“A relationship is an organism. You created this thing and then you starved it, so it turned against you. Same thing happened to the Blob.”,  Jerry Seinfeld.
- Seinfeld Episode: The Ex-Girlfriend

In my last blog post we talked about how building the best solution (the ‘steak’) and coupling it with the best program to encourage trial and deployment (the ‘sizzle’) is the basic recipe for success. This time around we’re going to discuss some of the core tools a great partnership is built on and also cover a few things that risk turning your partner relationship into the Blob.

To kick this off, let’s cover a few things to avoid first so we can focus on those helpful tools last. In the ‘Blob’ category, and in no particular order:

  • Way back in my first blog post I introduced the idea that good partners ‘give before they get’. This is fairly self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how often a partner will approach Citrix with the idea that within a few interactions they will be: 1) interacting with our top sales people and / or channel folks or; 2) Citrix will be recommending and / or bundling their products with ours. These are possible outcomes in the very long-term, but come with a much deeper, meaningful relationship (e.g. the Microsoft and Citrix relationship).
  • Expecting an unrealistic / overnight payoff from simply certifying a product through our Citrix Ready program. That’s an important step, but only one ingredient to a good over-all partner strategy.
  • Asking Citrix to endorse a product without certifying it through Citrix Ready (tsk, tsk).
  • Early in a budding relationship, trying to short-circuit the mutual business-building process by demanding a meeting with our VP of Sales / CEO / CTO, etc. Again, these meetings do occur, but they are almost always built around an agenda of shared business, customer and / or product work that has driven significant value in the relationship.

OK enough relationship ‘Blobs’, let’s talk about those very helpful and useful tools. Below is what we consider the ‘core’ set of tools that any partner should have to really build that strong joint business we’re all after:

  • A simple one to be sure, but it’s so core it has to be listed – a 1 page (can be front and back) data sheet on the solution including an overview of the product / solution, the value for customers and how the solution complements its Citrix counterpart.
  • The necessary evil – a one page PowerPoint slide overview of the solution and a 2-3 page version that combines slide one (the overview) with more product and technical details.
  • A white paper on your product / solution that either partner would feel more than happy to pass along to joint customers. Length isn’t as important as having solid content, but these things usually fall into a 4 page format (e.g. A3 format).
  • Once there is enough joint business it is critical to get a customer success story published. Citrix has an evidence team that is always looking for good case studies so don’t be afraid to ask Citrix for help if you have a great customer with a killer story to share.
  • For more technical solutions, especially when hardware components are integral (e.g. servers, storage, etc.), a reference architecture doc is critical for POCs and (later) production deployments. These typically include the configurations, scaling and sizing’s that come into play, and any best practices for production environments.

The list above should be considered the core set of tools, but is in no way meant to be the only set of tools that might be built or that could be useful. Every partner solution is unique so we expect some variation.

To sum up, to build a great partnership you have to invest in the relationship, otherwise you run the risk of it turning into the Blob. One great (and necessary) investment is in the tools that will help your solution be understood, trialed, and sold to our joint customers. The core set of tools outlined above are just a starting point, we’re always interested in seeing new and interesting partner ideas!

Next time we’ll take a look at Citrix Receiver and review some of the new and interesting partner devices that are being used in Citrix environments.