Contract Watch: Citrix Makes Partner Play

By Joseph C. Panettieri  |  Print this article Print

New Symbol leadership should boost channel: Will it become "Cisco East"?

Citrix Systems Inc. is ringing in the New Year with a new certification program for its MetaFrame software suite.

The Citrix Certified Integration Architect (CCIA) prepares integrators to analyze, design, test, rollout and support multi-user environments running Citrix's software. The certification program includes a series of exams and hands-on lab tests.

I've got to admit: I've never been a big fan of certifications. Most of them aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Still, it's hard for solutions providers to ignore Citrix. Ninety-seven companies within the Fortune 100 are Citrix customers, including the top 10 U.S. banks, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

Citrix has more lives than a cat. During the late 1990s, many pundits (including myself) predicted Citrix would collapse because Microsoft Corp. was building its own terminal services for Windows NT and (later) Windows 2000. In theory, Microsoft's multi-user software would eliminate the need for Citrix's own software packages, which allowed all types of clients to access centralized Windows applications. At the time, current Citrix CEO Mark Templeton was vice president of marketing at the company. He adamantly told pessimists like me that Microsoft and Citrix were close partners, and that Citrix would enjoy a healthy future.

In this case, the pundits were wrong and Templeton was right. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Citrix's year-over-year revenue rose a healthy 14 percent to $430.9 million and net income jumped 67 percent to $90.7 million. Not bad for a company that some analysts had left for dead.

Gold's Gym International is the latest customer to bulk up on Citrix's software. Gold's is rolling out MetaFrame and Wyse terminals within the 100-plus franchise gyms it opens each year. The gym chain says centralized applications cut IT costs by more than 50 percent by eliminating desktop software administration issues.

Citrix is on a roll. Read about its recent acquisition of the maker of GoToMyPC.

Deal 2 – Courts Rule in Favor of Linux: While the SCO Group Inc. drags the Linux industry into court, The Titan Corp. has found strong demand for Linux within the legal system. Indeed, the San Diego-based solutions provider recently won a $17 million contract to install and maintain Red Hat Enterprise Linux within the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC). The deal includes a partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co., which provides ProLiant servers running Red Hat's software. It's nice to see the Linux industry pushing forward, despite SCO's legal barbs.

SCO may find it has its own problems. Read how Novell is taking them on.

Deal 3 – EDS's Cup Runneth Over: Electronic Data Systems Corp. says it has signed $300 million worth of contracts with beverage companies around the world. The list of EDS customers includes Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine, and Latin American bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA.

Small solutions providers can learn a lot from the marketing folks at EDS and Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC). Every few weeks, EDS and CSC aggressively promote their latest contract wins, briefly describing customers who are signing up for their respective IT services. In stark contrast, most small solutions providers rarely mention customer wins on their Web sites. Some even lack online press rooms for nosy folks like me.

Deal 4 – Symbol Becomes Cisco East: This isn't a channel deal, per say, but it's important to note that a changing of the guard is underway at Symbol Technologies Inc. The Long Island-based barcode and wireless systems company today announced that Symbol President Bill Nuti replaces CEO and Acting Chairman Richard Bravman, effective immediately.

This move has been in the works for more than a year, and is great news for solutions providers. Nuti is a Cisco Systems Inc. veteran with a strong commitment to the channel. Over the past two years or so, several Symbol executives have stepped down amid accounting problems at the company. Nuti wasn't tied to the accounting controversy, and his leadership should allow the company to move forward with aggressive Wi-Fi, RFID and other wireless initiatives.

Several mid- and senior-level sources within Symbol say company employees are thrilled to have Nuti at the helm. Watch for solutions providers to cheer the move, as well.

About Contract Watch: Each week, this column examines customer engagements that are stirring the channel, and the solutions providers behind them. Our goal is to strip away the hype and tell you what's really selling—and what isn't—in today's IT marketplace. Send your tips to my e-mail address below.

Joseph C. Panettieri (joe_pan5@yahoo.com) has covered Silicon Valley since 1992. He is editorial director of the New York Institute of Technology .