Citrix Systems unveiled a consolidated overhaul of several reseller programs Monday, simplifying the compensation structure for partners while incentivising them to prioritise cloud sales.
Craig Stilwell, the company's channel chief, told CRN USA the many programs had grown too complex, and the new one, dubbed Citrix Ultimate Rewards, realises a pledge he made to partners almost a year ago to streamline deal registration.
"The idea was to simplify, make it transparent and predictable to the partner," he said. "In today's world, you have to be a little bit of an expert in our programs to get the most out of them."
Citrix Ultimate Rewards was first described to the company's wider channel Monday at the Citrix Summit conference. The changes take effect 10 February.
The program shifts several incentives to the front end, and speeds obtaining quotes for deals.
It replaces five deal-specific programs, including Citrix Advisor Rewards (CAR). While each of those made sense in themselves, Stilwell told CRN USA, because they became layered on top of each other over the years they burdened partners with undue complexity.
"Different partners were getting different levels of compensation depending on what type of partner they were and what programs they were involved in, with some incentives on the front end, some on the back end," Stilwell said.
Citrix wanted to make it easier for partners to quickly quote prices to their customers.
Citrix is calling the front-end incentives Spark and Drive, which respectively reward resellers for identifying new deals and for adding value toward successful sales.
The remaining back-end rebate, called Accelerate, rewards partners for their commitment to Citrix and meeting certain milestones, such as overall product sales growth and new cloud subscription sales, which are not tied to specific deals. That is paid quarterly.
As part of the program shift, Citrix is also weighting incentives toward sales of its cloud services over perpetual licenses.
"We're tilting the balance of rewards on deals in favor of Citrix Cloud, reflecting where the company is going and making sure partners are aligning with where we're going, which is Citrix Cloud," Stilwell told CRN USA.
Complementing the revamped incentive structure, Citrix is introducing advanced automation technologies to smooth the approval process, including a layer of artificial intelligence.
"Today, it's mostly a human being pushing a button of whether a partner gets accepted into a specific reward," he said.
But by deploying "relatively sophisticated AI," that ultimately should lead partners to get their answers within a minute.
"We're going to send a small amount of transactions through this AI at first, but when it gets more trained, more will become automated," Stilwell told CRN USA.
Currently, partners often answer more than 30 questions before getting a deal registered. The program being rolled out shouldn't require answers to more than nine.
"Operationally, that should make things a lot smoother for our partners," Stilwell said. "They're not going to need to have dedicated admins to understand all these rules and regulations like many do today. That should attract more sellers to our mix."
In designing Ultimate Rewards, Citrix worked with industry analysts and select partners.