Citrix services program offers consulting advice, certification

Citrix launches channel program to get partners up to speed on consulting services, while distributor Westcon-Comstor taps Viptela SD-WAN technology; more news.

Citrix has unveiled a channel program that aims to help partners offer consulting services and can also certify partners as Citrix services providers. 

The company's Services Delivery Program, which was previewed at Citirx Summit in January 2017, provides channel partners technical best practices and guidance on how to sell and run service projects. Craig Stilwell, worldwide vice president of partner sales and strategy, said the program is based on intellectual property the Citrix services group uses. 

The program is built around Services Delivery Kits, which Stilwell said provide "how-to training" for selling and delivering consulting projects. Each kit is designed to be used on an individual project, with different kits available for different types of projects. According to Citrix, kits are geared toward particular Citrix services such as infrastructure assessment. 

Channel partners using a Service Delivery Kit will also have access to Citrix consulting assistance in the form of phone-based support. Partners can tap Citrix consultants for help in writing statements of work, for example. Partners pay a fee for each delivery kit they use to cover the cost of the consulting resources. 

Partner companies can also obtain a Citrix Services Delivery Certification. To qualify, partners must take 10 e-learning modules, pass an exam and deliver three successful projects with favorable net promotor scores. 

"We are setting a high bar to allow partners to set themselves apart," Stilwell explained. 

The e-learning is free of charge, but partners pay a fee for the exam. The fee for Service Delivery Kits, and the associated consulting services, is waived for the three consulting projects partners must pursue for certification. 

Partners with the Citrix Services Delivery Certification will have that designation appear on the Citrix website via the Partner Locator and will also be able to participate on Citrix's virtual consulting bench. Stilwell said Citrix's professional services team, which targets the top of the enterprise market, taps the virtual bench to augment its consulting resources.

Channel partnership: Westcon-Comstor, Viptela SD-WAN 

A distributor alliance gives Viptela SD-WAN technology a global reach that could benefit downstream channel partners working with multi-national customers. 

Westcon-Comstor, a value-added distributor based in Tarrytown, N.Y., has added Viptela, an SD-WAN vendor in San Jose, Calif., to its Accelerate program. Viptela is one of a half-dozen companies in the program in which Westcon-Comstor helps companies new to distribution build global channels. 

The Westcon-Comstor relationship marks Viptela's first worldwide distribution arrangement. The company has previously worked with a distributor in the Asia-Pacific market. Anthony D'Angelo, vice president of worldwide sales at Viptela, said Westcon-Comstor partnership is "incredibly important … to support multi-national customers." 

D'Angelo said the majority of the customers for Viptela SD-WAN products have global operations. 

"The very nature of what we do for enterprise customers is support wide-area networks and that is essentially a global endeavor," he said. "Enterprises have offices all over the world and it is very important that we are able to support them and our partners." 

As for channel companies, Viptela's agreement with Westcon-Comstor provides partners with the ability to offer services around the Viptela SD-WAN technology. 

"Our resellers make significant money when they attach services," said Patty Gray, vice president of global partner management at Westcon-Comstor. 

Those services include proof-of-concept projects, implementation and level 1 and level 2 network operations center (NOC) services, she noted. For services providers that need to support multi-national customers, Westcon-Comstor offers NOCs and security operations centers worldwide, she added. 

Viptela, meanwhile, has signed more than 100 channel companies to its channel initiative, the vForce Global Partner Program, which debuted in October 2016. 

 "Our partners are already bringing us into new opportunities," D'Angelo said. 

In other SD-WAN news, Nitel launched its SD-WAN and software defined-security services, which the company announced earlier this year. The services are available to channel partners and corporate customers. Nitel, a managed telecom service provider based in Chicago, offers the SD-WAN and security services through an alliance with Versa Networks. Nitel targets the services at mid-market to large enterprises. 

Nitel also appointed Jason Dishon to the post of executive vice president of sales and marketing.  Dishon was previously vice president of channel sales at Windstream Communications.

Other news 

Channel partners can offer storage networking customers an upgrade path to support 32-Gigabit per second (Gbps) Fibre Channel in light of recent updates to Cisco's MDS storage switch and Unified Computing System C-Series product lines.  The updates include a new MDS 9700 48-port 32 Gbps FC Switching Module. Scott Mohr, director, data center/cloud, Global Partner Organization, at Cisco, said the storage offerings let partners expand current and future sales opportunities. The new products "help partners build stronger account control with more and longer-term product and services revenue streams," he said. 

Carousel Industries, a managed services provider with a focus on communication and network technologies, unveiled a channel program for telecom agents and other partners. The Carousel National Agent Partner Program lets telecom agents, value-added resellers, and managed services providers resell Carousel's offerings, which include carrier, hosted, cloud and data center services. 

TeamLogic IT, an IT management services provider, has selected Unified Office as its voice communications partner. TeamLogic IT uses Unified Office's Total Connect Now, a VoIP and analytics services platform. The service provider cited high customer retention and satisfaction with the service.  TeamLogic IT franchises may sell Total Connect Now to small and medium-sized businesses as part of a managed services offering. 

Jive Communications, which provides a cloud-based unified communications platform, is targeting channel partners with additions to its product line. Those updates include Netview, a network-testing and troubleshooting tool; Jive Business Continuity, a failover capability; and Zero Touch Provisioning, an implementation tool for new customer installs.



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