We hear this question frequently at customers who use Citrix for many years. Their question is filled with sentiment, so today I’d like to share some insight into their thoughts behind this question. As 80% of our partners (MSPs) offer Citrix and Workspace 365 it was time to question them and their customers. Today I’d like to share what we learned from them.
Why are IT-managers questioning if they still need Citrix?
To start off, the primary reason that both customers and MSPs all noted for questioning whether they need Citrix is the shift to browser-based applications (SaaS-first). As many applications are available in the web companies are questioning why they need a virtual desktop. This drives them to discover new solutions in the market as the flow of accessing a virtual desktop to open your browser doesn’t seem logical as all devices have a browser.
What IT-managers tell us after comparing Citrix, other virtual desktops and Workspace 365?
Before starting a partnership with Workspace 365, many of our IT-partners (MSPs) first tested Citrix Workspace (as well as VMware and other solutions). One of the things they tell us is that setting up virtual desktops for their environment can take days (or even weeks). Usually, it is their existing IT-stack that makes it difficult to set-up an environment for themselves. And the partners see this same challenge for customers who want to move quickly and therefore choose Workspace 365.
As many companies are looking at Office 365 for their company as an alternative to their remote desktop, Workspace 365 is a logical choice to bring together their web applications, documents, information, contacts and their applications. Workspace 365 makes it easier to set-up workspaces and allows the partners to build their own workspace within hours.
A question we often hear: Who needs Citrix?
While virtual desktops offer a ton of extra security and management features, we often see companies discuss the question ‘who needs Citrix?’. With Microsoft’s growing cloud operations, some partners told us that they want to be sure that they have a solution in a post-Citrix era.
“We have completely transitioned from Citrix to an online workspace with SaaS solutions. This brings a drastic reduction in costs for licences, maintenance and management. Now everyone can work from any device, this was not possible before.”
Maik Berkelmans, IT Architect, RSZK ZorgProfessionals
At multiple health care customers, we learned that approximately 30% of their employees previously used Citrix, but they started discovering alternatives to the remote desktop as they stated that 70% of their organisation doesn’t need Citrix and they implemented a Cloud-Only strategy. In their minds Citrix is a good solution to deliver virtual applications or desktops, however, they are replacing their legacy Windows applications with web applications.
“We’ve offered the same Remote Desktop service since we started with our first customer back in 2002…. Then last year, we came across a new concept in IT delivery – something that would flip the Remote Desktop IT solution on its head.”
Paul O’Brien, CEO at Lucidity Cloud Services
What do people (the end-users) want and say about Citrix?
In the previous years, the IT-department ruled the digital workspace. Managing a corporate IT-environment requires a lot of knowledge. However, the days of ‘grey and geeky IT’ are over. IT-managers are actively involving end-users, communication managers and other ‘non-tech-savvy’ people in the decision journey for their new digital workspace.
“I don’t want to download a client and login with additional credentials just to open my mailbox or look up my working schedule.”
Health care worker during a feedback session
That is why we organise feedback sessions with our partners and customers (more importantly with the end-users) to gather feedback on how we can simplify their work. During these sessions, we learned that people looked at Citrix as a technically advanced solution, which is perfect for those who need it the entire day, but they preferred using their own device to watch videos, access web applications, look up documents, contacts, communication and other information.
“We always reason from the point of view of the users that use IT. They want their IT to be standard, simple and sexy. It has to be easy to use, therefore we try to involve the users that will be working with it as early as possible. After comparing several digital workspaces, this was also the reason for us to use Workspace 365 to develop our own workspace proposition.”
Hans Hendrikx, Commercial Director at ITSN
Additionally, companies are looking for ways to deliver web applications to their employees. This makes it more logical for them to choose a solution that uses the browser as the central starting point as opposed to the virtual desktop because within the virtual desktop they will still need one central location for all their applications, documents, contacts, communication and information.
Why some of our customers still use Citrix combined with Workspace 365?
As mentioned before, there are people who need Citrix, and Citrix offers very powerful technologies to manage virtual applications and desktops. That is why we offer Citrix Virtual Apps within Workspace 365.
During the feedback sessions, we learned the downsides that end-users faced with their Citrix implementation. That is why we integrated it and allow you to open any application with Single Sign-On. Furthermore, it is easy to switch between the local receiver (Citrix Workspace app) and the web version. By doing this, they have all their Office 365 documents, statistics, news and applications in one single portal. They only need one credential set and use the same workspace as anyone else in the organisation.
What if an organisation doesn’t want to use Citrix but needs virtual applications?
Customers who choose Citrix over the past decade, have built their entire infrastructure around it. But with the rise of Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service customers have to make future choices. When moving to the public cloud to platforms like Azure or AWS, would it be the right decision to rebuild Citrix in Azure, or would RDP be a mature alternative that saves costs?
Whatever you choose, our focus is simplifying work, so we always look for the most powerful technologies to integrate into Workspace 365. That is why we allow IT-managers to integrate Citrix Virtual Apps, Clientless RDP and other solutions (yes, more will be added!).
We believe that companies are better off selecting tools based on the strongest points and their current investments. By bringing them together in Workspace 365 you are less dependent on a specific vendor and you are free to switch the underlying technologies while maintaining the same user experience in your adaptive workspace.
Does my organisation still need Citrix?
This is a question which you should answer, it depends on your current investments, future plans and your application landscape. As more and more applications are moving to the browser companies like Citrix also launch products to support this (for example Citrix Workspace), though the question remains if they launched it with the right