Citrix, Tibco partners stand to gain from merger

Promising technology combinations and a consolidated partner program are among the potential pluses of the pending Citrix-Tibco merger; other IT channel news.

Citrix and Tibco partners could benefit from product integration and channel program consolidation as the IT vendors merge over the coming months.

Private equity firms Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. this week disclosed plans to acquire Citrix and combine that company with Tibco. The merger would occur upon completion of the $16.5 billion deal, which is expected to close in mid-2022.

Citrix, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., focuses on digital workspace technology and has long been associated with desktop virtualization. Tibco, with headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., provides data management, analytics and integration products. The merger could create an interesting technology opportunity for channel partners, said Andrew Hewitt, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Andrew Hewitt, senior analyst, Forrester ResearchAndrew Hewitt

Combining products could help channel

IT mergers typically spark a flurry of product integrations, and the Citrix-Tibco combination is expected to follow that pattern. For example, Tibco's analytics offerings could be customized to collect and visualize data from Citrix products, Hewitt noted. That way, partners could not only deploy desktop virtualization or virtual desktop infrastructure, but also measure its effects on a customer's business. Product integration, if done properly, would create a smooth path from adopting technology to realizing ROI and business outcomes, he said.

Customers seek a clear picture of how they will benefit from virtual desktop spending: "They want to understand how this [investment] will change the overall cost structure when it comes to devices, computing and management," Hewitt said.

Anurag Agrawal, founder and chief global analyst, TechaisleAnurag Agrawal

Anurag Agrawal, founder and chief global analyst at Techaisle, a market research firm based in San Jose, Calif., also cited technology opportunities for partners in the Citrix-Tibco merger. He said partners will be able to combine Citrix's end user computing technology with Tibco's integration offerings to create a connected business. Tibco provides products for data, application and cloud integration.

Connected businesses will foster innovation as organizations move toward a future-of-work platform that responds to changing needs and demographic trends. Among those is a workforce "increasingly comprised of millennials who have grown up with group work as a primary approach to learning and problem-solving," Agrawal said.

Building connected businesses will boost demand for channel partners' services and generate recurring revenue, he added.

Consolidating partner programs

Tibco and Citrix maintain channel programs, working with MSPs and global systems integrators among other partners. Tibco hasn't been a big channel player in past years, said Diane Krakora, CEO of PartnerPath, a channel consulting firm in Menlo Park, Calif. The company, however, has been taking steps in that direction, including appointing Tony Beller, a former Salesforce channel executive, to lead its worldwide partner ecosystem, she noted.

Diane Krakora, CEO, PartnerPathDiane Krakora

"Citrix has been a partner-friendly company for decades," Krakora said. "I think the partners will benefit greatly from consolidating the growing commitment to partnering at Tibco into the established structure and programs that Citrix has been operating."

Some channel program overlap exists between the vendors. Tibco and Citrix partners include systems integrators and service providers Atos, Capgemini and Cognizant.

A spokesperson for Vista Equity Partners declined to comment on plans for the combined company.

Cisco expands agent sales model

Cisco has tapped Telarus as the company's second technology services broker in a bid to expand its agent model.

Telarus, based in Sandy, Utah, offers a product portfolio that includes cloud, unified communications and contact center offerings. Cisco's Telarus relationship follows a similar arrangement with Intelisys that launched in June 2021. Cisco's technology services brokers are authorized to offer Cisco's Webex cloud collaboration platform to customers in the U.S.

Cisco has been expanding its routes to market to supplement its traditional reseller sales approach. "We are looking at how we partner and who we partner with a little bit differently," said Kristyn Hogan, vice president of collaboration partner sales at Cisco.

With the agent model, Cisco takes on more customer sales and support duties compared with the reseller approach. The agent finds the customer opportunity and manages the relationship, while Cisco quotes the price, contracts with the customer, delivers the product and handles the billing, according to Cisco. The technology services broker, meanwhile, manages agent relationships and commission payments. An agent receives a monthly commission for the duration of a customer's Webex contract.

The agent model unlocks a group of partners that haven't previously worked with Cisco, while also providing a new outlet for the company's existing partners, Hogan said. Large Cisco partners that couldn't profitably sell to small businesses can use the agent model to reach those customers, she said. In addition, Meraki partners that haven't previously offered Cisco collaboration products to their small business customers can now do so through the agent model, she noted.

