What’s Happening to Citrix Subscription Advantage?

Once upon a time, there was a scrappy little software company called Citrix, which had a fairly small, but fiercely loyal and extremely technically competent reseller channel. Because Citrix was focused on growing their software sales and improving their product, and because their reseller channel was extremely technically competent, they made the decision that, rather than build up their own direct support team, they would push product support back to their reseller partners. It was a win for everyone – Citrix didn’t have to build up a support team, and the partners got an additional revenue stream. It worked so well that when Citrix introduced “Subscription Advantage,” they elected to make it a subscription that included only access to software updates. No other support was included – Citrix continued to push technical support back to their reseller partners – so Citrix could offer Subscription Advantage at a lower price point (12 – 15% per year of the cost of a new license) than most software companies charged for software maintenance agreements that included both upgrades and technical support (typically 20 – 25% per year).

So what happened? In a word: success. As Citrix grew, they signed up more and more reseller partners. Some of them were not quite so technically competent, which led to unhappy customers. Citrix was also successful at penetrating very large enterprises. Some of these enterprises insisted on purchasing Citrix licenses from the “large account resellers” from which they purchased all of their other software licenses. Often these large account resellers served exclusively as a license-fulfillment channel, and provided no technical support at all. Other large enterprises insisted on dealing directly with the manufacturer for support. The volume of business that was at stake made these requests impossible to ignore, so Citrix began looking for ways to provide support directly to enterprises that demanded it, while still protecting their reseller partners as much as possible (which proved more and more difficult as time went on).

The first move was to introduce incident-based support agreements that were targeted at large enterprises. These agreements were typically expensive enough that they didn’t make sense for any but the largest customers, leaving the reseller partners to support the rest of the customer base. But that didn’t help the less-than-completely-happy customers that were dealing with a less-than-completely-competent reseller partner. Gradually, Citrix started to introduce a more traditional software maintenance option, which included both upgrade protection and 24×7 telephone support directly from Citrix, and was priced in a more traditional software maintenance price range. New products, and new product bundles, began to appear with software maintenance as the only option. A bit later, software maintenance was offered as an alternative to Subscription Advantage on products that had always been Subscription-Advantage-only. Now, Citrix has decided to completely retire Subscription Advantage in favor of something called “Customer Success Services.”

Eventually, there will be three different packages – “Select,” “Priority,” and “Priority Plus.” Select is available now. In fact, it is required with all software purchases for all new customers (meaning customers who do not already own Citrix licenses). Customers who purchased software maintenance are being transitioned onto Select at no additional charge. Priority and Priority Plus are supposed to be available in July, 2017. At this time, we do not have complete information on what all the differences will be between the three packages, nor on what the price will be for Priority and Priority Plus.

If you are a Citrix customer, or are soon to be one, here are your important takeaways on this transition:

  • Customers purchasing Citrix licenses for the first time must now purchase them with Select maintenance coverage.
  • Customers who have licenses with Subscription Advantage today can still renew Subscription Advantage (for no more than a 1 year term) until June 30, 2017. After June 30, no Subscription Advantage renewals will be available.
  • Customers who have licenses with Subscription Advantage today and are purchasing additional licenses will be able to purchase those licenses with Subscription Advantage (for no more than a 1 year term) until June 30, 2017. After June 30, Subscription Advantage will not be available for purchase at all.
  • Customers who have licenses with Subscription Advantage today, are purchasing additional licenses, and wish to purchase Select maintenance coverage for those additional licenses will be required to transition all of the existing licenses to Select as well. You will not be allowed to have, within a single product family (e.g., XenApp), some licenses that are on Subscription Advantage and some licenses that are on Select.
  • Customers who have licenses with Subscription Advantage today and purchase additional licenses after July 1, 2017, will be required to transition all of their licenses for that product family to the new support program.
  • Citrix has an “early adopter” promotion running through June 30 that will allow you to move from Subscription Advantage to Select maintenance at a discount. The early adopter discounts also apply to situations where the move is triggered by additional license purchases, as described above. You can also leverage the early adopter discount by purchasing multiple years of Select support at the discounted price before July 1. The early adopter discount will vary depending on what product and product version you have, what existing maintenance program you are on, what license level you’re at, how much time is remaining on your existing subscription term, etc., so if you want to investigate the promotion further, your best bet is to contact your favorite Citrix Solution Advisor for a quote.

Obligatory Disclaimer: At the time this post was written, I was (and likely still am, as you read this) employed by a Citrix Solution Advisor. Furthermore, I do not speak for Citrix. The post above was distilled from publicly available information, but Citrix could change things at any time, and the final word on the subject is theirs, not mine.

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