There’s something I’d like you all to know about me. I am a Geek and proud of it!

So, it should come as no surprise when I say I am a HUGE Star Wars fan (Episodes IV through VI, that is)! Having grown up with Luke, Leia, Han (yes, we’re on a first name basis) and Chewy (as he likes to be called by his closest friends), it was great to see the faces of our old (emphasis on old) friends in the latest trailer for the new movie.

In my opinion, what makes Star Wars so successful is that the movies aren’t about one character or singular hero, but that each character is important and is needed at their own unique critical moments. What would have happened if Han Solo didn’t sweep in to protect Luke’s back when he was trying to blow up the Death Star? The movies are about more than just ONE individual, it’s about an ALLIANCE of rebels working together to create a successful outcome. In short, they’re about the power of teamwork.

At Citrix, we follow this same belief: that multiple pieces (or characters) are needed to build a successful solution (or defeat the Empire). This means you need the ability to choose the right infrastructure and software for your organization so that you can create your successful outcome. You don’t want to be forced to source all aspects of your solution from one place simply because that’s what one vendor wants you to do. Vendors know how to make great technologies, but you know your business best. Why settle for only one?

Citrix has always understood the value and importance of choice and have enabled our customers to create solutions that meet their changing needs. In our 25+ years as a company, partnering has always been part of our DNA. It’s at our core, and we know how to do it right. We are open and we work with our partners – much like the Rebel Alliance – to drive toward a common vision. In the case of IT, it is to deliver great solutions that are built around our customers’ choice and requirements.

While other vendors are only scratching the surface of what it means to be open, Citrix has ALWAYS focused on providing customers choice. Just look at Citrix Ready, our partner verification program which supports all partner types and Citrix products. Often imitated, but never duplicated, our partner program (aka Rebel Alliance) is the embodiment of customer choice. I know, I was on the team that launched it eight years ago. Customer choice was the number one reason we created the program, and the results speak for themselves. The program has 11x more partners and there are 10x more Citrix verified products featured in the Citrix Ready Marketplace as compared to those on the other (The “Dark”) side.

Why has this been a big focus for us? Because Citrix understands customers have varying requirements and those requirements change over time. Citrix Ready was purpose-built to enable customers to adapt to their changing needs with trusted and verified technologies – from hypervisors to applications to public clouds to servers to end points to printers and peripherals…I am just getting started. The important thing about this partner ecosystem is that it provides customers CHOICE. And a decision today, does not mean lock in – it’s simply a way to get started and adapt as needed.

Another incredibly important example of our support for customer choice is our partnership with Microsoft. We are the Han and Chewy of partnerships.

We have been partners for almost as long as Citrix has been in business. Citrix understands that for many of our customers Microsoft applications and infrastructure solutions are business critical and aren’t going away anytime soon. Our close partnership with Microsoft delivers a high quality customer experience and provides unique technology integration and interoperability. We are aligned in our goals, our sales teams work together, and we understand each other’s roadmaps. We drive success for our companies and more importantly, our customers.

Our customers are excited about Windows 10, and Citrix has worked to ensure our solutions deliver the best experience and ease any complexity for our customers as they make the transition.

Microsoft knows this and invited us to globally participate in their Windows 10 launch tour. VMware won’t be there. Another place VMware won’t be? The Azure Marketplace. (Curious why? Guess who doesn’t support Azure.). But XenApp, XenDesktop and NetScaler are there! As you can see, our partnership is REAL and our collaboration goes well beyond APIs and one-sided statements made during someone else’s keynote. Microsoft recently reinforced the strength of our partnership and lack thereof with others at a Citrix event last month.

I could name-drop others and list off all of the great ways we’re working with our broad ecosystem of industry leading partners, and we are! But, I’ll instead point you to other great blogs showcasing our partnerships and technology collaboration: Cisco, Nutanix, Intel, Google, and Samsung.

I could also talk about the out-of-the-gate ecosystem support we’ve received for Citrix Workspace Cloud and the partner CLM blueprints, but again, I’ll save that for another time. What I will say is that our partnerships, our technical collaboration, and our solutions are all in the name of customer choice and that’s “force”ful.

So, as you march into battle to create your end user computing solution, know that Citrix understands the need for choice.

We know you need an entire squadron of technologies, not just one, working together to create success. Citrix and our partners know IT and the demands you are under and THIS is why we work with our partners to provide customer choice. Don’t go to the dark side and get locked in. Instead, let the force of choice be with you. (Yes, I told you I was a geek)