You know there’s something strange in the air when the front page of every industry publication is emblazoned with “yet more news” about one battle or another between “tech giants,” or with “breaking news” of a mega-merger or change in strategic direction.
With the recent split of HP (and its recently announced departure from the public cloud arena), what seems like daily updates and clarifications to the Dell/EMC-VMware deal, and an anticipated resulting shift in tech giant alignments, today’s landscape feels somewhat like an episode of “Game of Thrones.”
Dueling fiefdoms, battling lords and family betrayals, it’s easy to draw parallels, yet it’s hard to know who will come out on top. I’m rather known to have an opinion about the industry at large, primarily because I’ve lived a long time “on the other side of the fence” as an IT customer. But in my current day-to-day job as a Citrix CTO, I’m paid to focus on one thing – delivering what our customers need. I can tell you I’ve definitely learned what they don’t need – confusion.
In the last six months here at Citrix, I have traveled thousands of miles and talked to many customers across myriad industries, and here is what I hear over and over: in the face of growing competition and ever tighter margins, organizations are being pushed to transform and become digital and agile. To achieve that, they crave a trusted partner, not just a vendor, who will work alongside their teams to help them achieve their strategic business goals.
In the terms of Game of Thrones, they need someone to help them ride the dragon. What they don’t want is a partisan vendor relationship like the Night’s Watch, with its promise that “your past is erased if you come off to this desolate land.”
Let’s dive a little deeper into this. In 2011, Mark Andreessen posited that “software is eating the world.” This may turn out to be one of the most profound statements ever; transcending time and never being more relevant than it is today in 2015. In my discussions with our customers, it’s clear that applications – or software available to businesses – is now considered a key driver of innovation and competiveness. Applications, and the secure delivery of them to any device, continue to be a gateway to new services, products, customer experiences and revenue generation.
An application strategy is now a business strategy.
Yesterday, most organizations had relatively simple environments, with applications installed on desktop or laptop devices. In almost all cases, those devices belonged exclusively to the company. Although the environments were simple, the end-to-end management of them was inefficient and often time consuming.
Today, as we reach the end of the PC era and the combinations of paradigms such as virtualization and consumerization have become accepted norms, we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of devices, locations and networks used to deliver desktops and Windows, mobile and SaaS applications.
Tomorrow, the future is one of hyper-connectivity and hyper-scale, yet this is not a simple case of “switching the past off and the future on” – yesterday’s and today’s worlds will need to co-exist with tomorrow’s solutions and work in unison to support future growth and competitive advantage. Only a true partner will understand this approach.
We at Citrix are striving to be that partner, to ensure that we understand every organization will move at the pace of business and this pace will be very different depending on the individual customer. We will preserve and enable, helping customers continue to realize the benefits from existing investments, but giving them flexibility and choice along their individual business transformation journeys.
The pace of business will provide some significant challenges for all of our customers as they endeavor to strike the right balance of rapidly assimilating new, business-enabling technologies with management of existing infrastructures and applications (see more on these challenges and what I call “the application continuum” here).
In my world of creating delightful products for customers, the “political” world doesn’t matter, it’s all about the customer, being their partner and committing to delivery what will help them transform their business.
In Season 1, Episode 7 of Game Of Thrones, it was proclaimed, “When you play the Game Of Thrones, you win or you die.” A lot of what is going on in the technology industry today feels just like that. However, when you add the customer dimension, if the customer doesn’t win, we all die anyway.