Citrix’s Templeton: We’re moving from the PC era to the cloud era

Mark Templeton CitrixLAS VEGAS — The PC era is falling and giving rise to the cloud era, and much of that is being driven by the consumerization of IT, said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix Systems, during his keynote address on opening day of Interop 2011 in Las Vegas. Part of the reason for this change? The introduction of the iPad a year ago.

Kicking off his presentation at Interop, Templeton noted a major change in the connected state of the world by talking about how he was able to stay connected using an iPad and the Gogo Inflight Internet service while making his way to Vegas. He contrasted that with the state of connectivity three years ago, where he would have tried to stay productive in a disconnected state while en route 30,000 feet up.

A major reason for this change is the consumerization of IT, which is driving workers to be more empowered and to demand control of IT. The consumerization of IT has been a hot topic for the last few years as workers expect to be able to use the personal devices they’re comfortable with in a corporate setting, and although it’s caused all manner of headaches for the IT professionals that have to support and secure the devices, it’s not a trend that’s going away.

Quite the opposite, actually, according to Templeton, who called the consumerization of IT the most powerful force for change over the next decade. IT is finding itself moving up the stack and having more direct impact on business by aggregating and delivering the services end-users need.

“This is a huge change in every sense of the word, including mindset. I’d argue that it’s a change that will be delivered by the most powerful force we’ve ever seen in computing, which is the consumerization of IT,” Templeton said.

Rather than running locked-down, restricted environments, workers are driving change because of the empowerment they’re getting from powerful consumer devices and self-service cloud applications. They simply don’t need to feel restricted any more, and IT can either push back against the changes or embrace them.

Templeton offered his own advice.

“This is my philosophy: Don’t fight it. Feature it. Embrace it,” he said.

IT consumerization has created a “bring your own” world, but IT hasn’t yet seen all the changes that’s going to create. Workers aren’t going to feel limited to just bringing in their own devices (like the iPad, which has created a major splash in the IT ocean in the last year), but they’ll expect to be able use their own applications, networks, identities and compute. That’s driving an enormous move to the cloud era and changing the IT organization and how it provides IT services to end-users.

“We think the opportunity here is to stitch all of these things together and empowering people with multiple devices connected to a very powerful service delivery network, to a powerful factory that we operate that’s extended by utility cloud infrastructure and personal cloud apps,” Templeton said.

Whether IT professionals like it or not (and it’s easy to imagine a few heads banging against walls as the good folks behind the technology we all like to use try to figure out how to support and secure all manner of devices and cloud services), the change is coming. Indeed, it’s already starting to happen. The world is moving from a locked-down, restricted world to an opt-in, far simpler environment, Templeton said. Get ready for the future.