Trying to explain to my friends and family what it is I do is always an interesting conversation, but every time I mention I work with companies like Citrix, they immediately reply “oh, the GoToMeeting company.” While that is true, it is an astute observation and an impression Citrix is out to change. Is Citrix the “online meeting and collaboration company,” the “application delivery company,” or the “cloud company?” Citrix would like us to associate them across all these categories, but the fact remains that most customers would say they are a XenApp, GoToMeeting, XenDesktop, etc, customer, but few are Citrix customers consuming across each of its portfolio of products.
At Citrix Synergy 2012 they focused on three themes that have the potential to influence customers to rethink Citrix.
Avalon. Avalon is going to be talked about primarily from a product perspective, but I suspect there are more important goals associated with Avalon.
- Avalon is a realignment and refocus for Citrix internally to get all the product groups and go to market efforts headed in the same direction
- Avalon will significantly change how Citrix and its reseller channel sell. Avalon enables Citrix to create a sales execution strategy that incorporates multiple products and arms anyone selling Avalon with a compelling story that extends beyond a single product.
Virtualization is not cloud. During the Synergy day #2 keynote, Sameer Dholakia did a nice job running attendees through “Cloud is NOT….” and highlighted the difference in the architecture of server virtualization versus cloud architecture. Citrix uncharacteristically even took a few shots directly at VMware that if nothing else, made the attendees think and armed them with questions VMware will need to respond to. I think Citrix has a lot of work to do here. Enterprise IT that might be building a cloud strategy doesn’t associate Citrix directly with cloud. Its distribution of CloudStack through Apache will help, but is still a bottom up approach. They need to win the hearts and minds of the IT architects, operations managers, IT executives, and the industry as a whole.
Collaboration. After listening to what Citrix is doing around collaboration, I am ready to throw away my e-mail. GoToMeeting + Sharefile + PODIO equals a new way of thinking about how we share information and communicate. Collaboration strategies are going to be important in the industry as we change the way we socialize and communicate in the business environment. I’d like to see Citrix run hard with this and resist caving into being the augmenter of Microsoft collaboration.
Citrix is certainly aligning and investing in top industry trends. I still suspect the majority of its focus will be on application and desktop delivery, but it will be important to monitor CloudStack and its traction with extending its collaboration footprint.