Partners are the lifeblood of Citrix and Global Systems Integrators are essential to the partner ecosystem.
As manager of the Citrix global alliance partnership with Fujitsu, I am responsible for one of our biggest partners in terms of joint customers and bookings. To put this into perspective, Fujitsu has contributed a quarter of a billion dollars in fulfilled Citrix bookings in the past six years and received five of Citrix Global Systems Integrator Awards for 2017, including the company’s most prestigious partner innovation award. Fujitsu deploys and manages thousands of Citrix-based environments at many of the world’s largest enterprises and public-sector organizations.
Working together in more than 30 countries, I’ve learned firsthand how combining forces with partners can be a powerful recipe that drives growth. However, creating leverage and driving coordinated sales, marketing and technical initiatives is no easy task – especially when dealing with companies as large and distributed as Citrix and Fujitsu.
With that in mind and with 2017 underway, I’d like to share some key learnings and best practices from our Fujitsu relationship that others may find helpful.
So, here we go:
- Having strong executive participation and relationships is step one. It’s highly effective to have executives articulate the shared vision and strategy. I-CIO, Fujitsu’s online digital platform for C-level executives, recently invited Citrix CEO, Kirill Tatarinov, to offer his insights on the future workplace and the role of CIOs in leading digital transformation.
- Alliance Marketing is a bedrock element, but teaming on external customer events is just the start. What really moves the meter are more sophisticated account-based sales and marketing efforts targeting specific companies, industries and pain points. Additionally, customer success stories “paint pictures that are worth a thousand words.” Fujitsu was awarded the Citrix Partner Innovation Award 2016 for its Citrix-based hybrid cloud offering, GoDaaS. I encourage you to watch the video.
- Compelling partner programs incentivize and drive alignment and collaboration. A primary sales program we have sets quarterly and annual targets that support sales activities. Doing this is essential when dealing with different fiscal years and sales cycles. Together, we set agreed-upon goals and involve each region. Hitting goals translates into marketing development fund dollars and allows us to reinvest for future growth.
- Here, the key to success is staying focused on agreements that drive real-business results with simple to understand, mutually beneficial terms and conditions. The goal is also to establish a contract that provides global scope and flexibility to amend and expand in the future. Few things can undermine the effectiveness of a global alliance faster than a bad contract. An excellent resource is The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals.
- Let’s not forget about the teams of people, frequently virtual, that carry out the actual work! Fundamental to this work dynamic are documented plans, constant communication about the few things requiring absolute focus, and inspired personnel. There is no substitute for an annual plan, weekly calls, quarterly business reviews and periodic business trips. The saying “if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist” rings true. Constantly communicating and reinforcing priorities builds the belief system in the partnership and engenders the team’s commitment to persevere through inevitable challenges and stay the course. Citrix + Fujitsu are fortunate to have long tenure and stability among core personnel. I like to think this continuity is attributable to individual empowerment balanced by positive team structure. Both are essential building blocks to make the sum greater than the parts and to inspire people to do their best work.
In future blog posts, I will discuss other tools and topics related to global strategic alliances and welcome any input you may have on what’s working in your alliance world. In the meantime, to read more about Fujitsu and other alliance partners, read Steve Blacklock’s blog post on Citrix Summit. Thank you and have a great year!