Hello World! This must be one of the strangest feelings I have had in my career, as for the first time I am now on the other side of the fence. My name is Harry Labana, it’s a beautiful Sunday morning and after a crazy first week I am getting a chance to reflect on my first week at Citrix as the new CTO of the XenApp product group. So to begin, here’s a little background to my story. I grew up in the UK of Indian decent and after working for a few years in the UK after University, I spent the last 13 years traveling the canyons of Wall Street with various firms, the last 9 of which have been as a Vice President with Goldman Sachs leading and working on numerous infrastructure, software development and management initiatives.

In particular, I have focused very heavily in the Windows world, and have been through the gamut of real world challenges this brings. From software distribution/packaging, OS upgrades, provisioning, software development, server/application/client virtualization, migrations/integrations, fair share of disasters, hardware, remote access, hosted applications and of course virtual desktops- I think I got most of it - I have been beaten into understanding the realities of execution responsibility at global scale. Fortunately, over the last few years I’ve also had the opportunity to work with many of the leading established vendors and emerging startups in the Application and Desktop virtualization industry and this has allowed me to learn from smart people with so many perspectives. By virtue of working in financial services, I’ve also been able to refine these perspectives by talking with investors, analysts and bankers in this space which has equipped me to be a VERY vocal Citrix Customer Council member for a number of years. So I guess Citrix had enough and decided to allow me to help chart their future direction, which is an immensely exciting opportunity, for which I am grateful and where I hope to make a difference by bringing a seasoned customer perspective.

As I reflect on what’s happened in our industry over the years, a key observation is how I have seen Citrix technologies evolve from the early adoption days in the 90’s as a band aid solution, to many customers now using Citrix as a strategic delivery platform and even greater numbers now considering the technology for the very first time. It is these early customer thought leaders that have done some really amazing things with the technology and enabled us to become a 1.6 billion dollar company by creating so much value for their clients. It seems to me that we are now also at the early stages of the next innovation cycle and early adopters are catching on. I recall sitting at a Synergy session in Houston last year where the topic was a discussion on Desktop Virtualization. I remember what felt like a cynical question about who’s actually doing this and a call for a raise of hands. There was silence in the room and I got a nudge from one of my former team mates, and I raised my hand. I won’t get into details, but the point is that I think customer thought leaders have and will continue to innovate and find use cases and solutions that we have not even conceived of yet because they are looking to build competitive advantage for their firms because they are driven by an opportunistic mentality that looks beyond teething constraints. Over time this innovation diffuses to the masses, and that’s ok in many cases and lost opportunity for others. Working with customers and the broader community, I am convinced that we will continue to evolve our products to enable broader adoption of our technology stack so customers can solve real world problems.   

As I alluded to, I think it’s very easy to play cynic, and I could have easily written an article about stuff many vendors can’t do or theorize what will happen or what will not happen. I have learned that to build real world solutions requires skill, experience, judgment and the courage to reach out to customers and users who want to be part of the solution. I hope that many of you will be comfortable reaching out to me harry.labana@citrix.com and telling me what you really think as we build upon our current success and evolve our story. I promise I will incorporate your views into my thinking even if I don’t agree.