Welcome to Anaheim! It is thrilling to see so many channel partners and Citrix Sales here at Citrix Summit 2018, enjoying what our team has been building for many months. The Anaheim Convention Center has been buzzing with conversation, and I hope to have the opportunity to catch up with you while we’re here.

Last night’s All Hands was pretty inspiring, with more than 1,800 of you gathered together for the chance to make history and set a new world record for spelling the word WIN with a human body formation. The drone overhead captured some great photos, including this one:

The UCLA Bruin marching band started our morning with energy and enthusiasm, and reminded us—as Citrix CEO David Henshall said—that “Business truly is a team sport.” The conference officially began with today’s Vision Keynote, which I’ll recap for you shortly, but partners and Citrix teams began arriving over the weekend for the Instructor-led Learning Labs preconference workshop. Remember, two labs are included in your conference fee and are one of the most popular features at Summit, so don’t forget to preregister next year. If you weren’t able to make it this year, all topics are also available in Self-paced Learning Labs, available from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. tomorrow in Hall C.

Vision Keynote

Mark Ferrer, our new EVP and chief revenue officer, set the tone for the Vision Keynote by describing the evolution of our products into solution sets that really resonate with customers, partners and employees. Mark introduced CEO David Henshall for a look back at 2017 highlights—including a 122% increase in new patents and an 80% increase in product releases, along with improved quality—and a look ahead to 2018. As Citrix accelerates to cloud and unifies the portfolio, digital transformation is “not just an opportunity, it’s an obligation to our customers,” David said. “And it all starts with you.”

Mark then introduced Victor Rodriguez, chief technology officer of Health Choice Network, to share their organization’s journey to the cloud and the close collaboration with Citrix that was necessary to make it successful. Mark also welcomed Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research, to talk about the opportunity we have in front of us and share what she’s been hearing from enterprise customers.

Citrix technology is at the heart of workspace transformation for so many, Maribel explained, and customers need partners to guide them. “You are the front line of change,” she said. “Opportunity is all around you.” And her takeaway on our direction was encouraging: “I see a Citrix that is now playing to win.”

So much more happened on the keynote stage today: Craig Stilwell, vice president, Worldwide Partner Sales, recognized the first-ever Global Worldwide Partner of the Year, IntraSystems. He also unveiled the new partner incentive program, which you’ll learn more about during the conference and in the coming weeks. It’s all part of the pledge to be your first, best partner that Craig made at Summit 2017, as well as a commitment to simplify doing business with Citrix.

And, speaking of simplifying, senior vice president, business strategy, and CMO Tim Minahan revealed the simplified product naming, messaging and positioning that will make the portfolio easier for partners to sell—and for customers to buy.

Hot sessions

Partners are really focused on accelerating to the cloud; that much is clear by the discussions I’m having and by the sessions they’re attending. The most in-demand seem to be our Geek Speak @ Summit Theater sessions—these are short, focused sessions presented by experts, and they are resonating with partners for the pain points they address.

Hot sessions today were GEEK108 Real-world partner experiences with customer cloud migrations—which attracted a standing-room-only crowd—and GEEK103 Citrix Cloud services unplugged: best practices & lessons from the field. Both of these repeat, so if you missed them today, be sure to check the catalog for tomorrow’s times.

This year, as you’ve seen, Summit is emphasizing fewer, more targeted sessions with repeats of the most important topics so you can attend the most relevant for you without missing a thing. Here are the most popular breakouts from today, and the times you can catch them tomorrow:

  • TECH309: XenApp and XenDesktop tech update (January 2018 edition) (repeats Tuesday 9:45-11:30 a.m.)
  • TECH101: Citrix Cloud: overview, what’s new, momentum, direction (repeats Tuesday, 12:15-1:00 p.m.)
  • SELL112: Understanding the Citrix Analytics story (repeats Tuesday, 2:30-3:15 p.m.)

Remember, you can watch sessions on demand in Citrix SalesIQ beginning February 9. If you’re on-site, be sure to add tomorrow’s most in-demand sessions to your agenda. They include these sales and technical sessions:

  • SELL104: How to sell SD-WAN, traditional and through the cloud
  • SELL108: How to position and sell ADC in the new hybrid, multicloud world
  • TECH109: Understanding Citrix App Layering functionality and integration
  • TECH301: Look inside the Citrix Cloud service management plane architecture 

Looking ahead: Welcome Reception and Tuesday highlights

Are you joining me at the Welcome Reception? I’m headed there right now—it’s happening in The Exchange in Hall C from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. I’m planning to catch up with some colleagues and would love to hear your thoughts on the Vision Keynote and Tech Talks Keynote (which I’ll discuss more in tomorrow’s blog), as well as your Summit experience so far.

Don’t forget: the Certification Center is open tomorrow from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in room 202A at the Anaheim Convention Center, Level 2. Your Summit registration includes a free certification exam of your choice, so take some time for your professional advancement or as a step toward Citrix Specialization. Either tonight or tomorrow, be sure to stop by the Citrix Booth Experience to explore use cases in the demo stations and see Citrix solutions working in real-world environments. And remember, voting closes tomorrow for the Citrix Innovation Award for Partners—get your vote in before 11:59 a.m. PT!

We’ll close out tomorrow night at the Partner Appreciation Party as we Bring Back the 90s to celebrate #CitrixPartnerLove. Enjoy your Summit, and don’t forget to follow and post at #CitrixSummit!

Relive the Citrix Summit 2018 Vision and Tech Keynotes today on Citrix SalesIQ!