Michael Murphy took the helm at Citrix Canada in April 2012, replacing the retiring David Wright at the organization. Previously with Symantec Corp. Murphy has been focused on building out Citrix’s partner network since coming into his new role.

Murphy made the top 25 news makers list from our sister publication, Computer Dealer News. Perhaps awarded in part because Murphy has been good to his channel partners, breaking down barriers to top program tiers and asking partners to help identify customer needs.

Citrix has been building out its enterprise mobility message to the enterprise lately, backed by its cloud platform and virtualization solutions. Recent announcements include a new partnership with CA and the firm is gearing up for its annual Synergy conference at the beginning of May. We caught up with Murphy via Google Hangouts for this Q&A exchange:

Brian Jackson: You’ve previously said building out the partner community for Citrix Canada is a priority. How is that going? Are you still recruiting partners and if so, what type?

Michael Murphy: Recruiting partners is going well and there’s no change in strategy. We want to continue to enable our partner community, but more aggressively recruit those in the networking space and enable partners who are embracing mobility as core to their business. It’s going well, we’ve been able to add a couple of new partners that have extended our reach from Western Canada, from Longview Systems, who are embracing Central. And some really good partners out east who are growing and building out our portfolio. We’re recruiting new partners around our mobility portfolio and our networking portfolio. So we’re enabling our current partners as well as welcoming those that are building their own line of business.

BJ: At the end of February, we saw an announcement that Citrix would be teaming up with CA to deliver its SiteMinder product as an integrated part of NetScaler SDX. Why does this partnership make sense and can we expect more shared offerings from CA and Citirix in the future?

MM: First, our NetScaler SDX platform is a multi-tenant virtual appliance. We’ve had other partnerships announced over time: Aruba Networks, Palo Alto, and obviously Cisco. It made sense as we continue to extend the offering and support our customers out there. A lot of our customer run SiteMinder for authentication and single sign-on, so it made sense to sign up another partner for the SDX platform. It made sense to have them as a partner and integrate them more tightly with our virtual and multi-vendor offering. I can’t comment at this time if there will be any future partnerships. There’s components of CA’s platform that don’t make any sense to integrate with our platform. We’ll be opportunistic, not only with CA, but with others, where it comes to integrating where it makes sense for our customers.

BJ: Citrix Synergy is coming up in May and the big topic is enterprise mobility. One message Citrix will be trying to get across is that XenMobile, its MDM solution, is better than the competition. Can you give me a preview of how Citrix will be doing that?

MM: At last year’s Synergy the shift was to mobile – mobile work styles, mobile workspaces, we’re just continuing that as we more tightly couple integrate what was XenMobile mobile, which was an early acquisition of XenPrise last year,  and how we’ve taken that into a mobility offering beyond just MDM, into apps, into sandboxing, data sharing. We’ve the only one that has that complete MDM offering – some competitors might do MDM only, or some might call it MAM – but when you look at the end-to-end lifecycle of access to a full virtualized desktop coupled in with a secure touch point, that’s what defines our solution. What you’ve seen a lot of in this space is consolidation. A couple years ago there were 50-60 in the magic quadrant for, and those competitors are dying off or are getting acquired. The leaders are getting acquired, XenPrise was acquired by us and AirWatch was recently acquired by VMware, and the only one left in the upper-right corner of the magic quadrant was MobileIron, so I suspect they’ll be part of some larger portfolio at some time in the future.

BJ: More and more enterprise software is being delivered as a service. As a result we see vendors branding their cloud backends in different ways to make users feel more comfortable. For example, Microsoft runs its cloud apps on its Azure operating system. SAP runs its cloud apps on its HANA platform. What is unique about the Citrix cloud?

MM: Our cloud platform has been around for awhile. We own a hypervisor called XenServer, and we support the Apache Cloudstack Platform as an open source platform. It can be very expensive to build a monolithic cloud stack. I know a lot of companies that have build out a lot of expensive clouds, and they don’t end up being embraced by the market place because they’re so costly to continue to feed and maintain. We allow an organization to dip their toe in the water and scale up or scale down depending on their computing needs. We build it from the foundation up. You can see why it’s a single vendor, single source, bottom up to the top infrastructure that people stand by. Some of the largest clouds in the world are running on Citrix cloud technology, some of the largest cloud technologies you wouldn’t know but use every day use Citrix. Large organizations like Amazon, like Apple, and then that other company that allows 100+ character testing.

BJ: A trend I’m hearing about a lot these days is the shift of decision making about technology away from the IT department and to the different line of business executives.

MM: I don’t think it’s a new trend. Organizations have always embraced line of business, sometimes line of business has specific needs that hasn’t been in the IT mandate, so it decides to go out on its own to find a solution. IT has tried to embrace those over time. But the biggest impact is the “Bring Your Own Whatever” has been on the IT department. This has usurped what IT has traditionally tried to do, and there’s the conflict between the business line that’s trying to do something specific and the IT administrator that’s trying to secure it, own it, provision it, and make it standardize and manage some of the risk associated with it. BYOD is challenging how IT thinks about what it does, and be more in the service delivery business to help enable what businesses what to take on and almost be the outsourcer of internal tools and external line of business.

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