From there, the approval process went through IT security, and figured out how to make it all work. “At the end point, wheat’s the oost important?” Having Receiver, which brings the ability to bring with it apps and desktops.
“After that, it looks like a managed device on the network,”Martine says.
And then there’s the informal program — which largely follows the same structure, now including more types of consumer devices.
Moving onto the company’s Working Better By Design strategy — a more flexible work environment. “We de-link the amount of physical space from the number of people,” trying to drive collaboration, allow more ad hoc meetings.
“It may be worth your time to ask your IT staff if there are opportunities around real estate planning,” Martine says — for Citrix, there’s been extensive re-architecting of its approach in part because it can’t keep afford to keep growing its office space at the rate heacount is growing.
Finally, the company introduced a move to Windows 7 — and did so in 90 days, by offering Windows 7 in the forefront, but the old Windows XP virtual desktop still available.
About half of them moved on their won — and for the rest, they got done in about an hour — most of the data is on the virtual desktop, so it was an easier process than many would see.
Martine says the company will use the same approach to move to Windows 8 — although now word on exactly how soon it’s going to do so.
And with that, Martine hands the event over to channel chief Tom Flink.
Flink’s topic is the journey to the cloud.
“This is a very important topic that many of you are spending a lot of time thinking about, or listening to people like me talking about,” he says.
The book “Crossing the Chasm” represents where a lot of solution providers are at. “A lot of us are hoping this bridge is just going to appear, we’re going to walk across, and it’s going to be business as usual. But I’m here to tell you, I think it’s not going to be that easy.” A lot of tech companies are going to fall into the chasm, he predicts. “But you’re not. You can just walk across the backs of those who’ve fallen, I guess.”
The cloud is causing the lines of categorization between types of partners to blur. “It’s become a very different world,” Flink says.
“Research shows, and my conversations indicate that many of you are waiting and seeing,” he says. But there are three things that partners need to do.
They need to have a vision, leverage what they’re good at, and then do something new.
“We want you to take our vision and make it your own,” Flink says, and that includes enabling partners to do so via its partner portal, which now include some of the ready-made solutions that Monserrat was talking about.
Today, partners are working on topic slike physical to virtual transitions, OS and browser upgrades, and moving existing apps to new platforms.
“For most of us, we go at these one at a time, customize how we work with our customers differently,” Flink says — but by building a service around the company’s newly-acquired AppDNA system, partners can speed that process and automate it.
In support of that, a new version of AppDNA, 6.1, is now available, more focused on partners. Brad Peterson, the company’s chief demo officer, is out to show a demo of moving applications to new platforms.
They’re showing off using AppDNA via a virtual desktop on an iPad (streamed to an AppleTV for presentation purposes, no less) to show what apps in an enterprise can be moved to a new platform — which ones require some changes, and which ones can’t .
Onto the topic of the Kaviza acquisition, and the launch of VDI-in-a-box under the Citrix banner late last year.
Citrix announced its purchase of Kaviza at this event last year, in fact.
New to the equation: there’s now a migration path from VDI in a box to XenDesktop, for customers to upgrade as they grow beyond the capabilities of VDI-in-a-box.
The third opportunity Flink highlights is the company’s NetScaler technology — focused on scaling up, scaling in, and scaling out.
“It’s part of everything we do when we build a complete, high-performance solution for virtualization, desktop transformation, VDI and flexcast.”
It’s a way to reach out to new people — in the data centre for example — and reach new opportunities.
Up next, Receiver — the comapny’s software for running virtual desktops and apps on a variety of devices, from PCs to smartphones, and Cloud Gateway, the company’s product for streaming apps and the data they consume to any device.
Based on them, Flink says partners should be able to build app stores for every customer. “This is the new direction for what we’re doing together for our customers,” he says.
And while the free version supports Windows apps and desktops, there’s a paid upgrade for Web, SaaS and data.
Partners also have to do something new, Flink says — and his first example is ShareFile — sharing files across platforms and types of devices.
Secondly, GoToMeeting — and a new enterprise edition that’s available as an upsell for XenDesktop and XenApp.
Available through distribution, either one seperately, or the two together.
Any beyond that, “people sell what they use,” so for the next year, it’s making 20 seats of ShareFile Enterprise available to its partners — additional seats at a discount if required.
“You need to start thinking differently,” Flink says. “There’s a lot of talk about cloud native vs. cloud immigrant,” but that’s irrelevant — not many of the partners in the room had a cell phone or a laptop before they were 20 years old.
“If you’re building a part of your business around cloud, do it as a separate business. You need to have people thinking about building a new practice and the economics around it.”
And with that, Flink hands over the keynote stage to CEO Mark Templeton — which means it’s likely time for some Moody Blues.
