The month of December always provides a special opportunity to reflect upon the year gone by and look ahead to what’s in store for the following year. Well, this December is no exception. In fact, today, December 8, 2010, marks a special milestone for Citrix: the 15-year anniversary of the Citrix IPO. And what a ride the last 15 years has been! Not just for Citrix but for the entire computing industry. I’d like to share my thoughts on just how far we’ve come and, more importantly, where we’re going.

One of the most significant trends over the past few years has been the consumerization of IT. With increasing speed and frequency, people are bringing their favorite products and technologies like smartphones and tablets from their personal lives to their jobs – regardless of whether their companies officially allow it. This movement continues to have a profound positive impact on the way people work.

In fact, the latest Citrix Survey (of nearly 5,000 people in November) shows that the adoption of iPads in the enterprise is indeed going mainstream. A whopping 95% agreed that the activity they want to do most on their iPad is “read and respond to business email.” While this sounds like a no-brainer, I think there’s something deeper here. We can already check email via smartphones. So the survey shows that we want MORE. We want to see more, we want to access more, we want to do more. We want bigger screens, bigger keyboards, and more functionality than our smartphones provide, so we can get work done – without the time and hassle associated with booting up our laptops or PCs. The iPad and other tablets enable this. The phenomenon of working from multiple devices – not replacing one, but using multiple devices seamlessly – is what Citrix calls “Snack, Dine and Create.” Smartphones let us snack, iPads and tablets let us dine, and our PCs let us create. More to come from Citrix on this, so stay tuned.

Another survey highlight is that 91% of respondents said the business applications they most want access to on their iPads are productivity apps like Microsoft Office. (Collaboration apps came in second at 68%.) Yet many people believe their organizations refuse to support access to corporate data with an iPad. The belief is that there are too many policy and security concerns, but much of this is based on broad misperceptions that must be corrected. Watch for a future blog where we’ll address these misperceptions.

The last survey result I want to mention is that 13% of respondents said the iPad is now “mission-critical” for their job. Not just convenient, or more productive, but, actually mission-critical. That’s astounding for a product that’s only been on the market since April (in the U.S. at least). Can anyone tell me what other technology has had that kind of impact in just 9 months?

Clearly this is a dramatic change in the way we work. And it’s all part of the Citrix vision of a world where people can work and play from anywhere, on any device. This vision was in its early stages when the company went  public 15 years ago, and we continue to deliver on it today.

Before I sign off (it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me and I do have a lot to say), let me tell you just a little about where we’re going, with a few highlights as we recognize our IPO anniversary.

  • Just this morning, Citrix rang the opening bell at NASDAQ. What a thrill! This is a fun and memorable way for all of us Citrix employees to commemorate our achievements.
  • We also launched a new ad campaign today (look for it in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and many other outlets) to showcase how iPads can run Windows using Citrix, making them secure, viable options for use in the workplace. The ad encourages people to join the “iPad at Work” movement, and shares resources for both iPad users and IT managers so they can use Citrix to say “yes” to iPads and other consumer devices in the enterprise.
  • On that note, Citrix joined Google at their launch yesterday of the new Chrome Notebooks. Our own Gordon Payne was onstage to show how Citrix Receiver can deliver Windows and other corporate apps to this new device. As the Chrome Notebook begins to join other consumer devices in the enterprise, you can bet that Citrix will be there to support them all!
  • Last but certainly not least, today we launched the Citrix Startup Accelerator, a new seed investment fund to support early-stage companies around the world.  With an incubator facility located in Silicon Valley, it supports companies  with new technology or business models that share our vision of a world where anyone can work and play from anywhere on any device. Think you have what it takes? Click here to learn more and submit your proposal.  

As our new Startup Accelerator program shows, Citrix continues to drive innovation forward, within our own organization and with our partners and customers worldwide. While the last 15 years have been momentous, the next 15 years are sure to deliver even more change, excitement and growth for Citrix and the industry at large. We look forward to seeing you on this next phase of our journey in virtual computing.