I invite you to sit back, relax and take a look at this video. What better way to show you a glimpse into the future? And it wouldn’t be a CTO blog without that – right? I won’t spoil it by giving a synopsis – just pay close attention. Everything you see is real.

In this future environment, traditional everything becomes the exception. As you just saw, a trip to the doctor can become as simple as a conversation with your Amazon Echo.

Welcome to the world of IoT.

In a previous blog post, I introduced the exciting concept of Workspace IoT. Workspace IoT is not just defined by endpoint devices or things. It is defined by how all of these devices and things interact with users, with machines, with applications, with location, with workflows and with data. And it will help shape the next generation of Citrix solutions.

Recently, at a series of industry round-table meetings, I was asked to give some thoughts on what I see as the major influences that are causing many organizations to reimagine work and, of course, to explain how the Citrix strategy aligns and enables the journey toward digital transformation.

Let’s take a look at the areas that I highlighted:

Rate of technology change & adoption – the sheer pace at which new technology is created, made available, on-boarded, implemented and utilized is accelerating at an unparalleled rate. In many organizations, the aggregate technology lifecycle is getting shorter while, at the same time, the demonstrable value to business is increasing. This has significant implications for traditional IT departments as they strive to balance managing existing environments with unprecedented levels of new demand. 

The API Economy opening up new business – to fully participate in new global digital commerce—either for B2B or B2C—a strong API strategy must become a key strategic initiative. Whether enabled via SaaS, through extending proprietary applications, or combinations of both, APIs that enable standardized interfaces can be a catalyst for innovation, an attractor for new customers, an enabler for mobility and a cornerstone of new workflows and integrations.

Workforce demographic & new expectations – today, more than one in three American workers are Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015), and this year, they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce. As more and more “digital natives” enter the workforce, the expectations of how and where to “do work” will continue to evolve. The demand for teleworking, co-working spaces, BYO and new, self-identified technologies will cause every organization to rethink and reissue flexible policies. 

Business disruption from non-traditional competitors – across every industry, in all four corners of the globe, many traditional and previously successful business models are now subject to rapid displacement, disruption and, in some landmark cases, absolute obliteration. The examples are numerous and well-publicized (Netflix disrupted the home video rental business, Uber disrupted private car ownership, Tesla disrupted the petroleum industry, etc). The quest for rapid digital transformation is now existential for many well-established customers, as they seek to redefine their own business models and stay ahead of the game.

A Cloud-first and Mobile-first strategy has now become a reality – in many cases, and in ever-increasing volumes, our customers have established and are executing on cloud-first and mobile-first strategies. These strategies include the adoption of—or migration to—both infrastructure as a service and software as a service as they look for efficiency in cost and flexibility in scale. Mobile-first is focused on ensuring that personal productivity reaches new levels by providing secure access to the applications and data required for employees to “work from anywhere.”

Technology needs to be increasingly defined and met at the Line of Business level – what was once called “Shadow IT” and, in fact, was once considered to be the mortal enemy of traditional IT departments, is now being widely embraced and rebranded as potential “innovation pipelines.” The impact of “Shadow IT” has certainly provided the opportunity for redefined relationships between business and more forward thinking IT groups. Increasingly, line of business specialists—who are expert in work processes—are driving requirements and engaging directly with vendors. This shift is causing IT to rethink its role as a facilitator, not a blocker.

Considering the above, it is easy to understand how the combined impact of these influences serves a catalyst for the adoption of cloud, mobile, IoT and big data/analytics technologies in any industry or customer environment and how that, by definition, helps redefine the future of work. It is also a forcing function and a great set of indicators to help us focus on what is important as we create new solutions to enable our customers to support this new wave of business.

I’ve mentioned it many times before, but it is imperative that we view the journey of each customer as a move along the application delivery continuum and provide the solutions that enable each customer to move at the pace of their business.

To reinforce this, let’s take a look at a simple visual.

customer journey

Most customers that I talk to are in the “Traditional” mode. Many applications are either physically installed on a PC or provided by a combination of XenApp, XenDesktop and XenMobile. Often, these applications are distributed across different deployment solutions, which create complexity for admins and a less-than-ideal user experience.

The arrival of Citrix Cloud provides a unique opportunity to aggregate and deliver new workspaces, bringing together all the digital assets that are required for each user in a contextual way, with single sign on. This affords new levels of control to the administrator, while simplifying operations and provides a great user experience through a single pane of glass. But there’s a catch. The applications still live in “silos,” and although they are delivered through an aggregated workspace, there is little to no interaction across the applications.

However, in the future cloud approach, bringing the concept of Workspace IoT back into full view, we will provide the simple-to-use solutions that enable every employee to create workflows that drive new business processes, refine existing processes, integrate applications and enable the introduction of new genres of devices and things, all with a goal of improving productivity.

These cross-app workflows enable people and things to get work done. This is the very essence of Workspace IoT.

Our passion and desire to further innovate on how we bring information to workers to help them be more productive is relentless. I believe that we absolutely must reimagine how we define the secure delivery of apps & data. Our mantra at Citrix is that we will be the world’s best provider of secure delivery of apps & data. Think about that for a moment. 

As we are already seeing with the rapid rise of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing and IoT, not only will the concept of applications continue to change as technologies and requirements change, but the way that we interact with applications will also change. And the best news? We are well-prepared for this game-changing development.

This is just the start of what we’re working on. Stay tuned for more updates and, as always, your feedback is most welcome.