Citrix increases African footprint

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Citrix SA country manager Brendan McAravey.
Citrix SA country manager Brendan McAravey.

Virtualisation company Citrix is increasing its footprint in Africa, and the group's channel on the continent is now being managed and supported by Citrix SA.

As of 1 April, the South African team took over the responsibility of all Sub-Saharan African business, Citrix SA country manager Brendan McAravey told ITWeb in an interview on the side-lines of Citrix Synergy 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

He said the South African business has picked up the responsibility of East and West Africa - which used to run from Dubai. The East Africa block includes Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania. For West Africa, it's Nigeria and Ghana. McAravey says he sees a lot of opportunity for growth in Ethiopia, in particular.

"We don't have any people on the ground [in other African countries] so our strategy has to be very channel-focused and very distributor-focused, and we have to get the channel to be an extension of ourselves, because we just don't have the scale."

He said a big focus for the expanding territories will be identifying the right partners and doing a lot of training, as well as having a more regular presence in-country.

"In Kenya, there were no people on the ground for nearly two years, and you can't position your product properly or get pricing right if that's the case."

For McAravey, the move into Africa is key for Citrix's strategy and he sees significant opportunity across English-speaking Africa.

"Customers are continuing to demand virtualisation, cloud and networking solutions as digital transformation initiatives gather pace in businesses across SA, and beyond."

The South African business remains a big focus for the group and McAravey said Citrix SA has doubled its sales force in the past year, as it continues to grow locally.

"The business in SA is growing really nicely; we are seeing good, solid double-digit growth. I think a key thing for us is that we have really focused over the last two years on building the channel. Not only the breadth and bringing on more partners, but also focusing on upskilling the partners."

McAravey said the company recently appointed Drive Control Corporation as a second distributor in Southern Africa. Citrix's other key distributor in Southern Africa, Axiz, will expand its remit to include East Africa.

The local operation also recently added a new field sales manager and an additional corporate account manager.

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