Make Way for the Citrix Workspace Platform!

Citrix Summit Digital Series – Workspace

David Henshall, Calvin Tsu and Bronwyn Hastings took to the virtual stage today as part of the Citrix Summit digital series. Today the focus was on Workspace, including Workspace App, Virtual Apps and Desktops, Endpoint Manager and number of other apps that previously fell under the end user computing umbrella. Citrix’s fame and reputation derives directly from what they now call Workspace technology, but their vision for for the Future of Work sees a massively diminished role for their desktop and application delivery products. Since their acquisition of micro-app start-up Sapho and the release of their Workspace App, their philosophy and focus has shifted immensely and with it a very different business model is emerging.

There were a number of ‘announcements’ during the day and although they seemed subtle rather than groundbreaking at first. The announcement that Citrix Workspace App will become the Citrix Workspace platform was very revealing.

Citrix Workspace Platform – The Future of Work?

Citrix’s entire demeanour has changed a lot over the last few years. There’s an understanding that the complexities of delivering desktops and applications from one system/OS/location to another is topically less relevant to its customer base and one that will continue to garner less interest as cloud adoption becomes the norm and SaaS and web apps take over from natively installed Windows and Linux apps. Citrix are shuffling further away from the technology stack itself and adopting a person-first philosophy.

Gavin Tsu talked a lot about how people engage with work, and touched on how the underlying components of the Citrix Workspace platform seamlessly automate and deliver an optimised experience driven by analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Highlighting the modern obsession with apps and the productivity losses that go with application overload, he talked about providing users with real-time workflows that follow a linear path via a single pane of glass instead of apps.

The principle is really interesting and makes a lot of sense – workflow libraries instead of app stores. Search for what you need to do rather than trying to figure out how to do itHaving a single mega-app that performs actions on and pulls data from all other apps to provide an adaptive workspace that learns from its users sounds extremely cool, but they’re got a monumental task on their hands to make this as widely usable as they’re suggesting. Citrix have a strong partner-base and enviable technical community, and one of David Henshall’s biggest conundrums has to be how they change their partner eco-system to suit their new ideology.

Channel Partners

What struck me upon reflection was exactly how little technical talk there was. Everything was about people, culture, business processes and digital well-being. With a feed-based real-time workflow providing users with optimised workflows driven by things like behavioural analytics, how people engage with their workspace will be a wholly interactive experience if Citrix’s vision comes to fruition. With less focus being on the infrastructure itself and much more riding on how the Citrix Workspace Platform integrates with third party applications and services, a new classification system for partners was announced. Notably, Business Services becomes a new category of partner alongside channel partners and systems integrators.

After much chin-scratching and theorising about how this is likely to evolve, I feel confident in making some predictions:

  1. Citrix Workspace will integrate with Regus, allowing users to book office space in dynamically.
  2. Going further down the rabbit hole, Uber will arrive as an optional integration for increased and accessible employee mobility.
  3. The Intelligent workspace learns user behaviour and can adapt accordingly. Working late? Let your Workspace order you a pizza from JustEat!

Analytics, AI and Automation have been on Citrix’s recipe shelf for some time. With digital wellbeing and work from home initiatives dominating corporate agenda, some otherwise fairly outlandish ideas could actually exist in the Future of Work. Workspace Intelligence learns how you behave and will recognise when to provide third party business services, improving the experience and lining Citrix’s pockets.

It’s as exciting as it is unnerving, and I have no doubt that work styles will continue to evolve as corporations look for the remote working silver bullet. Citrix Workspace also has some massive hurdles to overcome and some conflicting interests that could prove to be stumbling blocks. I’ll be elaborating on these over the coming weeks:

  1. Microsoft’s Future of Work and Teams
  2. The issues with Citrix’s partner base
  3. Lack of integration

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear any thoughts and opinions – you can tweet me at @sigreer and find me on LinkedIn here.