Citrix switched its focus a bit at this year’s Citrix Synergy, held recently in Atlanta. While its Workspace environment has long focused on providing workers access to the tools they use, at Synergy it previewed what it calls the Workspace Intelligent Experience, due to debut by the end of 2019, which changes that to giving workers access to the functionality they use.
In the past, Workspace has provided a place for employees to get access to all of their applications. But with the upcoming update, it introduces a new timeline with “cards” like one might bee in a feed from Facebook or Twitter. In the case of Workspace, those cards represent key functionality for the worker. Rather than providing access to a Concur expense report, for example, the timeline includes a summary of that expense report, and the buttons to either accept the report or send it back.
CEO David Henshall said that the big problem for many professionals is “too many apps, too little usage, and too much switching,” and the company used examples of how people end up wasting time doing things not core to their role because workflows are not streamlined. Henshall said that by streamlining access to the functionality people need to do their jobs, the company aims to “give people back one week a day” in terms of productivity, the equivalent of roughly three million hours a year for an organization of Citrix’s size.
“It’s really not that ambitious. We think that’s a reality,” Henshall said.
The company said it would ship with “over 100” integrations with everyday applications, and the company will also provide tools for IT departments or third parties to introduce new integrations. According to chief product officer PJ Hough, there will be two types of developer roles around Workspace. The first will be more in-depth, authoring the integrations that allow Workspace to access information stored in “system of record” applications. The other role will be what Hough describes as “more of a power-user” position, building the microapps that grab the information from systems of records and turn it into actions on the Workspace timeline.
“Anyone who can build a pivot table should be able to build these microapps,” Hough said.
If the new timeline catches on as the company expects, it may signal a bit of a change in how Citrix partners add value around their customers’ use of Workspace. One one hand, as it moves to more included integrations and a more cloud-based structure, some of the traditional deployment-related services may be on the decline. But on the other hand, Hough said partners have a much richer platform on top of which they can do much more. That’s going to be mean a lot of focus on workflows, business processes, and to a degree, coding.
“One door closes, another opens up,” Hough said, noting the company has 10,000 partners worldwide. “There will be a lot of opportunities for customers who see the value of building applications on top of this platform. I could see this turning into a very valuable ecosystem.”
Craig Stilwell, senior vice president of worldwide partner sales, called the evolution of Workspace “the most exciting thing that I have ever seen come out of our company,” and said there are “massive partner opportunities” around Workspace. That’s because Stilwell believes the focus on every worker with Workspace expands the footprint with which Citrix partners can work. In the past, the focus has been on users for whom application or desktop virtualization is essential. Stilwell estimates that as 20 to 30 percent of most organizations.
“But the reality is, there’s another 70 percent of employees there that face some of the same challenges that we were originally solving with app and desktop virtualization,” Stilwell said.
That majority is now much more accessible to Citrix and its partners, he said.
The company also previewed a digital assistant functionality which Hough described as less about search and more about “a full bot system” designed to the constraints of the work environment.
“We think you can from ‘How many vacation days do I have?’ to ‘Move the meeting with David on Tuesday to the Thursday of the following week’ pretty quickly,” Hough said.
For more on Workspace, and all things Citrix, be sure to check out the ChannelBuzz.ca Podcast later this week for the full interview with Stilwell, and a conversation with Citrix Canada chief Ed Rodriguez.