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Citrix this week took steps to make it simpler and more rewarding for partners to do business with the company at a time when it has significantly expanded its product portfolio.

The restructuring of Citrix’s channel program is intended to enable the company and its partners to address a market opportunity that is expected to top $20 billion by 2016, John Carey, senior director of worldwide channel programs, announced at the Citrix Summit 2015.

“We’re trying to create enough capacity in the channel to keep up with that demand,” Carey said. “We’re also trying to improve our sales field alignment with the channel.”

To accomplish those goals, Citrix now requires partners that are part of its Solution Advisor program to have two core competencies.

Over the past several years, Citrix has expanded from its core strength in desktop virtualization software to embrace mobile computing, cloud applications, virtualization and application delivery controllers. This week, Citrix also announced that it is extending its ambitions into the realm of storage via the acquisition of Sanbolic.

Rather than forcing its top partners to master every one of those technologies, Citrix is restructuring the program to require the 9,000 partners participating in the Solution Advisor program to have fewer certifications, Carey said. Citrix currently does business with 16,000 solution providers.

Citrix is also expanding the Solution Advisor program to include three additional services for partners: field and partner collaboration, partner enablement and demand generation focused on marketing campaigns.

At the same time, Citrix wants to make sure that its salespeople are driving more deals across a broader range of partners. In that capacity, the salespeople will increasingly be compensated for the amount of business they drive across a broader number of partners versus what they individually sell, Carey said.

Citrix will apply more analytics to help salespeople better identify the capabilities of individual partners. “We want our people to base partnerships on a set of objective criteria, versus a personal belief system,” Carey said.

There’s an industrywide effort to turn vendor sales representatives into channel sales managers who can tightly align the sales efforts of channel partners with those of the vendor. The degree to which that succeeds will vary across the channel. But the one thing that is for certain is that accountability for making sure that internal and external sales organizations are aligned is about to increase.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.