Citrix South Africa: ‘Let’s talk about commitment’

Many think Citrix is merely a desktop and app virtualisation company, but there’s a whole lot more for partners to deliver, says Brendan Mc Aravey, South Africa country manager.

Citrix doesn’t want opportunistic partners, says country manager Brendan McAravey.

What does it take to have a successful partnership? It’s all about commitment, says Brendan Mc Aravey, Citrix South Africa country manager.

McAravey told ITWeb on the sidelines of his company’s ‘Synergy’ conference in Orlando, US, this week that since he joined the company three years ago, there had been a huge focus on building the channel. This involved teaching its staff new skills, as well as doubling the sales force.

“We’re a channel company and the first thing we did is fix distribution,” says McAravey.

“We’re increasing the breadth, but we don’t want too many partners because I want a partner with the right skills.

“Our product relies on technical understanding; so it’s not a run-rate product. We have to educate the seller, and people actually have to understand what it does. You need people to invest and train their staff. You need evangelists.”

McAravey says it’s often a long journey to convince companies to adopt Citrix.

“A company has to understand its app landscape, and then they have to POC (proof of concept) it, and budget for it. It takes time to understand all these considerations.”

He says he’s often surprised when speaking to senior IT professionals about desktop and app virtualisation, and ‘you think they understand you, but then they ask a question, and you can tell they didn’t understand. It takes time for the penny to drop.’

He says Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov, who joined the company a year and a half ago, has focussed the company around its core business: the secure delivery of apps and data and enabling people to digitally transform.

“People don’t realise what a difficult task it is with apps which weren’t designed for a world of mobility and cloud.”

What opportunities exist for the channel?
“To become a partner, we don’t make you jump through hoops. You can be authorised to sell the product, and one of your sales people must become a Citrix certified sales professional,’ he says.

“There’s no real barriers to entry to becoming a partner, but for you to get rebates on the product, we expect you to certify your people.”

“Our challenge is we don’t want partners who are opportunistic. We want people to invest in development. Unless you’ve got someone who’s focussed, they’re not going to be able to harness the capability of the product,” he says.

“If you’re a medium sized company, you don’t have megabucks to spend on security, and you’re probably better off in the cloud. We’re well positioned for the new world: Cloud, mobility and security.” 

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