‘Organizations Need To Redefine Their Mobility Strategy’
Cloud leader Citrix is serious about Indian business on the partner side. Vishal Khare, Director of Emerging Business, Partner Led, India Sub continent – Citrix, in an interaction with ‘Channel Times’, shares his views on the market scenario and plans for the coming months.
Excerpts from the interview
CT: How was the FY13-14 for you with respect to channel business? Explain the highlights.
Khare: 2013 was an invigorating year for technologies such as desktop virtualization, cloud networking and enterprise mobility, as they were widely accepted by Indian customers across verticals, unleashing significant business opportunities for partners and enabling customer’s employees to work in new and creative ways.
With over half a million virtual desktops in country and 400+ customers spread across verticals like BFSI, ITES, Manufacturing, Telecom, Healthcare and Education, Citrix established its leadership in the space. It became very important to educate the channel partners to give their best and so we initiated a comprehensive training program for channel partners in seven cities including Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata in Q1 2014.
Between second half of the year and now, the Mobility technology space underwent a significant change with customers understanding that implementing a true mobility solution for their employees was more than just pure device management and had to encompass applications and data management as well. Enterprise Mobility became the new paradigm to help their employees experience true mobile workstyles.
CT: Was was the significance of the FY13-14? What were the lessons learnt?
Khare: I believe that the tremendous growth of innovation in the consumer space of smartphones, tablets, PCs have pushed the organisations to make mobility solutions available in their organisation, enabling the workforce to access work from anywhere, anytime, across any network and on any device. Consumerisation of IT, and the use of a broad range of varied devices by employees at the workplace, has played a significant role in the evaluation of enterprise technologies that have enabled employees to work efficiently while at the same time meeting the security and compliance requirements of business.
CT: What are your plans for the the new fiscal year and for channels?
Khare: As the technology has matured over the years and moved from a niche to mainstream technology, customers have begun to adopt desktop virtualization for specific use cases like optimizing seat utilization in ITES organisations to branch office automation in Banks to sales force automation in Insurance and design security in Manufacturing. We definitely see desktop virtualization as becoming one of the key methods for organisations to tackle the Windows XP retiral and migration initiative.
Today customers are not just interested in understanding the benefits of technology, they are more concerned about how technology can help them to achieve business goals faster and more efficiently. This gives tremendous opportunity to channel partners to transform themselves from being mere product resellers to complete solution providers with a consultative approach who can help the customers manage their infrastructure efficiently and be a strategic partner to them.
To help our enterprise customers become more successful we have created “Citrix Validated Solutions” with our Global alliance partners like Cisco and NetApp. In 2014, we have started to promote the same to our enterprise/large customers as it improves predictability and success rate of the project.
CT: What is your prediction on the industry?
Khare: Increasingly, users across Indian organizations are demanding freedom to choose their own device, use any app at work, and have access to enterprise data from any place, any device, anytime. As a result, organizations need to redefine their mobility strategy to address user demand while meeting IT security and management requirements around the user, device, apps and data.
Today, on an average, an employee uses at least three different devices in their daily life – a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone. Employees will increasingly demand from their organisations the need to accomplish work across all these devices as well. IT will need to find a balance between enabling the employees to work across all the devices while at the same time achieving separation of work application and personal application on these devices and meeting the security and compliance requirements.
In such a dynamic environment, BYOD and Enterprise Mobility will emerge as a leading technology to help IT meet the organisation needs. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) will become a more stable and widely accepted policy across organisations as maturing Enterprise Mobility technology helps the customers to deliver secure applications and data to their employees’ devices.
CT: How confident your organization is over the Indian market? How do they foresee the business through channels?
Khare: Citrix has completed over a decade of its presence in the country and has a dominant market share in Desktop virtualisation and also has established itself as a thought leader in the Enterprise Mobility, Networking and Cloud space.
Recently, Citrix announced a revamp of its GoToMarket (GTM) strategy in India in line with the realignment of its India sales team. The India business is now divided into two divisions with separate focus areas namely 1. Enterprise business and 2. Emerging Business-Partner Led. While the enterprise business will target the leading Indian organisations and government sector, the Emerging Business- Partner Led unit will have a focus on emerging sectors and territories that will lead execution only through partners. This realignment is aimed at strengthening the role of channel partners in selling Citrix solutions and expanding the company’s presence in territories such as Pune, Chennai, Gujarat, Hyderabad, West Bengal and Goa in India apart from other SAARC countries.
To support this new GoToMarket strategy Citrix has invested in expanding its Channels and Alliances team as there will be an increased effort in recruiting and supporting specialist partners who are focused on the Enterprise Mobility and Networking (Application Delivery Controllers).
Citrix provides on-the-job training to support the partners. Initially, Citrix representatives will organise joint sales calls with the partners to explain the concept of enterprise mobility to the customers. As the next step, Citrix is also organizing sales and technical boot camps which include hands-on workshops for its partners so that they are well prepared to reach out to the customers.
CT: What are the marketing/join-marketing activities on the cards for the partners?
Khare: For marketing activities with our partners, we plan to undertake 2 specific initiatives:
a. Firstly, we plan to sign up new focused partners for Mobility solution across the country who will work with our customers to help them Mobilize their business.
b. Secondly, we plan to focus on promoting our DAAS partners in India as these partners can help eliminate all the bottlenecks in the adoption of Desktop Virtualisation
CT: Will there be any change in the distribution model?
Khare: We work with our distributors aligning them to certain partners and ensuring that they provide the requisite support to the partners for all their internal enablement and external customer engagements.
To expedite change in the distribution strategy, Citrix revamped its GoToMarket (GTM) strategy in India in line with the realignment of its India sales team. We have identified opportunities in emerging markets and partner led business units, and realigned our GoToMarket strategy to heighten our outreach towards this segment. We are focused on driving more business initiatives through partners in India, and accomplish our two primary objectives of increased cloud and partner profitability.
As discussed above, this realignment is aimed at strengthening the role of channel partners in selling Citrix solutions and expanding the company’s presence in territories such as Pune, Chennai, Gujarat, Hyderabad, West Bengal and Goa in India apart from other SAARC countries.
CT: What will be your strategy for your partners so that they compete with their competing channel partners associated with your competing OEM?
Khare: We would like to keep it straight and simple. We will control what we can and invest our efforts around the same. We will continue to work with our partners closely, invest in bringing their skills up in managing customer interactions independently, help them to recommend right solution and approach to customers and will aid them with the best of the breed products and technologies.
CT: What is your plan for emerging markets in the tier-2 and tier-3 locations?
Khare: We do have few challenges in scaling our business with Tier 2 partners when it comes to the availability of right skilled resources, supporting the entire sales cycle from conceptualization/identification of requirement to the closure etc. We have put specific training and skill development plans in place and working towards ensuring that we plug in the above mentioned gaps.
In the last one year, we have added around ten tier 2 partners across the country for our Desktop Virtualization/Mobility portfolio. Tier 2 partners contributed around 60 percent of our overall revenue for FY 2013. Some of the top performing Tier 2 partners for us have been – Orient, SK International, Frontier, Ricoh, Magnamious etc. Partners like these have added immense value to our initiatives in the market and they have been successfully able to execute the complex projects for us.
This has given us the required leverage and helped us to service much more customer at the same time. Going forward, in FY 2014, we have changed our GTM and there is a major focus on getting the market execution done through partners. We believe above mentioned partners and many others including our Tier 1 SIs will play a very important role in achieving our targets.