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Citrix says its new ProStart program will make it easier for existing solution provider partners to expand their product portfolios and lower the barriers to entry for new partners to quickly begin selling Citrix products and solutions.

Citrix’s solution provider channel program differs from other vendors in that it is a closed program, and solution providers who wish to join must become Citrix certified and receive authorization to sell the vendor’s product lines, says Tom Flink, vice president of worldwide channel and emerging product sales, Citrix.

The new ProStart program will add an “Authorized” designation to Citrix’s channel partners, or Citrix Solutions Advisors (CSAs), which will allow CSAs to immediately begin selling Citrix solutions as they work toward Citrix’s required certification.

Making this change allows new partners to earn full margins on nearly all Citrix virtualization and application delivery products as soon as they enroll in the program, Flink says. This allows partners the flexibility to offer customers a strategic, comprehensive solution for their immediate IT challenges, rather than having to wait for solution delivery until after partners are certified. 

“This change will make it easier for partners to build solutions around Citrix and removes obstacles to ROI,” says Flink. “By simplifying the program in this way, partners will be able to jump on solution sales opportunities when they arise, rather than having to wait for their certifications,” he says.

For existing partners, this move allows them to more easily expand their portfolio and immediately sell across Citrix’s product portfolio while working toward certifications on those other products. While Flink says he hopes the program will influence existing partners to add new Citrix products to their linecards, he doesn’t want CSAs to stretch themselves too thin.

“Eventually, we do want all partners to be certified on at least one product, but we want them to focus on their core technical expertise first,” he says. Partners taking advantage of the ProStart program should consider opportunities for expansion into adjacent technology areas, but only if they feel there’s profit and revenues to be made there, he says.

The ProStart program will be rolled out by the end of March, and will affect Citrix’s nearly 6,000 global Solutions Advisors. Partners who take advantage of ProSTart will be able to sell Citrix’s XenServer, Essentials for XenServer, Desktop and NetScaler products, says Flink.

The ProStart program does not apply for Citrix integrator, ISV, volume and direct marketing partners, and does not include XenApp, Citrix’s flagship product, sold by about 60 percent of Citrix CSAs, Flink says.

“We are still asking partners to get fully certified on XenApp before they can sell that product,” Flink says. “There’s a substantial skillset and deep knowledge and expertise involved in XenApp, and certified CSAs have made lots of investments in learning and certifying on that product, so we want to protect those investments for them,” he says.

Flink says that the ProStart program and Authorized designation should be seen as a stepping stone rather than a stopping point for partners on their path to become Citrix certified. He says while being able to sell Citrix solutions immediately can help drive quicker ROI and generate more business for partners, that certification will provide even more benefits to partners.

Only those partners that complete certification are eligible to participate in Citrix Advisor Rewards, a program that pays partners up to 15 percent of the suggested retail price of solutions they sell or on which they have exerted influence, whether or not they close the sale, Flink says.

Additional benefits include enhanced technical support, on-going lead generation, and enhanced visibility on for certified partners. 

To make the certification process easier and more economical, Citrix partners can take advantage of low-cost, on-demand online courses and virtual labs, reducing the expenses associated with downtime, travel and classroom training, he says.

Flink says the timing of the ProStart program meshes will with Citrix’s recent announcement that it will collaborate with Microsoft with its XenEssentials for HyperV solution. The announcement, made last week, will leverage the strengths of both vendors’ virtualization technologies and allow for both channel partner organizations to take advantage of the technology.

This marries up really well with our recent announcements, especially Essentials for HyperV,” says Flink “We know there are a lot of Microsoft partners out there who will be interested in joining as CSAs, and this will make it easier for them to come in and drive business based on the joint solutions,” he says.