Citrix Workspace Summit Recap

“A new world demands a new employee experience.”

Welcome to the second installment of Citrix’s Summit Series.  First, if you happened to miss our Cloud Summit recap from October 8th, jump on over here to read, or access the on-demand Cloud Summit content, available until the end of year.  On October 29th, Citrix will conclude their Summit Series with a focus on Security – be sure to access the content on that date and visit us to read our summary.

Citrix’s CEO, David Henshall, begins by addressing the incredible jobs IT teams and organizations have done in accelerating the shift to cloud and rapidly enabling remote work functionality during this global crisis.  At Third Octet, we can certainly appreciate the nod, and pass on the thanks we have for our clients who placed faith in our ability to overcome the hurdles and challenges.  It certainly was, and remains, a stressful period; however, for those that were already well invested in Citrix technology and cloud, the transition was certainly less painful.

As you may recall from weeks back, there are several ideas contributing to business challenges and creating opportunities for innovation including that remote work is here to stay; back to office is anything but back to normal; and agility is the key competitive advantage.

As we look at the innovations driving support for a hybrid work future, Citrix’s Workspace sees enhancements to support a productive and engaged workforce.  The tendency is to find that organizations have too many applications, too little usage, and employees who struggle to find the right resources to satisfy the needs of their jobs.  Further, if the distractions of yesteryear were not enough, the constant disruptions we are all facing today heighten the need for a secure, reliable, and consistent experience.  And that experience must be achievable regardless of where we are.

Although the jury is still out, Citrix believes that the global work from home experiment has challenged misconceptions about work being a place, instead of a measurement of outcomes and accomplishments, and businesses are realizing the benefit and positive impact remote work can have on productivity, cost reductions, higher engagement, and work-life balance.

We tend to agree, especially on the last point (it is our tagline after all); however, productivity and engagement can sway in both a negative and positive light, depending on the context of work that requires completion and the most effective form of tackling that work.  Though virtual meetings and instant messaging have become the norm, the spur-of-the-moment watercooler chats and brainstorms have all but disappeared, as have the accidentally overheard open-office or over-the-cubicle comments from our coworkers that have sparked massive creativity, caused decreased time in task completion, and generally inspired open collaboration.  Virtually, these sparks are lost.

Hybrid work models are here to stay, especially as organizations struggle to define their own return to work strategies while we collectively overcome the global pandemic.  As hybrid work becomes the standard, businesses must also ensure infrastructures that support both in-office and remote workers are adaptable and scalable over the longer term.

Highlighted by Quartz Insights research, workplace technology is the number one contributor for businesses ability to innovate and be creative.  Even prior to the pandemic, employee experience and productivity were becoming a massive priority for businesses.  Citrix can certainly help make everyone more productive with Workspace being the key method to centralizing and securing everything needed to tackle our best work, drive greater employee experience, increasing productivity and engagement.

Citrix Workspace provides everything your employees need to do their best work – through organizing, guiding, automating and securing.  Workspace removes the noise, allows for deeper focus on our best work, and guides users through automating key tasks and insights relevant to their role in the organization.

Citrix is not just VDI and VDI is not for everyone.

One of the major obstacles of Citrix technology was driven by a legacy perception of who and what Citrix is.  Citrix’s long-time dominance in virtual applications and virtual desktops – which continues today, in our humble opinion – remained as the foremost and, in certain cases, the only perception of what Citrix provided to business and IT.  If technical requirements did not warrant a virtual desktop infrastructure, or derivative thereof, Citrix was off your radar.

Though Virtual Desktops provide the most safe, secure, familiar and productive experience possible, they do not suit all requirements, especially as businesses move towards a web-forward world.  As a matter of fact, businesses can be entirely operational within a web browser using software-as-a-service and other web-based or mobile applications, as several of our clients can attest to.  For them, a virtual desktop did not make any sense, technically.  Yet, as we explored the additional value Citrix and Citrix Workspace brought to their environment, the misconceptions of who and what Citrix is were brought to light.  Citrix actually does play a role in a web-forward world, especially in the ability to wrap common security and risk mitigation strategies we have become dependent on with traditional applications.

More on that in our October 29th Citrix Security Summit recap.

Citrix Workspace goes beyond Traditional

As the ideal solution for organizations and employees in a world of constant disruption, Citrix Workspace is not just a portal for delivering traditional on-premises applications or desktops, but a platform that incorporates a series of integrating services to build a unified experience regardless of the service needed – desktop, traditional app, web app, SaaS app, data – and within a simple interface that is maintained regardless of device or location.

Citrix Workspace becomes a Platform with integrations to the most widely-used applications; offering contextual security for SaaS, web and virtual applications, driven with embedded analytics to simplify and personalize, and tools to extend core capabilities to drive massive extensibility using low-code/no-code tooling.

And, if Citrix is to “deliver a solution where employees do their best work”, businesses must think about everything they need – not just applications and data, but also critical business services, which leads to the high-level announcements made, including:

  • Business service integrations, including Upwork.
  • Microapp development and examples, including Citrix’s own utilization of Microapps and workflows to safely support return to office initiatives;
  • Broader Workspace integrations with Microsoft Teams, Zoho, Zoom, Google Identity and G Suite; and
  • A much needed shift to employee health and wellbeing, including a fantastic “what’s possible” demo of Citrix Workspace and wellbeing integration.

Bravo on Wellbeing Stance

Employee wellbeing has become an increasing priority for leaders who understand that a general neglect of employee wellbeing can have detrimental impacts on the overall success of the organization.  People are the most valuable and most costly asset of any organization, and it’s an amazing opportunity taken by Citrix and partners such as Microsoft (who recently announced inclusion of Calm into Teams through virtual commutes) to seize an aggressive position on supporting employee health.

