You Need a Citrix Partner, Not Just a Citrix Reseller
So you’ve made the decision to install (or keep) Citrix. That’s good because the product has many financial and operations benefits. So why do you need a Citrix Partner over just a Citrix Reseller? The diagram below is part of the reason, but there is more to it than that, and we need to provide some additional background to tell the whole story.
First of all, what are partners and resellers and why do they exist? I’m not sure that many customers have really thought about this or what the impact of this style of business has on them.
You have probably heard the term “channel partner” mentioned in your dealings with IT product vendors, and you might have wondered exactly what that meant. This term refers to the sales channel and all the various ways that a vendor can sell products. For example, a direct sales force, mail order, and OEM sales (where their product is imbedded in another product like Windows on a PC), are all examples of components in a sales channel. In this case though, channel partner refers to third party companies that are used to act as the sales force for a hardware or software manufacturer. This concept has been around for years and these independent sales companies have traditionally been called “Manufacturer’s reps” or “agents”. So why doesn’t the software or hardware product vendor simply hire a team of salespeople that are employees of the company? Simple… lower costs.
The manufacturer pays the channel partner a commission when they sell their products, which means that they are paid nothing unless they sell something. This is especially enticing to smaller, or start-up companies that are trying to get the best sales coverage for the least amount of money. Since there are so many start-ups in the IT business, the channel partner concept is heavily used in this industry.
If you look at it from a 50,000 foot level, this channel partner approach would seem like the best of all worlds for everyone involved, wouldn’t it? Well, there are some drawbacks to it as well.
- First, the manufacturer does not have direct control over the channel partner and how much time they spend selling their product as opposed to other products they may have in their portfolio. This means that it is more difficult to guarantee that the effort necessary for them to make their sales goals is put forth.
- Second, since the channel partner is an independent company, the manufacturer does not have direct control over the quality of representation they get from the channel partner. It is a difficult job keeping up-to-date on the many products a channel partner is likely to represent. Also, hiring competent people is also a challenge for most channel partners.
- Finally, a good channel partner company will always have the customer’s best interests in mind and strive to become a virtual business partner with the customer, not just a provider of products and services. This means that sometimes immediate sales opportunities need to be delayed or advised against because they are not the right thing for the customer to do. This is an ethics issue and some channel partner sales people or management may find it hard to do what’s right
With this background in mind, let’s get back to the original statement that you need a Citrix Partner, not just a Citrix reseller. Citrix is like most other manufacturers in the IT products space and they use channel partners. Some of these channel partners offer services in the form of design, installation, support and consulting, and this is what sets them apart from just Citrix resellers, who simply sell the products with no add-on expertise. Citrix is a complex and comprehensive solution that touches every part of your IT infrastructure as shown in the diagram above, and if it is not designed and implemented properly, it can be problematic.
So… not only do you need a Citrix Partner instead of just a Citrix reseller, but you need a partner with the experience to be able to effectively deal with all the subsystems that Citrix touches, but that also has the ethics to do the right thing on your behalf when that situation presents itself.