Canadian enterprises have to think beyond desktop: Citrix

If being mobile is the ability to go anywhere and do anything, Citrix Systems Inc.’s global mobility roadshow might be considered the ultimate example.

The one-day conference is making stops in a number of cities around the world this fall to spread the word about its mobile products and services to those who couldn’t make its annual Synergy conference in the spring.

On Wednesday it hit Toronto, with Citrix Canada vice-president Michael Murphy telling an audience of customers and partners that a mobile workspace that follows uses where ever they go on any device is “the next era of end user computing.”

Later In an interview he expanded on the theme, talking about how mobile workforces are increasing and how Canadian organizations should deal with them.

“The biggest challenge (in Canada) is getting customers to think beyond the way they (currently) approach remote access and application virtualization,” he said, “hence the reason we’re having this mobility conference today is to say that times are changing, the workforce is changing, the globe is changing … I think they need to think beyond application virtualization, thin clients, monolithic desktops and look at a new paradigm of how people consume their compute.”

“It really is about apps and data, but corporations are wrestling with that shift of how do I continue where I have control to where I may not have control but still offer that level of privacy and security that needs to exist as the organization moves to this free environment.”

In fact, Murphy said, the networking portfolio, while accounting for about one-third of Citrix’s business, is growing faster (about 25 per cent year over year) than the virtualization business (about 10 per cent).

Still, the “m” word is the company’s focus, with the company’s vision of enteprises using its products to create “the software defined workplace” that lets users work on any platform.

For example, Marco Cipriani, Citrix Canada’s chief demonstration officer, showed the conference how he can log into his Windows desktop at home on an Apple iPad through Receiver, and keep the session going if he transfers to an iMac.

He also showed off XenMobile 9, which launched at the end of June with a redesigned WorxMail client, WorxWeb browser, WorxNotes, WorxEdit and WorxDesktop secure productivity apps.

Including such apps within a mobility suite is one way some software companies meet the demands of CIOs and CSOs for more security. But that raises the question of whether it lowers productivity because employees have to learn new applications.

Maybe, Murphy said. Worx apps were developed for multiple platforms to look and behave like the native applications or clients on those devices, he said, so WorxMail is very similar to iOS mail on an Apple device in its functions. True people might have to learn something different, but at the end of the day if organizations want to supply secure email they can’t do it through the native email client.”

On the other hand, he added, IT also has the choice of wrapping a native app in XenApp and delivering it as a managed application to end users.

Enterprises have to face the fact that employees want access to their apps and data from wherever they are and on any device, Murphy said. “And candidly, organizations don’t want to own devices any more. They know employees are going to bring the device of their choice (to work) and IT is there to provision it and to attract a new workforce that wants to do things their way.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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