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Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov kicked off Citrix's annual analyst summit and shared his strategy and vision for the company. What quickly became clear after listening to the company's key leadership present over the course of the two day event was Mr. Tatarinov's key takeaway — Citrix has been heads down and has refocused on its core. While this makes perfect sense, the company is not being complacent - clear progress was revealed (much of it under NDA), and the company's innovation pipeline has been/continues to accelerate. Citrix was eager to tout the increasingly cozy and integrated relationship with Microsoft that was revealed earlier this summer at their annual Synergy event, and has made progress across several fronts. Citrix hammered home the message that Microsoft was a strategic partner and made sure the 50 or so analysts in attendance heard that the collaboration and integration is already paying dividends.
The "Legacy Relationship" is Transforming
The Skype for Business element of Citrix's relationship with Microsoft has enabled Citrix to expand deployments with its existing customers and is also exposing new opportunities to complement the company's unified communications deployments with its Workspace Service across the broader Microsoft portfolio (e.g., Azure, EMS, O365, SCCM, Windows server, and its container offerings). The phrase "better together" was repeated throughout the event; indeed, a key takeaway from my time in Santa Clara is that the relationship positions Citrix to compete more directly with its key competitors (i.e. VMware) as they both try to capitalize on the near-term opportunity to deliver sophisticated and highly secure workspace solutions.
While Microsoft has made good progress with Windows 10, Office365, and Azure enterprise deployments, it can greatly benefit from technologies and solutions from companies like Citrix to help it capitalize on the IT modernization budgets that will ultimately open up. Cloud-based technologies (ranging from PaaS to containerization) continue to be the driver that will ultimately help push companies to not just modernize their applications, but to rethink the manner in which they deliver applications and services to their end-users. Going forward, implementing a cloud architecture and infrastructure will be essential to simplifying deployment environments and for true mobile self-service and enablement.
Workspace Battle has Just Begun
Citrix shared details on its desire to move down market — while the file sync and share market has consolidated, Citrix continues to make progress with ShareFile, and its integration with Microsoft will likely help in better penetrating both midmarket and SMB firms (Azure and InTune integrations will help, too). Microsoft's go-to-market prowess will help Citrix expand its customer base, and Citrix's solutions (primarily NetScaler and its Xen suite of products) can help Microsoft fight off increasing pressure from the likes of Amazon and IBM with its ability to simplify, accelerate, and streamline both legacy and modern (i.e., Windows 10) desktops at scale. Bottom line, Citrix has become a desirable partner for its ability to help Microsoft get its customers to migrate from their current desktop infrastructure and to further virtualize their environment as they continue to migrate to the cloud — VMware is also well positioned in this regard—this being said, the rivalry between these two entities will definitely continue.
I'll be attending Microsoft's Ignite event in Atlanta next week and am looking forward to hearing Microsoft articulate how it sees its relationships with both Citrix and VMware going forward.
View the 2017 Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Research Outline to learn more.