We need to tap specialised skill sets among channel partners: Stanimira Koleva, Citrix

Stanimira Koleva, Senior Vice President and MD, Asia Pacific and Japan, Citrix

In an interaction with CRN, Stanimira Koleva, Senior Vice President and MD, Asia Pacific and Japan, Citrix, talks about the significance of the India market and the various initiatives being taken to tap the burgeoning market opportunities

How significant is India as a market for Citrix?
In India, our own teams, partners, as well as customers are always thinking of something new. It is one of the most technology savvy markets and fastest growing regions for Citrix. The country has been delivering very positive indications, especially around the government’s policies. Recently, I met the CIO of one of the largest manufacturing companies here in India and came to know that they’ve been looking at Blockchain to enable new ways of providing leasing and finance to their dealer channel as well as customers. It’s very impressive to see how fast they figured out the usage of Blockchain. What brings me here is the opportunity, as India is a critical market in the context of Citrix. We have major R&D setup here and it is one of the largest locations worldwide.

When you interact with the customers here in India vis-à-vis other markets, do you see any similarities in the way they approach a problem? Do you come across any common challenges being faced by them or it varies from market to market?
There are a few similarities that I can share along with flavours of how they pan out or manifest themselves. All the customers, for example, know that they need to adopt cloud and migrate to certain services and workloads. However, it happens very differently in various markets and that too at different speeds. Like in APJ, Australia and New Zealand, we see the most aggressive adoption of cloud – nine out of 10 customers that I speak with follow ‘cloud first’ strategy in whatever new service they adopt.

In the APJ region, India is second after Australia in terms of cloud adoption. The environment of the players in the market is evolving rapidly because you not only have all the big public cloud players like Microsoft, AWS and Google, but also a good and healthy local ecosystem of players. Besides, the country is leading the way in mobility solutions’ adoption.

On the other hand, the conservative markets like Japan or some markets in South East Asia, which are dominated by highly regulated industries, we see slower adoption of cloud. But, everyone is thinking in terms of how they are going to get there. However, across the regions, large enterprise will continue to live in a hybrid environment for years to come.
The other thing is everyone’s attention towards cyber security, which has become a prominent trend across the region. Even in India, enterprises are aware about vulnerabilities and how critical it is for them to protect their business environment. We want to play a role here by taking the multi-layered approach.

Another trend has been in the area of workspace transformation. In India, people see it as a key pivot for maintaining competitiveness in the business and growing productivity. In some countries like Japan, it is all regulatory driven. The government in Japan actually published rules of what workstyle innovation looks like. We see very different ways of them driving workspace transformation and they are now more aggressively looking at mobility, which India had been embarking on for years.

Is there any particular initiative that has been taken to tap the opportunities, which have come up as part of India’s digitisation drive?
We are looking at a couple of initiatives to beef up our capabilities to deliver extended services around mobility. We can work with large organisations for the deployment of mobility solutions or may be moving to cloud. Secondly, we are making an investment for geographical expansion in the country. We want to go beyond the metro areas, which is so far fairly well covered, and expand our footprint in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. These cities will be covered by our distribution network.

Since cyber security is one of the key focus areas for Citrix, are you going to engage with specialised partners in this domain?
Keeping cyber security in mind, we need to tap the specialised skill sets among the channel partners. We have started working with a few consulting organisations and service providers around security. We have to also look beyond how our actual channels are changing in terms of cloud versus on-premise capabilities. We may actually need to work with some new players around cloud and hyper convergence. Hyper convergence is very relevant to our business because it removes some of the complexity and upfront investment in spending on new services.

Going forward, what will be the key priorities for the company?
Apart from the technology priorities that have been mentioned above, we want to have more CIO conversations. Since more than 70 per cent of our business comes from large enterprises, it is imperative for us to increase our relevance among key decision makers. Besides, we are also looking to scale up our services portfolio. There is a lot of R&D effort being made towards integrating virtualisation with our networking portfolio; and we want to make sure that we offer more parts of our portfolio into the existing base.

As far as cloud is concerned, we don’t just see it as a new way of delivering IT. We need to make changes in the way we support customers in cloud. Cloud adoption services are becoming much more critical. From the investment point of view, it’s not all about convincing a customer to buy or testing it and figuring out if it works, but also being with them on the entire journey In the cloud domain, we are ready to change our model of interacting with partners and customers.

Lastly, we will continue to look at geo expansion and take initiatives to acquire new customers or maybe breaking into new mid-market and SME segments. We are also looking to revisit expansion of use cases in our large enterprise customers.


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