As many industry thought leaders have discussed, the age of mobility applies to user experience, flexibility, context, and portability.  However, not many people focus on the criticality of data as a component of mobility.  In reality, you can’t deliver a complete mobile workspace if your data is still trapped in individual applications. To enable people to be productive wherever work takes them, you’ve got to free enterprise data from silos and enable a fabric that makes it available anywhere. That’s the depth of vision that we feel earned Citrix a spot as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing[1]—where you won’t find narrow utilities.

We’re pleased to see Citrix in the Magic Quadrant. Citrix was not only named as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing for Citrix ShareFile but was also named a leader as well as in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites[2] for Citrix XenMobile, and for the Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers[3] for Citrix NetScaler. But the point of this blog isn’t just to brag about our successes. I think it’s worth taking a deeper look at just why ShareFile stands out in the market, and what it says about the way people and enterprises use data now.

Conversations about infrastructure and mobility often focus on applications—how to deliver them, how to manage and secure them, how to optimize them for different networks and types of devices. Those are all important points, but all this app talk can distract people from a core truth of productivity: an app is nothing without data. In fact, the only reason an app exists is to manipulate data. Productivity happens when people can connect with both apps and data the right way, in the right place, at the right time—and that’s the problem we’re solving with ShareFile and the rest of our mobile workspace solution.

Think about how data has evolved over the years. Once upon a time, the world was flat—as in flat files. This was a pretty limited model, with no way to locate specific data without navigating the hierarchy, but it did have simplicity on its side. Next structured tables and relational databases, transforming enterprise data through the ability to structure the way we store and query data. Now the requirements posed by big data and Web 2.0 are driving the development of new, non-relational data models—the NoSQL movement—with massive scalability, parallel operations and distributed architectures. These are important innovations, but they don’t do anything to help get data out of databases and into the hands of the people who rely on it to get their work done.

How many zombie applications are being kept around just for the data in their stores? How many hours do IT staffers spend each week propping up that old technology? How much better would life be for knowledge workers if they never had to think about those old apps again?

While ShareFile has some features in common with consumer-grade file sharing utilities, what matters more are the ways ShareFile goes further.  Syncing across devices and sharing files via emailed URLs is easy enough—but have you ever tried accessing a file stored in SharePoint or a network drive with a consumer service, much less share it with a colleague? Can you access data in any enterprise system securely, without having to care about where it’s stored or how it’s managed? Is your data truly disconnected from devices—including back-end servers as well as personal devices—so people can access and use it anywhere?

That’s the kind of mobility you need a data fabric to enable, and it’s what sets ShareFile apart from the competition. In effect, we let you deliver a personal database that includes everything an individual needs to be productive, integrated into a mobile workspace they can access anywhere, on any device. We believe that Gartner understands our vision and feel they’ve recognized us as an industry leader for it.

Matthew Morgan, SVP of Product Marketing at CitrixAbout the author

Matthew Morgan is the vice president of corporate product marketing for Citrix.  In this role, Mr. Morgan oversees global product marketing for all Citrix solutions.  His background includes twenty years in enterprise software, including leading worldwide product marketing organizations for HP Software, Mercury Interactive, and Blueprint.  Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or visit his personal blog.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

[1] Gartner report, Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing, July 2, 2014, Monica Basso, Jeffrey Mann, Charles Smulders

[2] Gartner report, Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites, June 3, 2014, Terrence Cosgrove, Rob Smith, Chris Silva, Bryan Taylor, John Girard, Monica Basso

[3] Gartner report, Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers, October 30, 2013, Mark Fabbi, Neil Rickard, Bjarne Munch, Andrew Lerner