Or, actually, some James Brown, in the spirit of a recent karaoke performance at an employee event.
Templeton starts with a “thank you” to partners for “building this amazing company.”
Templeton says that Citrix is positioned to be a leader in mobile and cloud because it had a vision, and was willing to exectuve on it. Ten years ago, the company was all about MetaFrame, but now Xen is the core of the business, with high growth opportunities in cloud and collaboration.
But what does the business look like in the future? Templeton reckons the desktop business about 50 per cent of the business, 23 per cent cloud, 20 per cent collaboration — and the rest, he says, is “unknown.”
“When I think about this, I came to a very simple conclusion. This is going to be mobile work styles and cloud services.”
“There’s an amazing move to mobile, and a move to cloud, that’s going on everywhere,” Templeton says, admitting that looking at where things are going can be scary, intimidating, ambiguous — like trying to look at the totality of the Mliky Way.
“Here’s our plan, here’s our formula: first, we have to have a perspective, one that you’re willing to act upon and bet upon. Then you have to have a plan that gives you multiple ways to get home. And you can’t do it by yourself. You have to do it with partners.”
And he shows highlights of a video from that time, talking about the virtual workplace of the future, as Citrix saw it a decade ago. “We decided we would bet on it,” he says.
At the time, “people thought it was weird.” “But it wasn’t weird for us,” however, looking out into the future seems that way sometimes. “When you do it alone, it’s weird. But when you do it with others, it’s a club.”
There are two types of plans, in business and in personal life, Templeton says — the paint-by-numbers plan, for when you know precisely what you want to do, and have a prescribed methodology for getting there. And the connect-the-dots plan, where you can’t really see what you want to do, but you have to go from step to step to step.
He’s noticed, when working with partners, that there used to be a formula for building a great integration partner business — it was a paint-by-numbers issue. But looking into the future, that step-by-step process doesn’t work so well anymore. “We want to help you move to this connect-the-dots model.”
“You have to have a mindset that’s really different in this model. You have to be focused on making a difference for a customer, and not on making a fortune.”
“Second, you can never believe you have it figured out. Always see yourself as a student and understand that success in this process is always a work in progress.”
And finally, he says, “curiosity and persistence” power the organization. “My belief is that good fortune matters most, and unfortunately, it’s not something you can control.”
But that means one has to be “extra curious, extra persistent, and study more” in the areas where one does have control.
In the late 90s, “we were talking about reselling our products, the impact on our customers, and the crazy high margins,” and that’s gotten harder and harder to do. “About eight years ago, we started talking about focusing on services and project engagement, and rewarding your for that,” a different type of business model centered on professional serfices.
Cloud services is the next step in this process — it’s about recurring business, it’s more focused on the line of business buyers and it’s about relationships.
“We’re trying to help you all make this transition.”
Which brings us to the question of building or reselling cloud services. “I think you have to have a strategy that’s about not only reselling, but building, Templeton says, urging partner to build their own cloud services based on many of Citrix’s core virtualization technologies. Meanwhile, SaaS offerings like GoToMeeting and ShareFile are available for resale.
Specialization will be key, Templeton says. “Consumerization of IT is all about democratization,” he says, which makes endpoint hardware aa consumer discussion — partners will have specialize more deeply on technologies or verticals to work. “This is tried and true model, and it’s something we’re going to do a lot of,” Templeton says, dating back to his experiences as an Apple dealer in 1984. He didn’t focus on selling Macs — he focused on selling desktop publishing. “It was about answering what people wanted to do — creating beautifully designed documents just like professionals do.” Perhaps one of the first true solutions sales with systems, peripherals, software and skills.
“We’re following that lead now as we move to much more of a solutions focus,” Templeton says — for example, the executive mobility solution approach Al Monserrat talked about earlier.
“Specialization is an important idea for all of us. There’s an immutable law: Special purpose beats general purpose.”
While the company is currently talking a lot about solutions, it’s going to move to talking about verticals as well, and how its technology can be adapted for specific verticals.
“We’re going to continue to do the things that got us here,” Templeton says, including its focus on “any,” its level of comfort with ambiguity, and “having a set of honorable aspirations” where you do something because you care about someone else.
“These are our crazy ideas, that have brought us a long way, and we’ll continue to do this, and we’ll help you fight the forces of inertia.”
“I used to think the power of inertia is the most powerful force in the universe, but actually, belief trumps everything. Whether you look at history, sports, companies or individuals, those who believe the most generally have a fantastic outcome.”
“We’ll take this platform that we’ve built, we’ll make fantastic programs for you to build your future on, and you’ll see that Citrix is greater than the sum of its parts, the sum of its people, and greater than the some of its partnerships.”
And with that, Templeton wraps up his presentation, and invites partners to go to the party tonight.