What’s Elliott Management Got in Mind for Citrix?

So this is old news as we all know, but I recently saw and was discussing in our EUC practice this article that provides a very good insight into the situation and the analysis of the hedge fund’s proposal regarding the future direction and composition of Citrix’s product portfolio, strategic direction, and corporate structure.  I think with the product mis-steps and “oh look, squirrel!” shiny-object-chasing innovation and development/acquisition strategy over the past few years, this was something most of us thought would happen eventually.  Customers have had to be pretty vocal about their displeasure when product directions changed, seemingly ignorant of the advice and influence of CTP’s, the partner community (made for some animated PTEC meetings over the last few years), and even the feedback and wishes of customers themselves.  The killing off of XenApp, only to revive it again and bring it back like a conquering hero returning from Valhalla after customers threatened that they would dump Citrix or never upgrade past XA 6.5 was testament to these missteps.  Elliott makes a good case for streamlining and focusing the company, and I get the reasoning, but I’m not 100% certain that I agree with some of the recommendations.  Sales and Marketing DEFINITELY needs to be streamlined and revamped.  There has been tremendous turnover (many of whom go directly to work for the competition) in sales in the last couple years, and it has not gone unnoticed in the partner community and among customers.  I think Citrix really has to regain their focus on delivering the workspace; the evolution of XenDesktop, XenApp and even XenMobile still has tremendous potential.  And the time is now.  VMWare is consistently improving their workspace virtualization platform and integrating all of its relevant acquisitions (Desktone, Nicira, AirWatch, Immidio, etc.) under the Horizon banner at a good clip, and they’re out there aggressively engaging partners with it in no uncertain terms to try to take advantage of and frustrated and confused XenDesktop and XenApp customers to unseat Citrix.  Microsoft’s formerly cozy and congenial relationship with Citrix isn’t quite the same anymore either, and MS is forging ahead with solutions that could potentially be a very viable solution and get some CTO/CIO brains thinking about whether they really need to continue to cut that SA check for thousands of licenses to Citrix every year.  It’s a crucial and critical time for Citrix to proclaim it’s identity and it’s direction, and validate it’s presence and value in every customer footprint.  Will they do it?  I hope so – it’s a great company and I still think they have a unique and relevant vision about the “workspace” and how people want to be able to work.  Only time will tell if the Elliott plan is the path they take towards this goal of a leaner, meaner Citrix, and there’s sure to be some hard decisions and pain points along the way, but without a doubt we’ll all be watching what comes out of Ft. Lauderdale and Santa Clara really closely over the next several quarters.  There are a lot of customers still needing to upgrade both Citrix and even Windows environments (surprising how many XP desktops still remain out there, even in verticals like Banking/Financial Services, Healthcare, etc.) and many who are actively preparing and staging for Windows 10 as part of large EUC refreshes.  The opportunity is out there, let’s see what Citrix management does with this!

CREDIT:  Simon Bramfitt’s original post, published at The Virtualization Practice on June 12, 2015 and which I referenced in this article can be found here:
http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/citrixs-future-threat-elliott-management-33207/ http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/citrixs-future-threat-elliott-management-33207/

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