Citrix and the business of ‘&’

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We recently spent time at the Citrix Synergy conference held in Orlando, California, where CEO Mark Templeton re-positioned just about everything the company offers under a much more user-focused, business transition-friendly umbrella.

Citrix has been accused by financial analysts over the last few months of having something of a rag-bag of disparate products and technologies. But as Templeton said during his keynote presentation the company is now in the business of targeting the users’ desire for ‘&’.

And what do users want to do? Well, they will all have different needs but their objectives can be simply modelled as follows: `some of this & some of that & a bit of that & and have it all linking to this & the ability to tackle that new market &…..&….&.

This is good example of how CIOs often have business problems presented to them by both the board and Line of Business managers, and smooth, effective transitions from a current position to what those users desire is often difficult, as many technology products still tend to work in isolation.

So, while the conference had announcements by the company of some serious enhancements to existing products, its core message was simple – it had rumbled that its apparently disparate products are all valid contributors to what users need – collaborating, communicating loosely integrated workspaces.

In fact, it has created two of them: Workspace Services for its more traditional legacy, on-premise applications, and Workspace Cloud. As CEO, Mark Templeton said, “It no longer matters how it works, it’s what it does that is important now.”

Workspace Cloud has not come out as a complete surprise, of course. The company has been developing cloud technologies and services for some five years, when it set out to re-invent its established XenApp system for the cloud. Today it has 1,900 active service providers delivering some 500,000 apps and services.

One of the latest additions has been the development of a cloud based Control Plane Architecture, which is designed to make infrastructure more consumable. It takes the management and scaling issues off the users’ and partners’ plates. It also has new workspace cloud connectors that allow both new applications and old legacy code to be added to the management console. This will give users the choice of where applications are run, which means they can experiment with legacy applications to see how they operate in a cloud environment. This gives the flexibility needed to build hybrid business environments that can be adapted to fit changing business needs.

The system allows users and partners to create new workspaces easily and then attach required applications to them. These can then be published to subscribers or staff. This has the side benefit of allowing them to embrace shadow IT rather than fight it, while partners can create their own blueprints for their own service environments.

Whether using Workspace Services, Cloud Services, or both, the aim is for users to have all the apps required, unified into a single screen. This can then be broadcast to all users and collaborators as required. As Templeton observed, the aim is to give business managements the tools through which they can say, `yes, we can do it’.

Citrix is one of the first tech companies to bite the bullet of approaching its real market – the end users in business and organisations – in ways that are much more focused on their needs and why those needs exist. The technologies are important, but they are the enabler of the real story, no longer the story itself.