Citrix bets on mobility for long-term growth

  • Identifies mobility, collaboration, enterprise app store and data sync products as main sectors for revenue growth
  • Analysts positive about its strategy; cautiously optimistic about product integration, increasing rival challenges

ANALYSIS Citrix Systems Inc has set its sights on growing its revenue by creating a portfolio of products and services to meet a trend the company believes will dominate the enterprise in the next five years – enterprise mobility in the work place.
 
Founded in 1989 by former IBM employee Edward Lacobucci, the cloud and virtualisation player has historically been associated with providing solutions that enable enterprises to access software from remote devices through a thin-client computing model. This led the company to later develop its flagship desktop virtualisation products in collaboration with operating system giant Microsoft Corp.
 
With the acquisition of XenSource Inc in 2007, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based vendor began branching into the server virtualisation software business, targeting large enterprises with its solutions. It has also added components such as cloud computing, mobility and social collaboration into its products and services offering.
           
But as enterprise mobility begins dominating today’s workplace landscape, Citrix is now seriously gearing up its mobility portfolio in a bid to shore up its revenue in the coming years.
 
Citrix bets on mobility for long-term growthSpeaking at Citrix Synergy 2013 Conference last week, Mark Templeton (pic), president and chief executive officer, was bullish about its growth prospects, saying that the company expects to rake in revenues of between 20% and 21% this fiscal year, up from 17% last fiscal year.
 
“There are great opportunities for us to grow, as a company,” he told journalists at an Asia Pacific media briefing. “It’s an opportunity to grow and serve what we believe are important and sustainable markets for us into the future.
 
Held at the Anaheim Convention Centre in Los Angeles, Citrix Synergy 2013 is the company’s annual conference for customers, partners, analysts and the media.
 
In its latest earnings filings, Citrix achieved revenue of US$673 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, compared with US$589 million in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal year, representing a 14% revenue growth.
 
For the entire fiscal year 2012, Citrix reported annual revenues of US$2.59 billion, compared with US$2.21 billion for fiscal year 2011, representing a 17% increase, according to company filings.
 
At Citrix Synergy 2013, the 61-year-old Templeton, who has been helming the company since 2001, made a slew of product announcements designed to move Citrix into becoming a broad software player focused on enterprise mobility.
 
The three major announcements made were the introduction of Citrix XenDesktop 7, incorporating new breakthroughs with Citrix HDX Mobile technologies, which is designed to enable any Windows app to function intuitively and transparently on mobile devices.
 
Also unveiled was Citrix XenMobile enterprise edition, incorporating a unified corporate app store, Worx Mobile productivity apps; and Citrix ShareFile, a secure file sharing and synchronisation software that includes added support for Microsoft SharePoint and network drives.

Templeton said all these product offerings are expected to help enterprises gain a step nearer to becoming mobile-workforce-enabled and for them to capitalise on the power of a true mobile work style paradigm.
 
Product line positives
 
In general, the announcements made by Citrix were positively received by the analyst community. According to David Johnson, principal analyst with Forrester, Citrix has in the past couple of years executed well on its strategy, which has translated into positive developments for the company.
 
Citrix bets on mobility for long-term growthJohnson (pic), who spoke to Digital News Asia (DNA) on the sidelines of Citrix Synergy 2013, noted that the company is thinking and staying ahead with the release of its mobility software suite, XenMobile.
 
“The application it has is good, [and the functionality] of being able to provide access to traditional legacy systems behind the firewall in an intuitive and attractive way of implementing [mobility in the enterprise].
 
“Citrix is also doing a good job of being able to re-factor the user interfaces and provide a good mobile experience with what would normally be legacy apps behind the firewall,” he said.
 
The Forrester analyst pointed out that the fact that Citrix was able to demonstrate a Windows- and browser-based app – something you normally have to use with a Windows PC – and re-factor that interface to look like a mobile app, was impressive.
 
When asked if there were any specific challenges which Citrix would face in any of the new software suites launched, Johnson said that while the launch of its MDX technology is a positive development, there are challenges surrounding how far the control of application behaviour will extend to the device.
 
“Control should be exercised at the source, not at the device. If application developers give up control of application behaviour on the device to enterprise IT, it's going to cause problems for users, and users will choose other applications to meet their needs.
 
“What I would like to see Citrix do is make a distinction between applications that could be considered personal or business such as Evernote, and applications considered strictly for access to systems of record, such as Salesforce.com.
 
“In this way the experience the user has with an application for personal/ business use will never be compromised by inappropriate policy. Applications designed for access to systems of record will be protected properly.”

Next: Broader rival challenges

 
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