When we began drawing up plans with Microsoft last summer for what would become Cloud Alliance, none of us realized how well received this channel initiative would be! Through a combination of deep technical training, and sales and marketing aid, participating partners can  grow their skills and deliver powerful cloud solutions from Citrix, with the users deployed in Microsoft Azure, our strategic and preferred public cloud. This end-to-end support offers value to partners each step of the way, from initial customer qualification through deployment of Citrix Cloud-managed users into Microsoft Azure.

What really makes Cloud Alliance rise above the rest is the Azure-based, pre-built demo environment our joint partners can leverage with customers.

For decades, we’ve “trained” customers to expect that proofs-of-concept (POCs) require a big commitment in terms of hardware and time from already overworked IT staff. The Azure-based demo environment that Cloud Alliance partners can leverage is a game changer. Everything is already installed, configured, and connected. Partners can dive right in and immediately showcase the full value of an integrated Citrix and Microsoft solution with no wasted effort or need for on-premises hardware.

This prebuilt environment recovers valuable partner selling time that was previously consumed with installing and configuring software, running scripts, and the inevitable mistakes people make (and then have to troubleshoot and fix) performing basic setup tasks.

Now, partners can consistently deliver a great and simple experience to more potential customers. In fact, Cloud Alliance has caused some partners to combine their Microsoft and Citrix consulting practice silos to better share skills and expertise within their companies, driving even greater customer satisfaction.

Because the Citrix Workspace demo environment is hosted in Microsoft Azure, interested customers don’t have to allocate hardware or scarce IT resources to prepare. Our partners can simply schedule a POC with a prospective customer on Friday and start a tightly scoped, five-day, personalized POC the following Monday!

Over the past few months, our Cloud Alliance partners’ experiences have yielded fascinating insights into the state of cloud adoption. We’ve seen leading-edge priorities and perennial IT challenges such as seasonal/variable elasticity, limited in-house IT support, and DevOps to name a few. With the combination of Citrix cloud solutions and migrating users to Microsoft Azure, partners participating in Cloud Alliance are solving these challenges, and solving them fast.

For added context, check out our “Top 5 Use Cases for Selling Cloud” infographic and the video below.

Cloud Alliance Partners Share Their Stories

But don’t take my word for it. We asked two Cloud Alliance partners who’ve already achieved considerable success to share their experiences.

Conecto Makes a Strong Move into the Cloud-Adoption Market

In the past two years, Denmark-based Conecto has transitioned its business focus from on-premises environments to cloud.

“We believe that any application has to be delivered with the best possible user experience and on a flexible platform,” says Christian Fenneberg, the firm’s lead concept manager (right). “We can’t do that on-premises in a hardware-enclosed environment, so we provide it in the cloud. And the only way we can do that is with the technology from Citrix.”

While Citrix was already a core element of Conecto’s business, Cloud Alliance has made a big difference in its market success.

“Cloud Alliance is a major game changer for us,” Fenneberg says. “We’re able to fund POCs. We’re able to help our customers take their first step into the cloud. And we can prove that the solutions we provide will work.”

Even a highly skilled firm can benefit from technical training as it adopts new ways of working in the cloud, and Conecto has taken ample advantage of the educational opportunities available through Cloud Alliance. The Citrix Demo Center has proven particularly valuable as well. “Sometimes you have to see things to believe them,” Fenneberg says. “And here we can show them true value, whether with the pre-built demo or with a modified, personalized POC.”

One Conecto customer, a large Danish construction company, needed a way to provide 3D applications to its engineers. After waiting months for new graphics cards to arrive for its on-premises environment, the company decided to take a different approach, hoping to move quickly to make up for lost time.

“Within a very short time frame, we delivered GPU-powered applications with GPUs from the cloud. Thanks to Cloud Alliance, we were able to show them, without a major investment on their part, the value that Citrix and Microsoft Azure could provide,” Fenneberg says.

Fenneberg considers the short lead time required to present a POC to be the greatest impact of Cloud Alliance on Conecto’s business, helping it compete more effectively for new opportunities and fill its calendar aggressively.

Cloud Alliance has made it possible for a small firm like Conecto to do business like a major player. “It’s truly changing everything, and we’re doing partnerships now that we haven’t done before. We’ve signed up with the largest Microsoft partner in Denmark and they’re able to push us into the Microsoft arena, which we couldn’t penetrate before,” Fenneberg says.

Xenit Meets the Demand for Proven, High-Performance Digital Workspace Solutions

Founded 10 years ago, Xenit AB helps medium to enterprise businesses in Sweden introduce modern workplaces and modern work styles. “Citrix technology makes our vision possible,” says Adam Clark, a solutions architect and business relationship manager at the firm.

In recent years, Xenit customers have moved quickly to embrace the cloud as a way to increase IT flexibility and business agility, and the firm has modified its business and service delivery models accordingly. A Citrix partner since its inception, Xenit added a Microsoft partnership to provide the complete solutions its customers sought. “For our clients, Microsoft is the foundation of IT and digital infrastructure, and Citrix is a key value-add,” says Xenit Founder and CEO Linus Lindstrom (right). “They really appreciate that we have both Microsoft and Citrix partnerships.”

The POC support offered through Cloud Alliance helps Xenit address its customers’ concerns about cloud adoption. “Security isn’t as much of a topic as it once was; people trust Microsoft, Citrix, and the secure platform they provide in the cloud. Performance is now one of the most important parts to prove to the customer, and the POC helps us do that,” Lindstrom says.

One Xenit customer had formerly hosted its infrastructure on-premises with maintenance provided through an outsourcing partner. When the company required performance and scalability beyond the scope of its in-house IT organization, it turned to the cloud.

“They had heard the cloud was expensive and were unsure about performance as well,” Lindstrom says. “We were able to carry out a POC quickly to prove how much it would cost to run their workloads in Azure, as well as showing that Citrix Cloud provided a scalable platform they could grow with. We wouldn’t have been able to do this as quickly without Cloud Alliance resources.”

Cloud Alliance is now the foundation of Xenit’s business model and service delivery models.

“The biggest benefit for Cloud Alliance partners is that there’s a framework for working together, including how to communicate with the end customer, what we should do to make the deal, and how it should be implemented technically — everything from beginning to end,” Lindstrom says. “It’s something that many partners would benefit from, whether they’re too small to create that framework on their own, or they’re very big and just need some more inspiration to develop their own frameworks even further.”

Lindstrom sees a bright future for Xenit with Cloud Alliance. “Cloud Alliance represents trust. Trust between Microsoft and Citrix. Trust between Citrix, Microsoft, and the partner. And also trust between all four parties: Microsoft, Citrix, the partner, and the customer. We share risk, but we also share the winnings. And that’s a good thing. 2018 has been filled with really, really great change. And we think 2019 will be even better.”

Moving Forward with Cloud Alliance

Citrix and Microsoft will continue to support and invest in great partners who take this cloud journey with us. If you haven’t yet made Cloud Alliance part of your business, speak with your Partner Account Manager (Citrix) or Partner Development Manager (Microsoft) and start delivering the Citrix on Azure solutions your customers need!

Visit our Cloud Alliance page by signing into SalesIQ and get access to detailed overviews and getting started documents. Not a Citrix partner yet? We can help with that, too; simply visit our Partner with Citrix page and see how easy it is!