ESG annually checks in with IT professionals to capture the top items on the CIO’s whiteboard, and potential areas of increased spending. ESG’s research findings place security at the top of the list (no surprise here) but what if you are an IT vendor (like Citrix), have been in business for 20+ years and, while you help with security, you don’t possess any security products as they are defined by the market. Now let’s layer in the fact that businesses are racing towards cloud consumption models and you have 20+ years’ experience producing on-premises solutions. This means that it’s time to make some product family changes, marketing tweaks, and sales execution adjustments—and this is exactly what I expect we will see at Citrix Synergy 2017.
For more than 10 years, I have been attending Citrix Synergy, and I continue to be impressed with its customers and the loyalty they exhibit for Citrix. It is a luxury few IT vendors can truly claim. However, Citrix has not been in lockstep with cloud consumption trends inside IT organizations and, while many customers view Citrix as providing enhanced security, the company hasn’t really amplified its security capabilities to match the CIO whiteboard priorities.
Last year at Citrix Synergy 2016, Kirill Tatarinov was introduced as the new CEO. Over the course of this year, the company has made significant progress, and I anticipate hearing about a number of new initiatives that include:
- Increasing user productivity while enhancing security. Citrix has historically knocked productivity value out of the park. That said, proliferating security risks, an increased attack surface area, and ongoing external threats create a prime opportunity for Citrix to highlight its multiple strengths. These include: initial access to data and applications; IT control through policies; and enhanced visibility from employee identity to the data being accessed.
- The value of a digital workspace managed in the cloud. Citrix has an opportunity to address the fragmentation of its products, and the way businesses consume cloud applications across multiple cloud platforms, and with numerous identities. While the concept of a digital workspace is extremely simple, Citrix needs to be able to get attendees excited about a single secure door for application and data access—ensuring that it will be a top of mind focus as they leave the event.
- Key partnerships. In an effort to accelerate the above, Citrix must score a “10” with Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung. The Citrix customer base is very valuable to these companies due to the roots Citrix has established delivering applications with a high-quality user experience. To ramp up quickly, joint education and awareness efforts, examples of customer success, and fruitful sales execution plans will be essential for Citrix to establish market leadership with these teams.
The next wave of success for Citrix relies on its ability to establish a security posture with business and IT executives. I suspect guest speaker Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret.), Former U.S. Secretary of State, will help cauterize worldwide challenges with Citrix’s current state and market opportunity, and journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell will likely take more of a digital transformation path to drive home similar points that support Citrix’s strategy. Both speakers will be fun to watch. I’m really looking forward to attending Synergy 2017, meeting the attendees, and checking in with the IT vendor community. I hope to see you there!