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Citrix Nails Its Enterprise Mobility Strategy

I have been very pleased with the strategy, execution and the road map that Citrix has developed around Enterprise Mobility. With the announcement of XenMobile MDM and the Mobile Solutions bundle, I can very easily say that the Citrix solution is the most complete and feature-rich offering on the market today.

XenMobile MDM is simply a name change for Zenprise, which Citrix acquired a few months earlier. I expected Citrix to simply change the "Z" to "X" and keep the name, but I guess Citrix marketing did not find that as amusing. That is not the only change that occurred: A new version of "Zenprise" also accompanies this release, and XenMobile MDM now brings it to version 8.0.1.

Many customers and colleagues have asked me why Citrix acquired an MDM provider -- what are the value-adds and isn't the world moving towards MAM anyway? To answer, we have to make a clear distinction between the use cases. I agree and concur that for BYOD initiatives, MAM is a better, cleaner way of doing this things and that MDM is not the ideal solution.

That being said, there are plenty of use cases where MDM is the only solution that makes sense and I will give you real-world examples. Have you heard of the "Belly" card? It is a customer recognition and rewards program from a company HQ'ed in Chicago that offers merchants a locked down iPad for display in their place of business. Customers can come in and scan their mobile phones on the iPad provided and after a certain number of check-ins they are offered a reward for their loyalty. In this case, belly would have very little use for MAM; they need an MDM solution to manage the thousands of iPads they have deployed.

Another example: United Airlines and American Airlines allow customers to use mobile devices in the cabin to purchase goods in-flight. Obviously, the airlines don't want the flight attendants to use their own device for this, MDM shines again here.

Finally, what about financial institutions that want to continue to issue corporate-managed devices of different flavors? It'd be for security reasons, obviously. In this case, MDM shines.

When I see bloggers and analysts disqualify MDM, they are not thinking beyond BYOD, where the business world could have a use case built around an application they issue on a mobile device.

Did Citrix strike gold with its acquisition of Zenprise? I will say this much: It was one of the best acquisitions the company has ever made. The natural follow-up question is, what about CloudGateway? And my answer is, it is the glue that holds everything together and is the most important product in the Citrix solution today. Everything will go through CloudGateway moving forward and at version 2.5 has the following features:

  • Enterprise app store with identity management capabilities for a single sign-on like experience
  • Windows Applications and Desktops through XenApp and XenDesktop
  • Mobile applications integration, provisioning, etc.
  • SaaS applications integration, provisioning, etc
  • Integration with Citrix ShareFile for enterprise DropBox functionality

CloudGateway also has a connector for Citrix Podio, and here I'll be critical of Citrix the same way I'm critical of VMware for not integrating SocialCast. Why Citrix doesn't make Podio the workspace that users initiate all their activities from is a mystery to me, so I invite Citrix to consider Podio the workspace of the future with integration points for GoToMeeting, ShareFile and tabs for Mobile, Windows SaaS and other resources.

The XenMobile MDM and Mobile Solutions Bundle suite also introduce a sandboxed e-mail and Web browser capability. If you have been following my blogs, you probably know that one of the biggest security challenges for mobile devices is the native e-mail and Web browsers. It's hard or impossible in some cases to wrap policies around these two applications, and any solution that does not provide an alternative sandboxed option is not complete.

In the final analysis, I am very happy with the progress Citrix has been making on the road to Enterprise Mobility Management and there are many companies that are already iintegrating their NAS solutions with XenMobile, Cisco ISE being one and ForeScout being another. My one and only concern about Citrix is that it does not price itself out of the market -- Citrix tends to stick a hefty price tag on these solutions and I sincerely hope this time these solutions are priced to win because the technology is definitely capable. Your thoughts?

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 03/04/2013 at 1:35 PM


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