Published: January 16th, 2014

Partners of Citrix Systems left the vendor’s annual Summit partner conference in Orlando this week with new promos, insight into the vendor’s product roadmap, new certifications and insight into the company’s strategic direction. Oh, and a surprise concert by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

To ensure partners won’t be livin’ on a prayer in 2014, this year Citrix combined its Summit partner conference with its annual internal sales team kickoff meeting. Previously, Summit had been held in May alongside the vendor’s Synergy user conference.

About 2,000 partners and 2,000 members of the Citrix sales team attended the event, and Citrix global channel chief Tom Flink (one of CDN‘s 13 tweeting channel chiefs) said it was very beneficial for partners and for Citrix to have everyone start the year together, and on the same page.

“Partners heard from the sales leadership team about our objectives for the year, we were able to share material we weren’t able to share publicly, and bring them into conversations about things we’re doing, and are thinking about doing,” said Flink. “It also sends a very strong message to our own people that our partners are a very important extension of the team.”

Both groups heard Citrix talk about what the vendor is calling the customer journey, and how the company would like them to talk to customers about Citrix solutions not in a tactical, product-focused sense, but in a strategic way, identifying opportunities at each stage of the customer lifecycle, from desktop virtualization to cloud services to mobility.

“We want partners to solve pain points, address broad business needs and drive business value through initiatives such as BYO and workplace transformation, as well as building a flexible infrastructure based on public and private cloud,” said Flink.

Mobility will be another focus for Citrix in 2014, building on the mobile workstyles messaging that was launched in 2013. Citrix sees its core strengths in desktop virtualization, application virtualization, networking, cloud orchestration as necessary components of the infrastructure necessary to enable cloud services and a mobile workforce.

“Citrix is focused on mobile workstyles and the cloud services that power then. It’s all about people,” said Flink. “A mobile workstyle is about people and the work they do.”

Partners also got training in sales enablement, customer conversation and the value of demos, participated in hands-on labs with the technical team, and completed some 304 technical certifications during the conference.

North American partners are also going home with two new promos. The first, called Advisor Rewards Plus, sees partners certified in XemMobile get a five per cent upfront discount when they purchase the product, in addition to the standard backend rebate. For platinum partners, it could add up to 17 points of margin.

The second program is around net new customers. Any partner that brings in a customer across any product line that has not had any business with Citrix  in two years gets a 50 per cent bonus on Advisor Rewards, which could reach 18 points of backend margin for Platinum partners.

The ecosystem was also in the spotlight at Summit. Guest keynotes by Microsoft and Cisco highlighted efforts around joint product development and how joint partners are being enabled to bring solutions to market. Dell was on hand to discuss its Citrix-based channel bundles, and Google demonstrated how Citrix solutions such as Receiver can add value to Chromebooks by delivering a Windows-based laptop to the low-cost laptops.