We’re pleased to present this guest post by Paul Kunze, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, IntraSystems, Braintree, Massachusetts, our Citrix 2017 WW Partner of the Year.

It’s that time of year when we all reflect on the successes and challenges of the past year and look ahead to coming opportunities. Since being announced as the first-ever Citrix Worldwide Partner of the Year at Summit 2018, we’ve had an incredible year here at IntraSystems. Step-by-step, we’ve continued to leverage resources to build a team that is well-versed in cloud, cloud security, and identity management.

What Lies Ahead in the Journey to the Cloud

One thing that has changed — and where Citrix is really driving business — are vendors now including some portion of their solution with cloud-tenant rights. We’re seeing this across security and back-up products. The reality is that no customer will put everything into one cloud platform. They’ll have something on-premises, something in Azure, applications in different clouds, as well as their own cloud.

When vendors pick a cloud platform, the customer may not need access to the platform because it’s embedded in the product. For example, if you look at Citrix Cloud Workspace, with the management plane being in Azure, the customer has no need to access it. A lot of their key vendors have already bought into this and have started deployment within a cloud platform. This continues to make the customer conversation about “going cloud” much easier.

Security has been on our radar for the past 20-plus years. As such, moving forward into 2019, preventing cyber attacks from interrupting business has moved front and center. Customers want to move to cloud, but they need assurance that their data and communications are protected. This is another reason why Citrix, as a security leader in the market, is a critical component to our business. Citrix is unique in providing user experience, security, data access, and applications. Very few vendors, if any, provide solutions in all four areas. Citrix, due to this unique position, can provide layered security in all four levels.

I think the driving force behind our success as Partner of the Year — and our ability to continue delivering business value — has been our relationships. Building strong relationships on both ends of the business is essential. Attending Summit each year provides a unique opportunity to meet Citrix and its partners face-to-face, which enables us to continue reinforcing and expanding our network.

Building Relationships at Summit

Knowing the leadership group at Citrix is critical; attending Summit every year has helped me build invaluable executive relationships over the years. I have had one-on-one conversations with Citrix President and CEO David Henshall, and I know all the AVPs. Without me being there, they may not know who I am. Because I attend so often, I get to nurture these one‑on‑one relationships.

Summit has also helped me build an alliance of business owners. When I attend, I look for people who will share business ideas, discuss the good and bad of what’s going on, and talk about the future. I’m lucky to have a good group of alliance partners that I work with on a monthly basis. We throw around ideas around that may or may not be Citrix-related. It may be health insurance for your company, tax implications, as well as other various topics that come up during the year. I find that having a group of owners that have a similar practice and a similar business to IntraSystems offers a lot of value.

There is so much to learn at Summit, and bringing the right people is key. It’s very difficult for me as a business owner to take all the Summit content and bring it back to my team. There’s a limit to how much one person can learn at Summit. I highly recommend that companies take employees from sales, the technical side of your house, as well as from the marketing side, so your company can absorb all of that valuable information and put it into play as the year rolls along.

Summit also helps me get the most out of the Citrix ecosystem. A lot of vendors want us to sell their products, but it’s difficult to take on a new product and see where the fit is. I use Summit as my opportunity to meet all the Citrix Ready partners that are trying to gain access to my business. I can meet with them at Summit and can ask Citrix personnel about which products they feel are beneficial.

I am busy planning my agenda for Summit ’19 and I’m feeling very optimistic about the opportunities for the week. In the meantime, let’s connect on Twitter — follow me at @pkunze. See you in Orlando!

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Paul Kunze is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at IntraSystems, a leading Citrix Platinum Solution Advisor since 1996 and a Citrix Service Provider (CSP) and Specialist Partner.