In a world of wireless connections, mobile devices, time constraints and busy people, remote access has become a necessity for a growing number of individuals and organizations.
With that in mind, Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has developed a suite of products to give users remote access to systems in a variety of situations. The applications give technicians the ability to log in to a user’s machine remotely, allow users to log in to their own machines from other locations and go to meetings without leaving their desks.
The company is recruiting VARs and integrators to use and sell the products.
To boost its VAR recruitment efforts, Citrix Online earlier this year got into two-tier distribution through partnerships with Ingram Micro Inc. and Alternative Technology Inc. The company already has 1,200 channel partners and is shooting for at least 2,000, said Shannon Jessup, director of worldwide channel programs at Citrix Online.
“We have not reached anywhere near market saturation,” she said.
Citrix Online’s approach to software distribution has a twist. Rather than licensing the software outright, the company sells its software as a managed service. It maintains the servers that control the meetings and remote access and distributes enabling client software by e-mail.
The pricing model owes more to cable carriers or telcos than to traditional software licensing.
For resellers, this approach means recurring revenue through renewable annual contracts. Depending on the amount of business, VARs stand to earn revenue in ranges of five to six figures annually, said Citrix Online executives.
“In working with our partners, we found they are as eager as we are to build a recurring revenue model,” said Citrix Online President Brett Caine. Partners like the approach so much that more than 90 percent of them renew their annual agreements, he said.
In addition to the recurring revenue stream, Jessup said, channel partners get an upfront margin of 25 percent on every new deal and 10 percent for contract renewals.
Citrix Online’s products are GoToAssist, which allows support organizations to get a view of a user’s desktop environment; GoToMeeting, an online meeting solution; and GoToMyPC, which provides remote access to PCs through Web browsers.
Citrix Online started out in 1997 as Expertcity in Santa Barbara, Calif. Last year Citrix paid $225 million for the company in a cash-and-stock deal.
Caine, who was senior vice president of worldwide sales, said Expertcity’s management decided to sell because the company wanted to broaden its market reach but could not do it on its own.
Citrix, he said, brought the needed infrastructure for expansion while gaining an entry into the software-as-service model, in which it had great interest.
Citrix Online executives feel good about the prospects for their suite of products because, in addition to using the annuity-based model that resellers covet, the markets they are targeting are enormous. For instance, the access infrastructure market, in which GoToMyPC plays, is expected to reach $21 billion in 2007, according to International Data Corp., of Framingham, Mass.
Subscribers to GoToMyPC use the product to get into a home or office PC while on the road, either from a laptop or another PC. Once connected, users can control the PC they are accessing as if they were sitting in front of it.
GoToAssist taps into the $144 billion support market. With it, a support technician can make a connection to a customer’s system to troubleshoot it. Large enterprises such as Computer Associates International Inc. and FedEx Corp. are using the product, Citrix Online executives said.
VARs that buy GoToAssist licenses use the tool to more quickly solve their customers’ support problems, thereby increasing customer satisfaction, Citrix Online executives said.
One such VAR is Tracey Butler, president of Acropolys Technology Group, based in Wood River, Ill. Acropolys’ primary business is to provide managed services to businesses in the St. Louis area. Through managed services, solution providers run part or all of their clients’ IT departments.
With GoToAssist, Butler said, Acropolys can solve a client issue remotely while providing reports on each call that help keep track of the support staff’s success and speed in solving cases.
“Today I was reviewing the reports, and based on them, I just forwarded kudos to our support staff,” Butler said.
Citrix Online’s most recent product is GoToMeeting, a competitor to the WebEx Communications Inc. Web conferencing solution. Citrix Online executives say the online conferencing market is expected to exceed $1 billion next year.
The company is using an “all you can meet” approach in licensing GoToMeeting. Instead of charging for the number of attendees and minutes, subscribers buy licenses with unlimited minutes and attendees, Caine said.
The product has an easy-to-use interface, and log-on is straightforward, he said. “We always believe in simpler is better,” Caine said.
In addition to using and reselling Citrix Online products, channel partners may also integrate them with other software and build services around those solutions, Caine said.
“We hear from our partners all the time [that] they’re leveraging our solution set to deliver other solutions and services to their customers,” he said. “The partner is able to develop a professional service as well as our software service.”
Jessup said partners ramp up on the products quickly because they are technically easy to use and deployments are quick.
Citrix Online is targeting for recruitment a broad spectrum of channel partners, including large enterprise integrators, small consulting VARs and telco resellers.