Citrix launches SMB partner specialization

Published: March 20th, 2012

Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) has a new partner specialization to focus on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) but the virtualization vendor stresses it’s not just about a new program: it also has the SMB-focused products to back it up.

The SMB specialist program is a new level within the Citrix Solution Advisor program, and the vendor’s first specialization. While existing Citrix partners are able to offer products from the company’s SMB portfolio without the new specialization, it will make it easier for new partners with an SMB focus to begin working with Citrix and be supported in their go to market said Tom Flink, vice-president of worldwide channel and market development for Citrix.

The first piece was building the right solution portfolio. Citrix already had XenApp Fundamentals, and last year with the emergence of the desktop virtualization market Citrix also acquired Kaviza, a virtual desktop infrastructure vendor. As the portfolio came together, Flink said they realized they needed a strong channel program to specifically target SMB customers, which he defines generally as fewer than 500 seats.

“We wanted to ensure we were very specific about targeting those channel partners that serve SMB customers, with support to meet the unique needs of the SMB channel,” said Flink.

The new specialization will have a lower barrier to entry with an annual US$300 fee, one-third the cost of the main partner program. And until May 1st, Citrix is waiving the fee. Technical and sales training and certification is also free online. There’s also no revenue requirement for the SMB program.

“It gives these partners a way to brand themselves as an SMB partner, access to demo products and training that is simple and free,” said Flink. “And because the product is channel-ready, we believe they’ll have the capability to go out and deliver pretty quickly.”

While some of Citrix’s existing partners also sell into the SMB, Flink said they’re looking to add 1000 new SMB-focused partners globally and, based on initial uptake, he thinks the target is easily achievable.

“We’re focused on the productivity of partners versus the number of partners in the program, and we want to ensure partners that join with Citrix remain profitable with our technology,” said Flink.

In Canada, he said there are many SMB resellers that have close, trusted advisor relationships with their clients. He sees the Citrix SMB program and products as an opportunity to develop a managed service business for desktops as a service.

“Canada has many pockets of the country where the SMB customer is really the bulk of the market, and this really opens up a whole new opportunity for partners that want to build a solution around Citrix and our virtual desktop infrastructure offerings,” said Flink.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.