This is the fourth blog post in a series that discusses Citrix’ core values and their relevance for our partner ecosystem, both at a high level and on a day-to-day basis. Citrix summarizes the value of Curiosity as “We are continuously learning, innovating and improving.”
As many technology companies grow and mature, they face a tough challenge: how to sustain the spirit of innovation and exploration that got them started in the first place.
A big part of that spirit is Curiosity – always wondering, “what if?”
- What if we try an unconventional approach to solving a customer issue?
- What if we head off in a new direction regarding our target markets, our distribution model or the way we incentivize partners?
Risks and rewards of Curiosity
Of course, there are risks involved with imagining and trying new things. Being an innovator exposes a company to the possibility of failure – whether a financial setback or internal/external criticism. But at Citrix, we believe there’s an even greater risk in doing the same thing you’ve always done, just on a larger scale. Especially in the fast-changing technology sector, sticking with the status quo can be a recipe for losing your competitive edge.
Like any other company that values Curiosity, we have experienced various levels of success with our innovations and new ideas. The trick is to keep on learning and improving. It’s fortunate that a willingness to fail fast and try something different is in our DNA.
Curiosity leads to partner program improvements
Several years ago Citrix did something unheard of. We adopted a single distributor model in North America. Previously, we had four distis, but because they were marginalized, they weren’t able to achieve their full potential. When we decided to work solely with Ingram Micro, the initial reaction from partners was pretty strong. Many were concerned and upset – and I got an earful from them.
As it turned out, Ingram Micro took good care of our partners. In fact, within six months, almost all the partners who had called me to complain now said they were happy and were moving more of their lines of business through Ingram Micro.
But we are always focused on improving in the here and now. After a number of years and evolving market trends, we became curious about the benefits Citrix and our partners could gain from additional enhancements to the model. So we’re sparking up new ways of doing business. While Ingram Micro continues to be a valued distributor, we’re going back to using multiple distis in North America. This time Citrix is offering them better opportunities for value-added activities, such as partner enablement, marketing and technical support for deals that work towards our strategic goals. Read Rafael Garzon’s blog.
Another example of how Curiosity led to big program changes is Citrix Advisor Rewards.
Imagine rewarding partners who worked hard on a deal but didn’t actually sell the licenses! Back in 2004, this wasn’t done anywhere else in the industry. But we believed Advisor Rewards could help on multiple fronts – raising customer satisfaction, encouraging solution-focused selling – so we took the plunge. We stuck our necks out and ended up creating a new trend that has impacted the way partners are respected and compensated across the channel. Our model was so successful that many channel companies have since adopted it.
One of the three components of our Curiosity value is continuous learning. Citrix constantly acquires new insights and information from many sources, including thought leaders, competitors, customers, employees and – most especially – our partners.
We rely on partners to tell us about the “real world” of customer needs and preferences so we can continue to develop targeted solutions. They also serve as a sounding board regarding our success in nurturing partner relationships, from higher business growth and revenues to greater ease of doing business with Citrix. We are genuinely interested in hearing about what works and what does not.
To collect partners’ knowledge, opinions and suggestions, we have put a number of processes in place. Group events, from Citrix Summit to regional councils, are one way. On an individual basis, our partner account managers (PAMs) conduct joint business management planning with partners. Citrix also conducts net promoter score surveys and other kinds of questionnaires, plus extensive outreach to get feedback.
Curiosity vs. complacency
Especially for large organizations like Citrix, Curiosity is an antidote to complacency. By continuing to learn, innovate and improve, Citrix stays nimble and open to new opportunities. Our global partner ecosystem plays a critical role in encouraging us to find new and better technologies, solutions, processes and programs – and we are always up for the challenge!
Stay tuned for the next blog in the series, which will focus on the value of Courage and what it means for Citrix and our partnerships. See you then!
Missed the first, second or third installment in the series? Read them here: Citrix Values Are “True North” for Successful Partner Relationships; Integrity Is the Foundation that Partnerships Are Built On; Citrix Core Value of Respect is a Two-way Street
Craig Stilwell, Worldwide VP of Partner Sales & Strategy, has more than 23 years of technology experience, including more than 17 years at Citrix, most recently serving as Area Vice President of our U.S. Commercial business responsible for all sales and products in the U.S. Commercial segment. Previously, Craig served in several roles at Citrix, notably as Vice President of Americas Channel Sales & Field Operations.
Connect with Craig on Twitter: @CraigTStilwell
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