At Citrix Synergy 2018, we showcased a ton of new innovation centered around Experience, Choice and Security. This was not just the next version of our solutions, it was the unveiling of a brand new Citrix. Over the last 12 months, we upgraded the entire organization and portfolio from an IT-centric product set to an end-user-centric solution suite. This shift is quite significant for the future of Citrix, so let me give you some insight as to why this is so significant.

Solutions Focus

In case you missed the Day 1 Keynote at Synergy, we didn’t mention any product names. Instead, we showcased Citrix Workspace, which is an end-to-end solution that heavily relies on XenMobile, XenApp, Secure Browser, Netscaler, Sharefile, and a ton of new services working behind the scenes, such as Citrix Analytics, the Embedded Browser, Secure Web Gateway Service, etc. Don’t get me wrong, our individual product lines are industry category leaders and we are continuing to invest in them, but on top of that, we are deeply integrating our technologies in Citrix Workspace to achieve:

  • Significantly simplified setup for customers
  • Dramatically improved security through behavior analytics using Citrix Analytics
  • A delightful experience for the end-user
  • A true bring-your-own-anything environment to the enterprise, while improving both security and productivity

Delight The End-User

It feels almost alien, but when I grew up in the Netherlands, there were two TV channels, no cell phone, no internet, not everybody had a color TV, no PCs, no brain-computer interfaces, no social media, and definitely no augmented reality. Right now, Generation Z (who probably tweeted before they said their first words) is entering the workforce. In fact, they likely crawled out of the womb towards their parent’s cell phone to start videotaping their first moves.

The mobile savvy-ness of the newer generations is changing the way we work and the interesting part is that it radiates on to the other generations. There is no gap between generations in my opinion; the world evolves and, as such, demands tools that improve productivity and are fun to use. Long gone are the days where computing was computer-centric, not user-centric, and users live in a dynamic environment. Users demand a work environment that is delightful to use and highly adaptive — where the compute environment you use understands your context and intent based on artificial intelligence. Understanding the intent and context of the user can significantly improve productivity and the overall experience for the end-user.

Improve Productivity

One aspect of delighting the end-user is to simply offer a more productive environment. Let’s face it, we are swamped with “bureaucrazy” (as I call it), and point solutions forces end-users to change context. Large enterprises typically use between 500 and 5000 applications and none of them are designed to optimize the end-user experience across all applications. The goal of Citrix Workspace is to offer a productivity layer across applications focused on the end-user not the application or the task. We truly believe that and end-user centric approach dramatically improves productivity and reduces context switching, leading to a much better experience. This not only reduces unnecessary work and bureaucracy, it leads to better overall quality of work and impact of knowledge workers.

The CAM Approach – (Hybrid) Cloud, Analytics and Mobility

At Citrix, we take what we call the CAM approach – Cloud, Analytics and Mobility.

Our strategy is to deliver solutions for the Hybrid Cloud. Almost all of our customers have adopted Cloud solutions, but will live in a hybrid cloud environment for the next 10+ years. Too often, the industry talks about Cloud as a binary choice, but in our opinion, it is almost always hybrid. There are many variants of a hybrid Cloud:

  • An on-prem environment that is enriched by Cloud services (Smart Tools, Citrix Analytics and the like)
  • Some of your users might be running on-prem while others run out of the Cloud
  • Your production environment is on-prem while your disaster recovery environment is in the Cloud
  • Some “functions” of your compute environment are outsourced to the Cloud
  • Your identity provider is in the Cloud but some of your applications are not

Hybrid Cloud environments are hard to manage and require a different approach to protect, administer, monitor, and integrate for end-users.

Analytics is driving new value for customers and end-users and is pervasive throughout the solution stack. Viewing behavioral analytics as a separate solution doesn’t feel like the right approach to me. Analytics needs to be deeply integrated in the solution stack to protect the environment and aid the user. Application designs will be driven by the value analytics brings to the end-user which requires an analytics-first approach in solution design.

Mobility is not about the use of mobile phones, it is about the mobility of the end-user. End-users are very fluent and expect a context aware “follow me” approach of their compute environment. This is not limited to traditionally mobile environments such as a doctor visiting patients in an hospital environment, all end-users are on-the-go all-the-time.

An Agile Organization

Behind the scenes, we updated the Citrix organization, as well. All Product and Engineering teams are 100% agile with a Continuous Deployment delivery model in Citrix Cloud. On average, we update Citrix Cloud over 500 times per quarter. That required a different way of thinking about Product Design, Product Management, Engineering, Cloud Ops, and an investment in automation and quality control. 14 months ago, we made significant changes, which led to a major boost in agility and innovation. We are doubling the number of patent filings each year with a level of innovation I haven’t seen before.

Under The Hood

Under the hood we are rapidly changing the underlying technologies as well. Citrix Analytics is built on top of the Azure Analytics Platform which allowed us to focus on machine learning models rather than building analytics infrastructure. Our UI technologies are rapidly moving to React (Native),  Backend services are ReST based and more and more componentized in micro-services based on Docker containers. We continue to  invest in automated Continuous Deployment models and lots of monitoring and self-healing capabilities.

This is not your granddaddy’s Citrix; it is day-from-night different from when I joined the company 18 months ago. And the best part is that we are only scratching the surface of what is possible with Citrix Workspace. What an exciting journey.