The time has come for me to begin a new chapter in the desktop virtualization journey.
I still vividly recall what now seems like an eternity ago, when as a customer I first started to toy with the idea of desktop virtualization. Many people thought the idea was absurd, but a few good engineers were able to band together with supportive leadership and we followed through on what we believed was the beginning of a new desktop architecture. That belief required us to challenge the status quo, including the vendor eco system, so we could build the solutions we needed to transform the way our business could operate. I sometimes reflect on those times with my former colleagues and it’s amazing to see the business agility and flexibility that we enabled. I learned so many valuable lessons during those years and was then fortunate enough to be presented with the opportunity to join Citrix as VP and CTO and be part of the leadership team chartered with taking desktop virtualization to the next level.
When I was considering the Citrix opportunity, many personal advisors advised me to ponder if Citrix could survive in the desktop virtualization market vs. its competitors? That forced me to reflect deeply upon what I believed and valued. Based on my previous experience, I was convinced that Citrix was a great opportunity to bring so much of what I had learned to a global audience. The opportunity to help shape a new computing architecture for the world excited me. Today it’s clear that Citrix is the leader in desktop virtualization and I have no doubt the market will continue to grow at a healthy pace. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to make my contribution to that success. I can’t overstate how grateful I am to so many people. From wonderful fellow Citrites who welcomed me and guided me in so many ways, to customers and analysts who have kept me honest, to the desktop virtualization community at large who have shared so much wisdom with me. Thank you and I know a bright future for desktop virtualization lies ahead.
Despite the success to date, for me it is time to move on to my next challenge. Recently I wrote a three part series part 1, part 2, part 3 that discussed how desktop virtualization is a strategic conversation that leads to the desktop transformation that needs to take place in an organization. The ways of distributed computing of yesterday are not going to carry the world forward to fully embrace all the benefits of a transformed desktop. This next generation desktop transformation movement is going to require a new way to think about working with existing desktops – both virtual and physical. Desktops are becoming more diverse every day. What is a desktop in 10 years time? Without a crystal ball I can certainly engage in some very interesting conversations, but one thing I am certain of – the world is moving away from a homogeneous device-centric world to a heterogeneous people-centric world. Users will have more choice and the consumerization of IT will become more prevalent in our lives. Desktop transformation in all its forms today and tomorrow will increasingly require IT to find ways to embrace these new tectonic shifts that are reshaping the landscape.
I believe that user virtualization is going to be a big part of this transformation. I am delighted to announce that on May 9th I will be joining Appsense as VP and CTO leading the technical direction, execution and strategy for their user virtualization solutions.
User virtualization will become an increasingly strategic part of the desktop estate, because it drives simplification that lowers TCO across heterogeneous desktop environments. User virtualization enables IT in their transformation to a service orientated organization. User virtualization will also evolve to enable mobile and cloud experiences focused on providing end users with more choices that empower them to be more productive. Rather than manage individual devices, desktops and unique user configurations, user virtualization focuses on managing the users environment, to provide the right experience anywhere. Too often people nascent in their understanding mistakenly dismiss user virtualization as just a feature of desktop virtualization or think of it as just a profile or personalization solution. User virtualization is so much more and I believe this user-centric focus is essential to enabling the consumerization of IT.
Appsense is the undisputed market leader in user virtualization. Goldman Sachs recently demonstrated their confidence in the user virtualization opportunity by investing $70M for a minority stake. The Sunday Times, a leading British newspaper also recently ranked Appsense as #12 in their top 100 listing for private British companies with the fastest growing profits.
On a personal level, joining Appsense enables me to connect back with Manchester in England’s Northwest, where I completed my undergraduate degree. This is where Appsense has traditionally been based. I’m really looking forward to spending time in the Northwest of England once again. I’ve never been back since I graduated, and am looking forward to a proper pint! Appsense has also recently moved its headquarters to New York City. This is ideal for me, since New York has been my home ever since I moved to the United States from the UK. A West Coast Silicon Valley presence is also being ramped up, so I will also still continue to spend plenty of time in the Valley connecting with many friends and colleagues.
I’ve worked in New York City’s financial services Wall Street district for many years. There is a limited tech industry being led out of New York City, despite so much cutting edge technology applied here everyday. I’m thrilled about enabling a next generation technology from the heart of New York City. Coupled with the opportunity to lead the charge for a company from the country of my birth makes this simply irresistible for me. My philosophy with these types of career decisions has always been to ask myself how will I feel when I look back on my life? Will I reflect contently that I dared to try to make a difference with a pragmatic chance of success, or will I regret not trying?
There you have it. A great ride so far, where along the way I have been fortunate in meeting great people who have been generous in their mentoring and shaped my thinking to prepare me for amazing opportunities. That journey now must continue. Citrix and Appsense care deeply about the importance of desktop transformation. They understand that desktop virtualization is more than just VDI and will continue to evolve. Managing just a hypervisor will not be enough; a more robust set of management capabilities will be required. Focusing on the user will be critical to enable this new tomorrow. Appsense is a Platinum Sponsor of Citrix Synergy and has been a great long-term partner of Citrix. In 2010 Appsense was Citrix Ready Solution Partner of the Year.
So while it’s always emotional to leave an environment that you love – especially one with great people, I am looking forward to playing an even more active role in accelerating the desktop transformation movement that we’ve been working so hard on at Citrix and continuing to work closely with my Citrix colleagues in my new role.
I look forward to the journey ahead and am excited to meet my new colleagues at Appsense to begin our mission. I also look forward to meeting many new thought leaders in the eco system who want to work together to enable a better tomorrow with user virtualization. I will be attending Microsoft TechEd, Citrix Synergy, and also speaking at BriForum Europe. So a busy first few weeks lie ahead. However before I do that, I once again want to thank everybody at Citrix and in the community who have made me proud to call myself a Citrite.