Wojtek Życzyński, Channel Director, EMEA Emerging Markets at Citrix, an American multinational software company that provides server, application and desktop virtualisation, networking, software-as-a- service (SaaS) and cloud computing technologies. Citrix products are claimed to be in use by over 400,000 clients worldwide, including 99% of the Fortune 100 and 98% of the Fortune 500. Życzyński’s management philosophy focuses on mentoring, leadership and coaching, and believes that building a strong foundation of healthy relationships is imperative in the channel. He explains to us how Citrix is growing its investment in the channel and shifting those investments to better support the company’s partner strategy.
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
I support the channel across emerging markets, to drive the transformation of the business. If I look specifically at South Africa and the state of business within its economy, we have a good set of loyal Citrix partners that have been with us for many years. The current challenge is that the pandemic has accelerated the need for Digital Transformation and as a result, many businesses have changed how they operate. This means that we and our channel partners, need to transform with them. The partners who are best prepared for this transformation are taking the following actions:
- Investing in and supporting their teams by giving technical staff the proper certification, proper skills and tools they need to execute their jobs effectively
- Seeing their salespeople as industrial experts rather than regular sellers, by helping them understand their customers’ needs better as well as understanding the processes executed behind-the-scenes within the business
- Adapting marketing operations by combining digital sales, qualifications and scrutinising the usage of data.
Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?
At Citrix, we have a global channel programme that we continually adjust to better support our partners. Our incentives reflect the changing market and we aim to make things as simple as possible, so that each channel partners can maintain efficiency. We support registration for partner incentives to ensure that we are rewarding partners who are bringing new opportunities to Citrix and we also support the marketing activities and cloud transformation of our channel partners.
We are growing our investment in the channel year over year and are shifting those investments to better support our strategy. It is important that as our partners are also growing and transforming their businesses, the profitability model must also change in a positive way to support this. So, it’s important to really transform the organisation in line with our accelerated (and unprecedented) reality.
How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?
As a people manager, I have been through massive changes, starting with the economic crisis [the great recession] in 2008, when everyone was lost on what to do. What I learnt and what I now apply when helping channel partners to grow, is that in a highly competitive market, people need:
- Leadership: Now more than ever, we need leaders, not managers or bosses. Leaders must inspire us, give us freedom and provide us the chance to unlock people’s potential as well
- Collaboration: I always say to my teams that the measurement of success is through team success. Yes, we will always highlight individual wins, but I always strive to celebrate success and progress as a team
- Trust and professionalism: These are the imperative business (and personal) values for me. In combination, these two values give me the chance to really develop the teams around me
What is your management philosophy?
Mentoring, leadership and coaching are all of extreme importance to me. Building a strong foundation of healthy relationships is imperative in this role and the channel.
When you look back at your career, what has been the most memorable achievement?
Many of them are connected with people and social success. I was a sales manager for many years. I am still a sales manager, because in the end, we are developing the channel to accelerate our sales. But the successes I am proudest of were when my people were recognised for their hard work. This was especially evident when I moved into different roles, because I knew I had developed a team that would continue to succeed.
What made you think of a career in technology?
I had my first computer during the end of primary school and used it to design websites and limited games. This was my initiation to the IT world. Initially, I was on the perfect path to becoming an accountant, but numbers were not enough for me. They are too predictable. Technology involves collaborating with other people in a very dynamic market and this human factor is essential to me.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2021?
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that “hybrid” is the key word for 2021. We need to respond to the market demand, which is to give people the option of where they work. That doesn’t mean that everyone should necessarily remain remote, but that people should be able to work from home, the office or a third space, depending on what will help them to be most effective on any given day. For me, this is such an exciting time to have joined Citrix, because our Workspace solutions allow people to do their work wherever they want.
Related to this, a crucial second trend is cybersecurity. Many companies and individuals are facing issues regarding security cases and its impact on business. Since we moved to a more virtual space, there are new challenges and businesses need to urgently consider how best to protect themselves, while also providing a good user experience for their employees.
The third aspect is data. There is a lot we can learn from hyper-scalers here, as these big, public cloud providers already know that data is a new currency. How we can use and analyse data is important, especially since companies are collecting so much of it every day. It is important to collaborate with those that know how to use it, because they will be successful.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
If you had asked me this question a year and a half ago, I would have said travelling. While that’s not been an option, I’ve been helping my friends with the interior design of their houses – that’s something I really enjoy. And in the longer term, I would love to go into aviation. I’ve taken flying lessons and even though that’s currently on pause, I still believe I will be a pilot one day.Click below to share this article