Citrix in Santa Clara, California!

I recently attended the Citrix Industry Analyst Meeting in Santa Clara, CA.  Citrix has several exciting developments in cloud, collaboration, mobility, and virtualization spaces, with the most recent changes planned to be announced officially during their Synergy in Barcelona event from October 17th to 19th. While I have to wait to comment on the juicier bits until they are no longer under NDA (non-disclosure agreement), there were several overall trends and products worth mentioning.

First and foremost is Citrix’s concept of TVO (total value of ownership) as opposed to TCO (total cost of ownership).  Their philosophy is focused around the end users, and it is their firm belief that a company’s workflow should not have to adapt to technology, instead it should be enhancing the workflow.

For example, when I met with Martin Duursma, CTO (chief technology officer) Office Chair and Vice President of Citrix Labs, I asked him where he thought the main competition was going to be on the technology side (processor speed, power consumption, etc.).  His response was that the new goal of technology companies should not be a competition among specs, but a competition among “humanization”: making the product easy to use and integrating with the workflow.

The product that perhaps best characterized this belief was Podio, a tool which is taking collaboration to a new level.  At the Citrix event, we saw how Educational Services of America was using Podio and more recently AMI-Partners had the pleasure of sitting down with Kasper Hulthin, co-founder of Podio.  In both presentations, it was clear that Podio was a coherent combination of social streaming (talking about work) and specialized applications (designed to actually perform the work).

The benefits of such a system are two-fold.  First, all of the work around any given project is stored in one place and stays there (so a company won’t have to dig through e-mails in case of a staffing change).  Secondly, the workflow applications can be designed and customized by the users.  For example, Mr. Hulthin categorizes internal update meetings and meetings with potential recruits very differently because both types of meetings have different sorts of information.  By creating different workflows (with different required fields) for the meetings, Mr. Hulthin ensures that the right information is captured in a way that is easily searchable for future use.

Podio will be an important collaboration tool for Citrix. I imagine there will be several key announcements on Podio’s use of Citrix’s products and potentially integrating with other third party products in the near future. Collaboration is a growing area with AMI’s research showing that SMBs (small and medium businesses) are spending about $9 Billion on collaboration software this year and will continue to increase in the future.

There are several other aspects of the Citrix event worth mentioning that may warrant their own blog posts in the future.  Citrix Receiver connects to pretty much any device, which means that with the receiver one could work on an excel document on a desktop and change to a tablet in the middle of editing.  The receiver can communicate with servers and also with SaaS (software as a service) programs such as Salesforce.  The fact that the receiver is handling authentication and password management on the server side means that it is potentially a major player in providing security to companies with BYOD policies.

Citrix has also developed virtualization products geared towards SMBs.  Specifically, their VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure)  in a box product allows desktop virtualization to be simply deployed, and we expect to see its use among both SMBs and in the Channel Partner space. Virtualization is a growing area with the expected SMB spending growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18% over the next five years in the U.S. from our research.

Finally, Citrix sees SMBs relying on Communications Service Providers (CSPs) for cloud solutions.  Mr. Durrsma believes that any new MB (medium business) entering the field should highly rely on the cloud, as owning a server is not necessarily in their skill set.  AMI’s research shows that SMBs are increasingly demanding enterprise-quality solutions & services delivered via the Cloud, where $34B is expected to be dedicated to cloud solutions and services.

There is a lot of information from the Citrix event that is out of the scope of this blog (such as developments in the cloud space for enterprise customers), but hopefully it is clear from the products above that Citrix will be a company that people should keep eye on especially in the areas of collaboration, mobility, and virtualization.

– Clayton Miller, Associate