Citrix is one of the key desktop virtualization player in India and globally. While the company has always tried to reap the business opportunities in India, the market forces did not let the company grow beyond a certain point. The company is now full of energy and looking at new business opportunities. Dataquest had a conversation with Parag Arora, Area Vice President and Country Head, Citrix – India Subcontinent.
What is so exciting at Citrix in India these days?
As a company, Citrix has gone through a big transformation last year. To be honest, the last time we met, we were going through some legacy issues and were facing competitive pressures. But in the last 12 months or even less than that, the company has gone through a good transformation. We have a new CEO now with Kirill Tatarinov who joined the company three months back.
He comes from Microsoft with a very strong enterprise application and enterprise business background. The first thing we’re doing is that we are redefining and being more focused on what we’re capable of. It is a new company altogether after the transformation. I would say a lot of unnecessary things vanished away from the company and we are on our growth path.
Shall we assume that Citrix is going through revitalizing process?
Exactly. That’s point number one. The second big thing is our channel roadmap which we have tried to redraw and strengthen. Citrix roped in a new channel head; Kimberly Martin. Kimberly joined us again in January this year. She comes with a very solid worldwide experience of handling partners. A lot of energy and excitement has come into our channel program. The focus is at redrawing it and making it more profitable. In order to revitalize the channel strategy, interesting programs have already been put in place globally and in India.
Our third focus is on innovation. After Kirill is in, the culture of innovation has become even more stronger in the company. Citrix is putting a lot of resources on innovation and engineering so that quality of the services and products could be enhanced. The quality of our software products have become better.
These efforts are resulting in good financial results for the company. It is apparent in the Q1 results. As a company, we have had an outstanding quarter globally. By the way, India grew in the Q1 fastest across the world for Citrix. India had a very strong and solid Q1 this time. In addition, interestingly our gross margins have increased dramatically. The company’s earnings per share are also on the rise.
Where does India fare in terms of revenue share globally?
Generally, we are pretty much aligned to all companies. While India has been the fastest growing market for Citrix, we will not be able to divulge the country specific numbers. But yes, India is a very strategic business for Citrix. If you look at other US companies, India is merely one or two percent of their global revenues. But for Citrix it is much higher. We are significant here and we are growing extensively.
Globally for us, channels, innovation and redefining the business focus are key priorities. Now the whole company is only positioned as at secured apps and data. This is because customers are now talking more about services and application. They don’t care too much about devices. So our focus is delivering secured apps. But it does not mean the devices are not important. For applications, there has to be device at the endpoint to access applications and data.
Clearly I think more and more workload is now moving to devices. In the last 12 to 18 months, even in India we’ve seen the amount of shift happening. Workloads have moved from desktop and laptop to mobiles dramatically. The second shift which is happening everywhere including India is the cloud. Cloud is fast becoming part of the enterprise IT. The third trend is that hybrid cloud. There are customers who want some of their applications in the public environment and others in the private environment. And Citrix is rightly positioned to handle these things.
Is it the same story with small, mid, and big customers?
Yeah, difference is there. Small ones have moved completely end-to-end to the cloud whereas mid and large ones are more selective. Small ones place their apps in public environment whereas mid and big ones prefer to use hybrid environment and that too, for a few applications.
But cloud is no longer a boardroom talk. It is a reality. This is the reason that every cloud provider, be it Microsoft, Amazon or IBM is investing in India to flex their cloud muscle. They are increasing their presence in India.
Earlier you mentioned about channel. What is so specific in terms of change in your channel strategy right now?
We just announced. There are three important aspects — all around growth, profitability and predictability. These are three core pillars of our new program. For growth we launched a new program called SDF; which is Strategic Development Fund. This is an interesting fund. With this fund, Citrix will work with partners. We will invest money with this one. This is like a global pool of money we have put now as a fund.
Around profitability, we are introducing an interesting program called Net New Incentive Program (NNIP). This is new program that helps partners to identify new opportunities.
Our third focus is around predictability. We have tried to bring in transparency through the launch of tools for partners. It means they can track the incentives which they are entitled to. This helps us to gain partner trust.