Citrix Workspace and Wellbeing

At Third Octet, we launched an initiative in July 2020 to gauge how our team was feeling – about productivity, engagement, collaboration, and importantly, personal wellbeing.  As our scores remained relatively consistent over time, one area screamed out as a challenge – mental wellbeing.  Our results showed that we needed to do more to support our staff and it has become a major focus of ours to lessen the stressors in areas we can control and introduce measures to support our staff’s health.  As a first and small step, we acquired Calm subscriptions for our entire workforce and demanded they take time for themselves.


You can use it; we don’t mind.

In his address, Henshall dropped two things near and dear to our heart and to the ultimate purpose of our company.  “Work-life balance” and “technology can help better the world”.  Thanks for reaffirming our purpose, Citrix – you are on the right path.  We’ve been “Bettering the World through Technology to help clients achieve Work. Life. Balance” for many years now.  Happy to have you join the fight.

-M


Citrix Workspace Platform

Building on their approach of organizing, guiding and automating work, Citrix announces greater capabilities of Workspace through Workspace Platform, including additional integrations, provisioning, identity and access security, analytics and automation, assistants and bots, and APIs and tools.  Designed as a highly personable and extensible platform, Citrix Workspace Platform provides customers with ultimate choice and flexibility in how, when, and where to deploy services.

Citrix Workspace Platform

Analytics and Automation is not to be confused with Performance and Security Analytics.  In the Citrix Workplace approach, analytics and automation is designed to observe what users are doing within the Workspace, learn what matters most, and proactively drive recommendations to simplify user experience and interaction.

Assistants and Bots take this a step further by simplifying the process of finding workflows (i.e. “Hey, Citrix” – kidding) through search, chat, and exposing the right data and information.

Further, to meet unique industry or function specific requirements, Citrix will make additional APIs and tools available as well as Citrix-sponsored open source content (centralized in GitHub).  As “no platforms thrive on their own”, Citrix is placing a great dependency on partners – channel, business service providers, and global system integrators – to drive customizations to clients.

As a long-time Citrix specialist, we certainly do appreciate the low-code/no-code approach for microapps development; however, there is still an innate requirement to fundamentally understand how applications operate and, more importantly, how business-specific workflows need to be captured and mapped to a usable microapp.  Though this is a step above traditional workspace design, it is a necessary shift to drive intelligence and engagement in Workspace and we have accepted the reskilling challenge to stay ahead of microapp design, development, and integration.

New Integrations

Soon to hit Workspace, Citrix announced out-of-the-box integrations with Microsoft Teams, Zoho, Upwork, Slack, Zoom and Google Identity and G Suite.  Be wary of notification overload!  This builds on existing out-of-the-box integrations with ServiceNow, Workday, Salesforce, Office365, Jira, Tableau, SAP Concur, SAP Ariba, Zendesk, SAP SuccessFactors, and Microsoft Dynamic 365.

Citrix Workspace Integrations

Top of Mind Considerations

If you’re currently or contemplating using the delivery of services via Citrix Workspace in your organization, keep these three points in mind.

  1. Leverage Citrix Cloud services to benefit from Citrix Workspace. Cloud services have been built as a hybrid solution that provides customers with choice to continue operating on-premises and scale to cloud at your pace.  Move what makes sense… once!
  2. Think broadly about the use of Workspace. Remember, VDI or derivatives are not the only capability of Citrix Workspace – think beyond into web, mobile, and SaaS applications and broader into business processes, workflows, and custom microapp development to interact with applications, even those on-premises.  And, for ideal productivity impacts, consider providing the whole organization with access.
  3. Continue Workspace innovation. If an integration or connector is not there now, it will be some day either through Citrix or broad industry and channel partners who all have a common goal of helping customers achieve desired outcomes and their best work.  As capable as the workspace is today, it will only get better, and we hope to contribute to the microapp community very soon.

BHAG

Certainly a “big hairy audacious goal” (or goals), Citrix has set to “give employees back one day a week through the Workspace” equating to two months of additional productivity, or over three million additional hours, to drive the business.  Time is valuable, a fleeting resource if you will.  From what we have seen in the enterprise space, Citrix’s goal is certainly possible if they and their partners are able to deliver on the need for workflow and microapp design and development, especially due to the limited native integrations.  While we see that growing with time, it will be important to have the backing of large business service providers and system integrators, Citrix included, to drive greater integrations.  As a small fish in a big sea, we are not uniquely suited to aid in every single possible application, workflow design, or microapp development.  Yet, from the exposure through the Workspace Summit, we see the potential for broader and native integrations as well as Citrix making the necessary skilling available for consumption by the channel and end users as well.

And as additional organizations take a broader approach to joint integrations – Microsoft Teams comes to mind – it will be interesting to see how complimentary competing current and disparate solutions will become.  Is everyone racing towards the same goal – a single place to do everything?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

That is all folks.

At least for our write up.  Head on over to Citrix Summit and check out the content for yourself.  Be sure to watch the following partnership integrations including Microsoft, Upwork, Deloitte and HPE, and catch the wellbeing session with a great demonstration of what is possible.  Citrix customers Ohio DOT, City National, Northcott, eBay, and Centrica also share their interesting stories and highlights of Citrix technology in the real world.  Lastly, Citrix’s own CIO outlines how Citrix technology played a pivotal role in their own pandemic response as well as a staged return to offices across forty globally distributed offices.

We will see you next time – same bat channel – for our recap of Citrix Security Summit running October 29th, 2020.  Interim, if you’re interested in exploring Citrix Cloud and Workspace technologies, contact us today!

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