Citrix Top Execs Talk Partners, Products And Predictions

Citrix Execs Look Forward

Citrix Systems helped pioneer virtual application and desktop delivery, and a couple of decades back the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based software developer was an almost-uncontested player in that field. But in a world of mobile devices and workforces, those technologies are now hotly contested, and the cloud has drastically changed the landscape.

At the recent Citrix Summit, CRN talked to CEO Mark Templeton (pictured) and Senior Vice President Al Monserrat about the future of Citrix, its competition, its partners, and the industry as a whole.

Templeton had just revealed new products tapping into two of IT's biggest trends: an "ultra-converged" offering called WorkspacePod and a hybrid platform called Workspace Cloud. Monserrat the day before had outlined for partners an overhaul of the company's channel program and sales structure.

Here are excerpts from those interviews.

Templeton On Partners

We've had a huge focus on partners as long as I've been associated with the company, which is now 20 years. My predecessor architected the business model of the company because when you start, especially back then, you sort of have to decide, 'How am I going to go to market, am I going to talk to customers directly, or am I going to talk to customers indirectly?'

He made that decision for good business reasons. And then I think because of our culture, in terms of doing things we believe, living our principle and values, it's made the partnerships more than just business relationships. I hate to use the ’family’ word, but they're more family-style relationships.

Monserrat On Partners

I just got out of a meeting with one of our major partners and the conversation was all around what we believe the reality is going to be, which is around on-premises, around being able to connect to clouds, it's going to be around using different hypervisors, different clouds, and our strategy is very different from our competitors in that we allow that, we highlight that, we want customers to have that kind of choice.

With Workspace Cloud, what you saw is the ability to do that -- to use existing assets you may have, expand and build new ones in your choice of cloud, and not have to move everything to a specific cloud, and not be contained or limited by the capabilities of that specific cloud.

Templeton On Company Culture

The word ’culture’ has the word ’cult’ in it, and we're kind of ’cultish’ in the sense people feel they belong. That business decision was made, coupled with our culture overall, that's led to the cult, that's probably the way I would best say it.

It’s a cult of partnerships.

Monserrat On End-User Preference

Ultimately, the more elegant, the best technologies, will be ones that you don't even know exist. Where the customer doesn't even know.

As an end user, I don't care what platform the software is running on, or what platform my workspace is running on, or if it’s a combination of platforms. I just want the best performance possible, the best user experience possible.

From an IT perspective, I want whatever's easiest to manage, and whatever allows me to provide the best level of service to my customer. To the degree that you can give users the ability to be hybrid, to be heterogeneous, where they don't have to think about what the underlying technology is, the better off you are.

Templeton On Innovation

We're not insulated from the kind of changes being driven by the kind of innovation and invention around us, or what customers want. In the end, what customers want is more value from technology, in the sense of helping a company grow faster, operate more efficiently, make their employees more productive, give them higher ratings in employee engagement. They don't really care how the technology works.

We've been an industry so focused on how things work, the guts of things, and the cloud and mobile devices have introduced the idea of 'Maybe I don't need to know how it works; maybe I just need to know what I can do with it.'

Monserrat On Competitors

We feel we've been ahead and we continue to be ahead. I think what we sometimes fail to do is give enough visibility to the things we're doing. Amazon launched a DaaS product, and VMware has their DaaS product, but I doubt they can tell you they have 500,000 users of the DaaS product, and that's what we have through our Citrix Service Provider channel.

In many cases where we fall behind is in the marketing, and where we're ahead is in the actual product.

Templeton On Measuring Success

I hope every leader has a plan for better days ahead, as defined by growth and profitability and impact in the marketplace, whether you want to measure that by market share or you want to measure it by value delivered to customers. I like to measure it by value delivered to customers and society, that's how I choose to measure us, and under any of those measures our best days are ahead.

We're blessed in that we have a -- or the -- leading product in Windows application delivery infrastructure, we have one of the leading products in Web application delivery infrastructure, NetScaler, we have one of the leading products in Web-based collaboration. It's tough to be No. 1 or No. 2 in multiple markets.