After starting five minutes late, we are greeted with a terrible (IMHO) opening, using lots of fancy words.
Dave Hemshall is on stage, thanking people that help Citrix make it what it is. He is now saying they delivered what they announced at Citrix Synergy 2018. They did deliver a lot. Quality still suffers IMHO and the jury is out there if I am right or wrong. On a personal note I had experienced several issues with the workspace promise and I am sure I am not alone.
He is talking about how companies that can quickly adapt/change will win. Mentions that people are integral (what I had a laugh, remembering one of the first things he did when he got the job was to lay off tons of people). People are numbers, please. We all know that is the case for many companies.
He mentions users do not have access to the tools and information they need to do their jobs. No technology can fix that if your IT is still in the 90’s or is full of idiots. Does not matter if Citrix or anyone else can create the perfect workspace IMHO. IT and its typical mentality has to change. Simple.
His point is all these apps users use are all independent, disconnected. Several different authentication mechanisms, UIs, etc. He mentions technology is built for the 1% that understands technology. Again, the issue here is not technology. It is ‘STUPIDIT’ or ‘Stupid IT’ as I call it. He questions why it has been so hard to simplify the whole experience for everyone. He mentions everything you will be able to see at Citrix Synergy 2019 to help ‘fix’ all these issues. As I mentioned on Twitter, does not matter if you give IT 2020’s technologies or a USD 1B a year budget if they still have the 90’s mindset.
Next David spends a lot of time simply talking about making work easier by simplifying some tasks to allow users to work the way they want. A better and more productive work experience. IMHO the same exact message they have been trying to relay in the past year.
But now they bring the ‘Intelligent Experience’ to Citrix Workspace. He uses the term ‘new Workspace’. Reminds me a lot of Podio. The idea is to retrieve information from backend sources and present that in sort of a timeline so users can deal with that, and act on it, right there. Again, looks like a Podio/Slack/Facebook child. IMHO it will be a nightmare to deal with considering the myriad of places where you may need to get information from, to display all that to the user. Not to mention I am not sure how many companies out there do want to implement something like that. And considering all the issues with the current Workspace, I cannot see how adding this will make it more stable.
PJ Hough then goes on stage to talk about distilling applications into personalized units of work. As I described, getting information from the backend apps and getting all that into Workspace. I can almost bet it will be extremely limited in terms of where it gets this ‘information feed’ from. I mean what it supports or integrates with.
Then feeding all this information into a ‘feed’ the users see may simply overwhelm the user IMHO. This is not a simple problem to solve. And considering the place where the information is coming from (based on what is seen on the demo), certainly not for SMBs. Small people do not use ‘SAP Concur’. Citrix is trying to be the ‘MITM’ between users and backend systems, retrieving what is believed to be relevant information from these and presenting to the users.
Brad Anderson from Microsoft is now on stage with PJ, talking of course about Azure and having Citrix as a partner. They are talking about the new ‘Citrix Managed Desktops’ offering on Azure. Not much was said or provided details wise. It is there. Not even sure if it is available today (I may have missed it) but regardless, this is something I like to see as IMHO, Azure/WVD is a mess as of now. May be improved later but given Microsoft’s track record in this particular space, I highly doubt it. So anything that can make this easier, I like it. My homework is certainly try to test this and report back. Costs are unknown at this stage but I do believe they will match what we can see today for the ‘Citrix Virtual Desktops Essentials’ (and the Apps one too) offering available today. They also talk about the Citrix SD-WAN offering for both the ‘Citrix Managed Desktops’ and the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktops offering.
Calvin Hsu is next on stage, talking about a new approach to balance the experience with security, saying that as of today most solutions work by ‘disabling’ what users may access. He mentions that Workspace will be the preferred way of working for users given all the new features Citrix is bringing to the table. According to him, Citrix approach is different due to the way they address security. First they assess ‘What’ device is in use. Then ‘Who’ is using the device. Next is ‘How’ the resource is being accessed. And finally ‘Why’ (i.e. ‘Is it part of his normal behavior?’).
Based on that, actions may be taken by IT like disabling cut and paste, preventing access to files, preventing printing and so on. A small demo follows, showing a SaaS app being launched. Copy and paste is disabled, URLs are being filtered (as this is a browser based app). Certain URLs are treated using a secure browser service.
He is now showing anti-key logging and screenshotting capabilities as new security policies. I like that, certainly cool and helpful.
Next is introducing partners for the ‘Citrix Analytics’ platform. Microsoft, Splunk, etc. Also the service is now available in Europe and Asia.
Pure marketing moment now, showing a customer talking about how users can work from any device, anywhere, anytime. It seems this never gets old. I think marketing needs to learn new tricks as this has been the message for the past 15 years I believe. Getting tired of it. Ok, Calvin Hsu is done.
David is back on stage. Mentioning how Citrix is working to embrace all possible technologies out there so companies can have choice on where and how they deploy their solutions. Google Cloud partnership is being discussed. I certainly like the fact Citrix is not necessarily tied to a single partner or vendor. It has to be that way for sure. Embrace as many partners as you can as it is indeed all about choice.
MCS for Google Cloud is being announced. Good for sure and of course, needed.
PJ Hough is back, further consolidating the message that Citrix is embracing everyone. Of course this is good and thank Lord they are smart enough to see it. Being tied to a single vendor or technology is never good. In this respect I do believe Citrix is the best alternative as of now.
David is back one more time to wrap it up. The final message is indeed the flexibility as PJ noted. In that respect I must agree with them. Citrix is, as of now, the most flexible platform. Does it have issues? Yes, like any other product. But with Citrix it is indeed easy to switch between anything to anything, or to run on anything side-by-side for comparisons.
Flexibility. That is the true message IMHO that should be taken from this keynote.