It’s a beautiful day here in San Francisco. While there isn’t a cloud in the sky, it’s certainly all about the cloud here at Citrix Synergy! With a record-breaking 6,500 attendees from 50 countries, the sky is the limit when it comes to the energy and excitement about cloud computing.

There is so much amazing information to absorb at Synergy each year, it can be challenging to take it all in. The opening keynote by Citrix CEO Mark Templeton is one of the best ways to learn all about the latest Citrix product news as well as the company’s vision for the future. It’s incredibly exciting to hear the whoops and hollers from the audience as Mark enters the stage, and he always makes us Citrix employees feel proud and inspired about the great things we can achieve together with our customers and partners.

In Wednesday’s keynote, Mark focused on the profound shift we’re all experiencing as we move from the PC era to the cloud era. This shift is fundamentally altering how we work and live. New technologies are enabling us to move seamlessly between our professional and personal lives throughout the day. We no longer live in a black-and-white world where we go to work in the morning, sit at a computer, and go home at the end of the day. Hardly! Thanks to mobile devices and cloud services, we are able to move between our work and personal lives all day long without missing a beat. Mark calls this “lifesplicing,” and I think that term perfectly describes this growing phenomenon.

But this isn’t just a societal shift affecting end users like me. This is a total reinvention of work, computing and business strategy. And, as Mark described, IT is on the front line navigating how to build and deliver infrastructure to support this new world order.

Mobile Workstyles and Cloud Services

Mark went on to explain that the old assumptions in IT about how people work need to be replaced with an entirely new expectation. Who doesn’t want to be wireless? Who doesn’t want to be able to access all of their data and applications on a tablet or smartphone instead of a company-issued laptop? This freedom and flexibility is the new assumption, and IT needs to build infrastructureto support this new reality with the security, control and governance that enterprises require. IT needs to do both – empower users to be mobile AND safeguard their company assets.

This is how Mark set the backdrop for the Citrix roadmap moving forward. Our strategy is to provide customers with solutions for cloud services and mobile workstyles that will ultimately build a world where people can work and play from anywhere. Sound familiar? This has been the Citrix mission since the company was founded, and it continues to be a driving force – and incredibly relevant – in the cloud era.

Specifically, in order to build the mobile enterprise, Citrix is expanding its portfolio of personal cloud solutions to empower employees to interact securely with any combination of people, data, apps and devices – and then bring it all together in a seamless, integrated experience for end users. One significant highlight from our mobility news line-up is the acquisition of Virtual Computer, which we will combine with Citrix XenClient product to give corporate laptop users the power of virtual desktops to go while making it far more secure and cost-effective for IT to manage large fleets of corporate laptops across a distributed mobile enterprise. You can read about this announcement as well as all the new and enhanced products (too many to list here!) in this press release about mobile workstyles.

Mark also outlined the strategy Citrix will take to help companies of all sizes deliver business-ready cloud services. We made several cloud announcements here at Synergy that give customers a simple, pragmatic path to build new clouds, bridge to third-party clouds, deliver cloud services with the best performance, reliability and security, and transform existing Windows desktops and apps into true, cloud-like services. On this last note, a major part of this strategy is our just-announced Project Avalon, which will bring together a wide range of Citrix technologies to enable customers to rapidly deploy personalized Windows apps and desktops in a flexible, private cloud environment and use public clouds for “capacity on demand” needs such as business continuity, M&A or offshore projects.

Overall, this new cloud roadmap is particularly significant for companies that want to start harnessing the benefits of cloud computing today without disrupting their current business models. Citrix makes it possible for you to start now and grow. In fact, during Thursday’s keynote, Sameer Dholakia, head of the Citrix Cloud Platforms group, continued along this theme of getting started with cloud services. With help from special guests Geva Perry, a renowned expert on cloud adoption, as well as executives from Engine Yard, RightScale, SoftLayer and Sunguard, attendees were challenged to start thinking about the specific things they can do to help their companies start adopting the cloud as soon as they get back home from Synergy. In fact, Sameer is so confident in the ease and power of Apache CloudStack, that he told the audience to send him an email if their IT teams aren’t inspired to get started within 30-60 days. Game on!

Citrix Innovation Award Winner

In addition to unveiling the Citrix roadmap for mobile workstyles and cloud services, Mark also had the honor of announcing the Citrix Innovation Award winner for 2012.

The applause for Educational Services of America was deafening and deserved! ESA is a perfect example of a company pushing technology to the next level, using Citrix virtualization and collaboration solutions to help more than 12,000 students learn at any time and on any device. Remote learning tools are helping provide alternative and special education programs for students at risk of dropping out and those with special needs.  Check out their video…I guarantee it’ll bring a tear to your eye!

ESA offers such an inspiring example, but there are other amazing stories as well. I’d like to recognize IDC Frontier and Suncorp Group, the other finalists for this year’s Innovation Award, which also demonstrate powerful business IT solutions in action. Thank you all.

In Closing…

I’ve had an incredible experience at Synergy this week, and more importantly, our customers and partners have too. I’ve especially enjoyed hearing their reactions to all the new products and strategy updates we’ve made here this week. While Synergy isn’t yet over (and can I just say that Lifehouse ROCKED it at the Synergy Party last night!) I want to say thank you to all of you who are here in San Francisco. Also, thank you to all who joined us through SynergyTV, social media, and any other way you were able to connect with Citrix Synergy.  Together, we will continue to build a world where people can work and play from anywhere. See you in the cloud!