This is the first in a series of conversations with six key Citrix partners in Northern Europe. The partner community is our life blood, both in Northern Europe and globally, so we thought it was time to shine a little #CitrixPartnerLove on some of the most valued — and valuable partners — that we work with!

Finnish company Comping Oy is a Platinum Citrix Solution Advisor, offering Citrix environments as subscription-based cloud services, as well as providing Citrix Consulting services to customers. Celebrating its sixth birthday last month, the company also recently scooped the award for fastest growing CSA (Citrix Solution Advisor) at the Citrix partner accelerator event in Helsinki earlier this year, for the second time.

Keen to practice what it preaches, Comping is a completely virtual company, with no offices. “We work from anywhere, with any device, and we are a very good example of how you can work securely within the Citrix environment,” says Toppinen.

I caught up with Toppinen to gather his perspectives on a few key issues facing the industry right now…

Cloud is a key theme for the industry. Tell us about cloud transformation and where you see it heading.

The digitalisation of society is accelerating cloud transformation. People are using apps to solve problems within their personal lives, and so they expect to be able to do the same within the business environment. The cloud allows company technology to interact in the same way, but with enhanced layers of security.

One of our biggest priorities right now is to teach our customers that the cloud is also a network concern. When you are talking about the cloud, you need to be talking about the network too, and how it fits within your overall architecture.

What type of cloud deployment is proving most popular in your market, at present, for you?

Cloud transformation began with public cloud, but today when we are talking to our customers, it is always a hybrid cloud architecture that they need.

What proportion of your business is focused on cloud right now, and do you expect this to change over the course of the year?

This year and the next, our focus is on transitioning from a cloud consultancy to a Citrix-managed cloud company, where we are building the total architecture for our customers.

One of the biggest drivers for this change is Citrix and its great products that are coming to market, including Citrix cloud but also its network innovation. SD-WAN is the most exciting thing for us right now.

The ‘work from anywhere’ culture remains a dream for many businesses. How far away, do you believe, we are from achieving this as the norm across European businesses?

In Finland, I would estimate that half of traditional offices are on their way to becoming a ‘work from anywhere’ business. However, there is much duplicity going on and many Finnish companies have rules that prevent their workforce from working from anywhere. Within company culture there is often still the expectation that certain employees must come to the office — however in practice, all of our customers, who are office workers, have the ability to work from anywhere.

What value do you gain through working with Citrix?

Citrix is a big international company. We are a small company. We complement each other within the field. Our business strategies are very similar and so it’s very easy to work together. We work very closely with the Finnish team — and the Citrix teams across Northern Europe and globally — and have a great working relationship.

How do you think Citrix is moving forward as a business?

In the last couple of years, we have seen Citrix become very focused, on cheaper products particularly, and that’s a move we agree with. Citrix started its cloud journey very rapidly which has given it strong competitive advantage, and we favour the Citrix architecture where management is in the cloud. This all makes it very easy for us to build a hybrid cloud for our customers.

As a personal question, how do you like to work, and what qualities do you value most in a business leader?

We work from anywhere, at any time, and because I’m one of the owners of the business, I work when I need to, when either my customers need me, or my employees need me. I work hard but I am also able to take time out for myself, around my business commitments.

How do you relax from the pressures of work?

I like to run a lot, and my family is very passionate about Alpine skiing. I eat well, sleep well, and I have good focus and energy for work.

What area of innovation excites you the most within the industry, in 2018?

Analytics and security are the two most exciting things happening with the hybrid cloud environment, at present. We need to be in the scenario where we can react before our customers even sense that anything is wrong.