It’s a good time to be Citrix’s partner: Eklavya Bhave, Head – Channels and Alliances (India & SAARC), Citrix

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With the importance of the channel community improving significantly, Citrix has strengthened its channel team. Eklavya Bhave, Head – Channels and Alliances (India & SAARC), Citrix, shares how the company is enhancing the capability of its channel partners to significantly improve business opportunities

Q. What are some of the key initiatives that Citrix has taken with respect to the channel community?
We are primarily partner focused and a lot of focus is again coming back on that side. Internally, we have added three more people in the partner organization this year. While the regular business will keep happening to us through the sales organization, it is also important for us to keep updating the partner community about what is new and what are the use cases that can be referenced.

From an external point of view, we had kind of controlled the number of partners and in India we didn’t want it to go to many partners, because we wanted to spend quality time with them. This year, we embarked on the journey of at least doubling the partners in India and we are almost half way.

Q. From a Citrix point of view, how is India different from rest of the other markets?
The beginning of 2016 was fantastic and we had our global kick off in January, where all the partners across the world as well as all the Citrix employees came under one roof in our summit in January and India was recognized as one of the top three regions in the world. 2016 for us was an excellent event as all our product lines were in leadership positions. Indian businesses are adopting cloud in a big way, and hence, compared to other regions, India has leapfrogged to the cloud.

Q. How have you grown your partner base?
If you had asked me this in January, I would have given you a different answer but we have grown almost like fifty percent in the last 5 months. So, we have close to 82 partners now.

Q. Can you explain your positioning with respect to the Indian market?
While every company today is talking about the cloud, the advantage we have over other companies is that we were always doing virtualization. This is unlike other companies, who have completely new solutions for the cloud. Cloud is a reality today, and we are working closely with many of our partners, for developing cloud-related solutions. We have several partners who are very strong in cloud-related.

Q. What’s the kind of messaging do you want to give to your partners so that they are with you in this growth journey?
I am looking at two or three things from the entire ecosystem, the coverage capability from our partner ecosystem and profitability for them. So, from the coverage perspective, we are making sure that we are present wherever there is a business both for us as well as for the partner ecosystem. The second is capability. So, while the partner brings his or her own capability, we are making sure that this capability is enhanced. We do this by investing heavily in conducting hands on training, arranging one to one sessions and providing demo kits to them. We also regularly interact with our partners on a day to day basis, so that they can get a bigger share of the markets that they operate in. We believe that this is a good time to be Citrix partner, because they can do good business. Secondly, partners also have an opportunity to grow in the cloud – an area where every partner wants to be. Thirdly, we are telling a story which is very pertinent for the customer. And fourthly, we are investing. So, it is not just plain talk. We are investing in people and taking a series of initiatives for improving the profitability of our partners.