Citrix Synergy Will Shine A Spotlight On Security And The Modern Workplace

Citrix Systems' Synergy conference, which kicks off Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., will focus on big-picture themes of security and mobility as the virtualization vendor continues to negotiate the technological transformation from on-premise to cloud services.

Over the past few years, Citrix has been busy adapting its business to the new realities of cloud while grappling with some major leadership shakeups. Synergy will emphasize the capability of both on-premise and cloud solutions to achieve what the company has always done best — deliver remote access to IT resources.

At a time of rapid evolution across the enterprise, and major concerns about data breaches, Citrix sees a competitive advantage in a technology that enables home offices and mobile workforces, said Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based enterprise software vendor.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Citrix CEO On Being 'Too Nice' And Why The Company Needed To Add An Edge]

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The theme of Synergy will be "the future of work," Hsu said — particularly how enterprises are looking to accelerate digital business initiatives that better engage customers and allow employees to securely work from any device at any location.

Citrix will put front and center the security benefits that virtualization products inherently deliver as far as enforcing "corporate policies, regulations, compliance initiatives, and in general securing enterprise data," Hsu said.

"Doing this more effectively, in an automated fashion and with analytics, IT becomes more a strategic enabler rather than a tactical response to what the business is doing," he said.

From a product standpoint, the emphasis will be on Citrix Workspace, an integrated platform combining the company's virtualization products: XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile and ShareFile for data sharing.

Citrix will demonstrate at the conference a new end-user experience for Workspace that adds a contextual aspect based on devices, applications and access scenarios customers want to use, Hsu said.

Corporate leaders will focus their keynotes on three main categories: applications, data and networks.

"We strongly feel all of these things need to be covered in depth to have a true solution," Hsu told CRN.

Citrix partners told CRN they're eager to see the upgrades to Workspace, which can be deployed on-premise or on Citrix Cloud.

Nancy Pautsch, president of Envision IT, a partner based in Madison, Wis., told CRN Citrix has done a good job in recent years of tightening its technological focus in accordance with the goals of its channel.

Under new leadership, including CEO Kirill Tatarinov, the company has been "laser-focused on secure digital workspace and best-in-class user experience," Pautsch said. Citrix needs to "just make their product stronger and better and not try to be everything to all people."

Pautsch wants to hear more about how Citrix's legacy technologies are being adapted for the cloud, especially as far as end-user experience and security. She's also looking to learn more about the integration of Unidesk, an application layering technology purchased at the start of the year.

"They're way out in front in delivering what matters, at least to our clients," Pautsch said. "The flexibility to get to cloud on their terms and at their pace."

But this year, it's not about a "new direction," Pautsch said. "That's the old Citrix where there were new directions quite often."

Citrix doesn't need one, she said, because it's already gotten ahead of where the industry is going. It's just about bolstering the quality of the products and feature sets, she told CRN.

Carl Gersh, director of sales and marketing for Miramar, Fla.-based Citrix partner Forthright, said the conference should help partners better understand the "Citrix Cloud story and positioning."

While Citrix Cloud has been teased in various incarnations for almost three years, the product is finally gaining traction in the market and greater interest from customers who are looking for hybrid environments.

"This year is the year we're starting to see some real movement there," Gersh said.

Citrix would be wise to shine a spotlight on security—an often understated but critical aspect of its technology that hasn't received enough emphasis in the past, he told CRN.

While Synergy is an end-user event, partners are also hoping to learn more about efforts to streamline program incentives that began earlier this year and how the vendor hopes to further improve how it collaborates with solution providers, he said.