Citrix Workspace forms key element of cloud-first strategy as California government strengthens disaster recovery
The city of Corona is a local authority 45 miles southwest of Los Angeles. Its 165,000 population is contained within just 39 square miles.
Corona sits on the Elsinore Fault Zone near the San Andreas Fault line and it is in wildfire territory. The city, which manages police and fire services, has been affected by severe wildfires over the past two years, with citizens evacuated and homes destroyed.
“From a disaster recovery perspective, we’d like our employees to able to work from anywhere,” says Deputy CIO Kyle Edgeworth. “In the event of an emergency, we need to be agile. We need access to our systems and our data."
City Manager, Darrell Talbert, adds: “The City’s goal to be data driven is no longer a choice but a necessity for efficient and sustainable government.”
These motives are driving the city’s cloud-first IT strategy. It began using Microsoft Azure in February 2017 and also committed to Office 365. “Those were our first steps,” says Edgeworth. “The future is to have the whole city on Citrix VDI.”
This will do more than disaster-proof the city’s services, Edgeworth explains. By deploying Citrix Workspace, Corona will be more effective in the way it delivers services, the IT team can be quicker to support new initiatives, and it will simplify collaboration across different departments.
“It will enable us to examine all our processes,” says Edgeworth. “ROI is important to a local government, but it is not the only driver. Being able to free up the time of our employees will deliver other, more long-term benefits.”
Solid business continuity
The move to Citrix Workspace, and the broader shift to a cloud-first strategy, establishes a platform for business continuity. It will be better at responding to events, and there is less chance of a disruption to services.
Edgeworth himself was evacuated from his home for a week in 2018, with wildfires passing less than a mile from his house: “I managed to access my work remotely, but I could see the value Citrix Workspace will have for all our employees. We want to get to a stage where employees understand that everything they need to carry out their work can be accessed through Citrix.”
With public sector operating budgets a key factor, he says cloud enables the city to scale up or down as required and to wring maximum value from its resources. “We want to be a data-driven city. We want to add new services. Citrix allows us to maximize our IT investments.”
Creating a seamless user experience
Initially Edgeworth had considered other cloud solution vendors, but there was limited availability in the government cloud. “We looked at other cloud products versus Citrix Workspace, but Citrix was leaps and bounds ahead. Citrix was already proving themselves in the government space and had a lot of features that weren’t available by other vendors.”
Edgeworth says his priority is ensuring the cloud works for employees. “We want the experience to be seamless for the city’s employees. We’ve already noticed workflows changing and people collaborating better. People aren’t as scared of the cloud in our city as they used to be.”
Delivering a relevant service to the business
The benefits to the IT team are equally transformative. The IT team will transform from a reactive, fixer of problems to a business enabler.
“Citrix is an investment into Corona’s future and into the vision of putting IT at the forefront of empowering innovation in the organization,” explains CIO, Chris McMasters. “Citrix allows us to focus less on desktop infrastructure and more on what is truly important; our people.”
“Ultimately, this kind of project should be judged a success if it has improved outcomes for citizens,” continues Edgeworth. “For instance, with more effective field teams could we be quicker to clean up grafitti? Or could we improve computer services in libraries with a clean VDI environment? Could we create a network of local kiosks for citizens to manage their accounts? All of this becomes possible.
“We have a relatively small IT team, so it’s really important we align our resources around the needs of the business.”