Thursday, September 12, 2019

Citrix Future of Work Tour 2019 (London)

I visited etc. Venues in Bishopsgate for Citrix Future of Work Tour 2019 on September 11 2019.  There were three main takeaways

Consumer like experiences
Analytics
Networking
Packed house!
Consumer like experiences
During the keynote, they mentioned how consumer applications like Facebook are very easy to use, data is surfaced to you in the simple way and interactions are straightforward.  Employee tools however, are usually quite cumbersome and difficult to use. 



This product was realised out of the acquisition of Sapho late last year

This provides the employee with a feed built up from connections to various SaaS applications.  This feed also allows some basic interactions e.g. booking leave in WorkDay or approving expenses in SAP.  It is built on their cloud offering and includes AI and ML to increase productivity e.g. if you as a manager always approve expenses under £50, it would start to automate this exercise.  A challenge was raised about employees “gaming” the system, but Citrix’s response was that the same AI/ML would be able to identify staff who were always putting in £49.99 requests and force the manager to review.

This isn’t very “new” news as it was talked about at Synergy, but the demos were pretty good.  They launched a Citrix secure web app to launch WorkDay to book some leave and it took 3-4 minutes end to end.  Using Intelligent Workspace it took about 20 seconds.

There are a bunch of pre-built integrations out there for popular SaaS apps and a Microapp builder which is a low/no code solution for building your own integrations.

Integration of these app notifications into Teams or Slack is supported too.

Analytics
Again Citrix betting big on their cloud offerings.  By using Citrix Cloud with analytics, they are able to make more intelligent decisions around security for users.  Being able to check risky sign-ins or other unusual patterns.  They can also take feeds from other products such as Microsoft Azure AD to help provide a better context and make better decisions.  They can also output their data to third parties SIEM solutions like Splunk or Azure Sentinel.

The analytics piece is also for performance too.  By leveraging Citrix Cloud, you can get a much better breakdown of the user experience.  It looks like Director that you may have on-premises but includes much more fine grained information about the user’s session.  With their ML, they can see trends too.

Networking
It felt like Citrix were trying to flog SD-WANs to anyone that would listen.  They did a session on optimising Office365 and provided some stats on how using SD-WAN could increase MS Word launch speed by 55%.  Sounds great…how do they do that?  Well, in essence they are using SD-WAN to breakout directly to the internet/Office365 from branch offices rather than going through your datacentre.

They also talked about Citrix intelligent traffic management, again using Citrix’s Cloud to make better decisions on network routing and performance.  They are collecting 15 million data points everyday which can help them route traffic in the most expeditious way.  We didn’t get a demo of this, but they provided the following links which might be worth looking at.

Bonus: Secret Demo Room
There was a secret demo room which showed three products that Citrix engineers had created in their 20% free time.  These may not see the light of day and they were keen to ask for feedback from customers.

I won't ruin the surprise if you are due to go to a future event, but I recommend registering to see them if you can. If you can't get there and want to know more, ping me on LinkedIn! 

Other notes
There was a session on provisioning Windows 10 in Azure which I caught the end of.  Citrix are suggesting their USP over WVD and more generally is that you can use Workspace to access any of these services from one single entry point.  This makes sense, but it also requires you to buy in Citrix lock, stock and barrell.  Something I am sure their Sales team will be happy to discuss with you!  Other than that, the provisioning plane in Citrix Cloud looked similar to Workspot.

Conclusion
The key takeaway was the fact that Citrix really want you to become a Citrx Cloud customer.  This obviously provides them with a better licencing model which is sustainable as most tech companies are going down the subscription route, and as many of the offerings they are bringing out have some ML or AI baked in, it is difficult/impossible to backport this to On-Prem.  Other than that, Citrix want you to buy a bunch of SD-WANs…to connect to theirs and other cloud services.

It was a well put together day and if you have the opportunity to attend in a different region, I recommend it.