M&A updates

  • Deloitte Consulting has acquired Dextra Technologies, a product engineering services and embedded software firm based in Mexico. The deal will help Deloitte Consulting create smart connected products for its clients while also expanding its software engineering capabilities, according to the company. More than 350 product and software engineers will join the consulting firm. The company completed a similar transaction in January 2021, purchasing HashedIn Technologies, a product development and software engineering firm in India.

    As Deloitte Consulting expands its software and product engineering services, the company is looking to do so within specific industry domains, said Ranjit Bawa, principal and U.S. cloud leader, Deloitte Consulting. Dextra's specialization in the automotive industry and high-tech sector contributes to that goal. "Dextra fits into that whole strategy," Bawa said. "We are very focused on creating pockets of domain expertise."
  • Lemongrass Consulting continued its multi-cloud expansion into the SAP migration market, purchasing SAP-on-Azure specialist Wharfedale Technologies. Wharfedale Technologies offers SAP hosting, infrastructure and cloud services, focusing on managing the enterprise application in customers' Azure environments. Lemongrass Consulting, a services provider with headquarters in Atlanta, originally offered SAP-on-AWS services, but added Microsoft and Google to its SAP business last year.
  • Upstack, an online platform that sells cloud services through sales agents, has acquired Lunada Partners, an IT consulting firm in San Francisco. Lunada Partners focuses on design, engineering, sourcing, contract negotiation and vendor management.

Other news

  • AI and machine learning (ML) have become a priority for many organizations, but measuring business results remains a challenge. That's a key takeaway from a Rackspace Technology survey, which found that 72% of the 1,870 IT decision-makers polled employ AI/ML as part of their business or IT strategies. Obstacles to effective adoption remain, however. Among survey respondents, 36% cited difficulty in measuring the technologies' business value, while a third pointed to problems harmonizing AI/ML strategies with business goals. Rackspace Technology, a multi-cloud solutions provider based in San Antonio, also noted that 66% of the respondents' AI/ML projects have moved beyond the experimentation stage. Scaling AI beyond pilot projects has proven a barrier to enterprise deployment.
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an IT services provider based in Mumbai, India, plans to hire about 1,000 employees by the end of 2023 to boost its New Jersey operations. The company operates one of its 30 U.S. facilities in Edison, N.J., and employs more than 3,700 people in the state. TCS said it will expand its STEM and computer science education programs in New Jersey to provide a pipeline of local IT talent.
  • Accenture launched a talent hub in Albany, N.Y., to address the skills gap and demand for Salesforce expertise. The Accenture Talent Hub will bring more than 100 jobs, paid internships and apprenticeships, as well as virtual and in-person skills training, all with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workforce. The Talent Hub builds on other company efforts to encourage diverse new talent, such as Accenture's New York apprenticeship program, and adds to the larger channel industry trend of offering apprenticeships to cultivate technical skills.
  • Salt Security, an API security provider headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., extends its reach worldwide with the global expansion of its Essential Partner Program to combat increasing API attacks. Through the program, customers can work with their preferred channel partners, distributors, consultancies and integrators to purchase and receive support for Salt Security's API security platform. The two-tiered program -- with associate and professional tiers -- includes best practices for engagement rules; deal registration; technical enablement, or the training, resources and certifications to improve a company's self-reliance; and growth accelerators in the form of incentives and marketing investments, such as market development funds and sponsorship of customer events.
  • HelpSystems, a Minneapolis-based cybersecurity and automation software company, unveiled a channel program. The program supports five partner types: referral, VAR, distributor, MSP/managed security services provider and strategic alliance/OEM. The company appointed Renee Ritter as managing director of the channel program.
  • Glasswall Solutions, a cybersecurity company based in London, inked distribution agreements with four European channel partners: Data.Ally in Greece; NewChannel, which covers the Benelux countries; Future Time in Italy; and Co.Next, which covers central and southeast Europe.
  • Yellowbrick Data, a data warehouse company based in Mountain View, Calif., is partnering with Nippon Information and Communication Corp., a solutions provider that will offer Yellowbrick's products in Japan.

Executive appointments

  • ColorTokens Inc., a zero-trust-based cybersecurity vendor in Santa Clara, Calif., hired Ed Spater and Caitlyn McDermott as channel account managers. Spater previously held sales and channel executive roles at Illumio, VMware and Dell. McDermott joins ColorTokens from Illumio, where she was central region channel manager.
  • Allison Jessee has joined Upstack as vice president of customer success. She was previously director of client engagement at HBR Consulting.

Additional reporting by Kristen Gloss.

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