Team Ultima have returned from another fantastic Citrix Synergy hosted in Atlanta, Georgia. This year, as EMEA partner of the year, we were joined by many of our customers to hear the latest technology news around Citrix Workspace and many of the key partners also in attendance.
The biggest news this year is around Intelligent Workspace, this is the first step in a long term strategy to assist customers in changing the way that work is done. One of the key takeaways is that many organisations see that employee productivity is at an all time low. This is in the context of new services and applications being provided to empower users and drive engagement, however the addition of new capabilities leads to distraction!
This challenge is added to by the fact that while new systems and services are added to the employee’s workspace, applications are rarely if ever retired meaning that the application portfolio many organisations support reaches the hundreds if not thousands. Working methods studies show that the average employee needs to context switch every 2 minutes to stay on top of the work at hand.
Most of us would recognise that when left undisturbed to focus on a task we can be at our most productive, however in today’s modern workspace employees typically need to engage with multiple datasources and applications to get work done.
Intelligent Workspace from Citrix is about fundamentally changing how users interact with applications, by integrating with the applications and extracting “atomic units of work” which can then be actioned or processed by the employee without them having to go into the application or trawl through data. This capability is driven by the 2018 acquisition of Sapho, which Citrix have been busily integrating with the Workspace platform.
Intelligent workspace will be able to highlight relevant information from different applications into a datafeed in Citrix Workspace to allow users to receive critical information without having to go looking for it. It can also integrate with application workflows to allow for common actions to be driven directly from Citrix Workspace.
A number of Micro-Apps will be provided to integrate with common SaaS applications, but a Micro-App Builder service will also be available to allow you to create your own integrations.
Intelligent Workspace is the next step from Citrix, it’s no longer about simply securely delivering your applications to users on any device, anywhere, any time – it’s about changing the way that work is done. Gallup state that the global economy loses $7 trillion to lost productivity – Intelligent Workspace aims to bridge that gap. The goal from Citrix is for Intelligent Workspace to give employees 1 day a week back in productivity.
Intelligent Workspace provides an abstraction layer between users and applications – imagine if employees didn’t need to know what application is behind the activity they need to perform how that could simplify their workflows.
For a glimpse of the future, I’d recommend watching the Future of Work presentation from Christian Reilly and James Bulpin to see demonstrations of how Intelligent Workspace in combination with Citrix Analytics can provide a better way to work.
But that wasn’t all – there were some other great announcements. First and foremost was having Brad Anderson from Microsoft and a Video from Satya Nadella – Microsoft CEO, underlining the collaboration and joint development efforts that Microsoft and Citrix undertake. With the recent announcements around Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft were keen to confirm Citrix’s position as a key partner in delivering an integrated, Enterprise grade, optimised user experience using the Microsoft platforms.
Citrix Cloud Customers leveraging Microsoft Azure will be able to utilise Windows Virtual Desktop benefits, including extended support for Windows 7 and usage rights for Multi-User Windows 10 (subject to license requirements for WVD) allowing Citrix customers access to the same great capabilities that are provided as part of the WVD service.
Citrix underlined their commitment to hybrid and multi-cloud deployments by announcing the planned support for MCS in Google Cloud Platform in Q3 this year, putting all major cloud platforms on a similar footing in terms of feature support.
Citrix also announced the availability of Citrix Performance Analytics as part of the Citrix Analytics service in Citrix Cloud. Performance analytics provides the ability to understand User Experience based on a number of key metrics, to provide a user experience score. This can help organisations understand how their deployment will be perceived by the end user and assist in addressing issues that impact on user experience. The Citrix Analytics platform underpins all of Citrix’s services, providing additional value to customers through the Security Analytics service released in 2018 and now the Performance Analytics service. This is a hot area for development, so expect to see new capabilities and services being added to the Analytics platform going forwards.
Another announcement in one of the breakout sessions was that a new LTSR release is planned for Q4 2019 (subject to change). One of the common sense recommendations for this was that customers using the LTSR release should start evaluating the CR versions NOW. This means that if you deploy a CR release in your test environment and find an issue, then there will be sufficient time to make sure that any fixes required are available in the planned LTSR release, so time to get testing!
Finally but by no means least – Microsoft Teams optimisation! The Citrix side of the Teams optimisation (full client, not Web) will be included in the 1906 release and version 1905 of the Workspace App. Microsoft are aiming to release the Teams side code changes in June this year, so this should be a working solution for many users in the near term. For more information, watch the HDX recording listed below.
Citrix kindly record most of their sessions at Citrix Synergy and post on YouTube, so I’ve curated a few links that will be of interest to most people.
Keynote Session - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an53Vd_lMTI
Future of Work - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOOHo9frlR4
Citrix Virtual Assistant and Productivity Analytics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ir9CNZ6Bds
What’s new in Virtual Apps and Desktops - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiDC8dSTAA0
HDX (Including Teams update) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zdwsaxTEd0
Windows Virtual Desktop and Citrix - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_41Lu3u0Flw
Virtual Apps and Desktops Tech Update - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yv0YRvlH6M
Written by Andy McCullough, Solutions Architect