Citrix Summit… Just the tip of the iceberg

Last week I got some great news, next year I will attend Citrix Summit in Orlando Florida! I just found out a few days ago but I already made all arrangements, I bought my plane tickets, booked my hotel en registered for the event itself, in short, I’m ready to go… Just another 109 days to go from here. I will be there the whole week, 8 days in total to be exact, so I can also do some, not much though, sight seeing. I’ve never been to the ‘Sates’ before so I’m really looking forward to the experience. A special thank you to Qwise.nl for making this possible.

The event

For those of you out there who don’t know what Citrix Summit is about, here’s what Citrix has to say about it: At Summit, Citrix channel partners and sales teams will come together for a head start on growth and profitability in 2014. The premier kickoff event provides shared exposure to accelerate your sales and technical success through training, collaboration and networking. Hear directly from our executives about the Citrix vision and roadmap, and from product teams about what’s new for mobility, virtualization, networking and cloud. You’ll take away new sales strategies, programs and tools to make your organization successful.

Normally it’s organized together with Citrix Synergy, which has a bigger focus on technology, in Anaheim Los Angeles, well… not next year though, it’s an event on its own, and from what I’ve heard they’ve really outdone themselves this time. They expect it to be the biggest Summit up to date, around 4000 attendees will gather to hear Citrix’s vision and roadmap for 2014. It will also be paired with their yearly Sales Kickoff (SKO). As far as the conference schedule goes (which is already online for the biggest part), It will be around 50% technical and 50% (Pre) Sales, both I’m interested in.

Blog, Twitter, Linked-In

It goes without saying that I will do some sort of a live coverage of the event will I’m there, pictures included. I will also try and keep my Blog up to date on a daily basis, covering what I’ve done, seen and heard that might be of interest to you. Once I’m back home, I will gather all my information and put together a presentation for my Qwise colleagues highlighting some of the biggest and most interesting announcements for 2014. Keep you posted.

Conference schedule

If you have a look at their website www.citrixsummit.com you can see that they’ve already put up an extensive set of sessions, labs and special activities, including the Partner Appreciation Party which will be held at the Universal Studio’s (very close to my hotel :-) and will include the Streets of New York set, the theme park next-door offering some spectacular rides and attractions, interactive entertainment, food & drinks and world-class music. But now I’m getting ahead of things. Other special activities include: The Welcome Reception, The Lounge, Partner Solution Center, The Certification Center (interesting) and the Woman in Technology Luncheon, not really sure what to make of this, but ok :-)

Solutions Expo

This is where the event will kicked-off with the Welcome Reception on Sunday afternoon / evening. It will also be a gathering place for Summit attendees and for conference sponsors to show off their latest products, demo’s included. It will also hold the Citrix Booth and other exhibits from a wide range of leading IT companies. I’m looking forward to this one as well.

Why attend

I think I already made it obvious but since I don’t want to steel their ‘thunder’ here goes: Over the past 10 years, Citrix has rapidly expanded our product and solutions portfolio from two primary product lines to more than 23 products in 2013, creating new opportunities for partners. Citrix Summit provides a unique opportunity to learn about these solutions and how they can help you differentiate your business and succeed in new and existing markets. Plus, you’ll discover new sales strategies, programs and tools to boost your profitability and competitive edge.

Citrix Ready Logo

In just two days, you can: Hear directly from Citrix executives about their vision and roadmap for the channel. Get information and hands-on training on the latest products, from Citrix XenMobile to Citrix CloudBridge, as well as enhancements to core solutions such as Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix NetScaler. Learn about new partner programs like Citrix Opportunity Registration and powerful tools including the updated Citrix Demo Center that can help you win. Earn new Citrix certifications to enhance your company’s technical credentials. When you add in all the professional networking opportunities offered at Summit, it’s clear this event is a smart investment for your success in 2014 and beyond.

The Lounge

This is the place to meet your peers in between sessions, no reservations needed and everything you need at hand; comfortable seats, desks, charging areas for your mobile devices and wireless internet everywhere. Have a talk, drink a drink and finally meet up with those you normally only speak to, and communicate with, through Twitter or facebook. Seeing these (virtual) persons in ‘real life’ adds another exciting dimension to the event if you ask me. I will definitely make an appointment or two!

Certification center

Registration hasn’t opened yet, available from mid October, but at Summit you have the opportunity to receive one free Citrix exam of choice which is worth around 300$, nice! I’m definitely going to register, although I’m not sure about which exam yet. If possible I will register for Tuesday, this way I can do one or two self-paced learning labs on Monday and attend a few (breakout) sessions as well, keeping knowledge fresh!

Sessions and Labs

These will include multiple general sessions like: they opening keynote by Mark Templeton. Al Monserrat, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Services will discuss the 2014 Sales objectives and Tom Flink, the Vice President of Channels and Market Development will talk about new channel initiatives. I’m already putting together some sort of schedule for me personally, what to attend, which topics to cover etc… which I’ll put online at a later date. They’ve put up a session preview section which covers all major industry topics like: Mobility, Virtualization, Networking, Cloud, Programs and Alliances and Citrix Service Providers. Each topic is further segmented into at least four separate sessions to attend. I’ll list some below to give you an heads-up.

Of-course it’s still all subject to change, but it does give us a good idea what Summit will be about. No details yet, and with this I mean that, although the main conference schedule is already up there, including the above, no exact times and or dates are available at this moment, which makes planning ahead kind of difficult for now. As mentioned earlier, I’m also going to take one or more self-paced learning labs, combined with some breakout sessions. But again, before I put together a detailed planning I need to know what, when and where sessions will be held. Just a matter of a few weeks patience I guess. Below you’ll find a randomly selected session overview, these include but are (definitely) not limited to:

Mobility will cover:

  • Helping customers choose the right mobility strategy
  • Configuring NetScaler to support Citrix XenDesktop and Mobility Users
  • How to set up MDM for your customer’s organization
  • Enterprise Mobility 101

A few Virtualization sessions:

  • 5 simple keys to successful XenDesktop sales
  • Design and scalability considerations for XenDesktop deployments
  • Leverage design guides to introduce customers to Citrix solutions
  • How to compete and whin when VMware is in the deal

Networking:

  • Why NetScaler is the best front end for XenApp and XenDesktop
  • Shake off the competetion and increase sales with Citrix NetScaler
  • HDX Insight can expand your XenApp and XenDesktop deals
  • Win more profitable consolidation deals with NetScaler SDX

Programs and Alliances:

  • New Citrix partner programs
  • Citrix and NetApp partner to target the healthcare market
  • Solutions Lab unveils results of Cisco Validated Design (CVD) projects
  • Selling integrated NetScaler and Cisco networking solutions

Conclusion

I’ve already read some discussions about Summit, is it worth the effort, the travel (for most), the expense etc… In the past the choice between Summit and Synergy was probably a bit easier. I mean, the week would start out with a few days Summit followed by Synergy, so both starting and ending in the same week. If you did go you probably went to both, now you might need to choose between the two. Synergy also used to be the more technical event, and although Summit is still about education, vision (so is Synergy of-course) and road mapping, as of 2014 there will be a lot more technology involved as well, about 50 / 50. For me this is exactly what I’m looking for, and next to that, I also prefer Orlando over LA for my first visit to the States.

Bas van Kaam ©

Reference materials used: Citrixsummit.com

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