At Citrix Synergy 2019, we’ve introduced the world to the next evolution of Citrix Workspace. This is the year we’re adding “intelligence” to the Citrix Workspace. And if you’re anything like the thousands of people at the show and all the people we’ve been privately briefing about this, you’re really excited to learn more.

Consider this blog “Citrix Workspace Intelligence 101.” By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of how powerful these new capabilities are and how they maximize employee experience while boosting user productivity and engagement.

Applications are failing employee experience

We’re living in the day and age of apps, apps, and more apps. When a worker interacts with a typical enterprise application, you can bet they’re probably using less than 10 percent of the functionality because that’s all they need. Jumping around from one full-blown app to another is not efficient or conducive to productivity. Equally frustrating is the fact that many of these time-consuming application interactions (expenses, HR, IT tickets, PTO requests) have more to do with job maintenance than our actual job responsibilities.

Our customers have told us that they’re looking for ways to help employees work more efficiently — 67 percent of workers believe that it would easier to focus on work if important information from all of their apps appeared in a single window. But we didn’t want to take someone else’s word for it, so we ran some test trials ourselves to see what would happen. The results were compelling. The average user was able to perform application tasks 67 percent faster when interacting with the microapp vs. the full app. This results in a savings of 51 minutes per day, assuming that a user spends 10 minutes per hour on work tasks in apps. Imagine what you could do with this extra time.

A single experience for everything? It’s a tall order, but this is exactly what Citrix can deliver with the new Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities.

Last year at Citrix Synergy we introduced the Citrix Workspace app. The first multi-platform workspace UI to unify and aggregate ALL user applications, virtualized desktops, and the data that goes along with them through a single window (UI). This year we took it one step further. Maybe five steps further.

What do we mean by Workspace intelligence?

A digital workspace becomes an intelligent workspace when it moves beyond organizing apps and data to guide, and ultimately automating work. To do this, you have to get out of the mindset of simply delivering applications and making the user hunt and peck for the right menus, screens, and commands. You have to extract the relevant actions from those applications and use insights to prioritize them and present them to the employee in a simple way so they can get work done in the most efficient way possible. In Figure 1 below, you can see what the new Workspace app with intelligence will look like.

You still have access to all of your applications, desktops, and files along the left-hand side, but now the bulk of the real estate is focused on the powerful notification feed down the middle. Look familiar? Kind of like a social media or news feed? It’s actually populated with “microapp” integrations with all of your most commonly used SaaS apps like Concur, Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Tableau, G Suite, and more. In fact, in 2019 we’ll support more than 100 out-of-the-box microapp integration templates with leading SaaS vendors.

   (Figure 1)

So, what is a microapp? Leveraging publicly available APIs within SaaS, web, legacy, and homegrown applications, we can allow users to view information and — more importantly — perform actions without requiring a full launch of the application or the need to switch your screen. This results in the streamlining of routine tasks for frequently performed actions and provides users the ability to perform those actions within their Citrix Workspace app without having to toggle away.

Let’s consider the expense report approval process. SAP Concur is a fantastic application but wouldn’t it be faster and easier to interact using a microapp, delivered to your Workspace app feed like you see in Figure 2 below?

(Figure 2)

Sounds great, but how does it work?

Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities can be turned on using the new Citrix Workspace Microapp service. Similar to all the other Workspace services, the Microapp service will be available through a single pane of glass, located in the Citrix Workspace unified management console.

The Microapp service will debut with over 100 pre-built microapp action templates while giving IT admins an option to customize new microapps for additional application integrations using the Microapp Builder. The Microapp service will sync with the applications and bridge the gap between the actual application and the microapp. You can see a simple reference architecture in Figure 3 below.

(Figure 3)

What if I want to take a microapp action that’s not in my feed?

Although Workspace intelligence capabilities can help automate and guide workers through their day, there may be actions like requesting Paid Time Off or creating a meeting using G Suite that don’t show up in your real-time feed. Going back to Figure 1, in the upper right corner you can see “Recommended Actions” and “View All Actions.” By clicking, you will be taken to an “Actions Page” showing all of your available actions (Figure 4). This page further illustrates how simple and easy it easy to interact with an entire suite of enterprise applications without ever having to leave your Workspace app.

                                                    (Figure 4) 

What are some of the other ways that Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities can improve worker productivity?

“When asked how confident they would be that they could find a piece of work from 12 months ago in their company’s document storage environment, 26 percent said they wouldn’t be able to in just 5 minutes, and 14 percent said they would need much longer. (Source)

Workers need help finding stuff and Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities can help in a couple of ways.

Citrix Workspace intelligence introduces workspace assistance and search (Figure 5). Using machine learning and automated intelligence, the workspace assistance and search features can help users find what they’re looking for, saving valuable time.

(Figure 5)

How will the new Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities work with my existing Citrix infrastructure?

Today, your Citrix infrastructure may still be entirely on-premises, you may have already made the move to the Citrix Workspace platform (cloud), or like many, you may be somewhere in-between using a combination of on-premises and cloud-based Citrix solutions.

The Citrix Workspace Microapp service is part of the Citrix Workspace platform of services that’s delivered via a cloud-based management and control plane.

Here’s the good news. We realize our customers are all on different paths towards cloud transformation. There are numerous advantages to transitioning your Citrix infrastructure to the cloud, but we also fully support a hybrid approach that would allow our customers to leave their current on-premises Citrix infrastructure in place while still taking advantage of one or many of our cloud-based Workspace services. It’s totally up to you.

When can I get Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities, and how much will it cost?

The new Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities including the Microapp service are scheduled for general availability later this year. Both new and existing Workspace Premium and Workspace Premium Plus customers will receive entitlement to the new Microapp service at no additional cost for the term of your agreement.

Which identity providers can I use?

Our identity strategy has always been to remain open and not limit customer choices. Citrix Workspace serves as an “identity broker.” What that means is that you can bring-your-own identity. Azure Active Directory and newly announced support for Google ID and Okta ID are great examples of our open approach to identity. Ping Identity is also in the works.

Citrix Workspace supports SSO and Token-Based One Time Password (TOTP) for simple and secure access. The best part? Once you’re signed on to the Workspace app, you never have to enter another password to interact with ALL of your applications and files.

What device types and operating systems will support Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities?

Citrix Workspace intelligence capabilities are delivered to the user through the same Workspace app they’re using today. This means that all of the same devices and operating systems are supported including both mobile and desktop form factors such as iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Chrome, and HTML for access through any available web browser.

Does Citrix Workspace intelligence work with other communication platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack?

Yes, initially a user will be able to send notifications and actions from Workspace app to a Teams channel or user, and we will also enable users to interact with the Workspace virtual assistant from within Microsoft Teams.

How can I learn more?

Please visit the Citrix Workspace intelligence page, where you can sign up for an exciting webinar on Workspace intelligence, co-hosted with Forrester Research. 

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