Second part of our interview with Citrix CEO David J. Henshall focused on Cloud and Innovation.  

The interview of David Henshall, CEO of Citrix continues on citrixguru.com. The second part of the interview is focused on David’s vision of Innovation at Citrix, the challenges faced by Citrix Cloud and the benefits of Citrix Community. Read on to learn more now.





What are the biggest challenges facing Citrix right now?

As I said, our cloud transformation is really a transformation of every part of our business. It’s a shift to an entirely new business model, so the challenge is making sure that we are very intentional about the changes we make and making sure that we are moving fast enough to stay ahead the needs of our customers who want to get to the cloud today, while maintaining support for those who need a little more time or who always want a hybrid model for their organizations.

How would you rate the success of Citrix Cloud today, and what are the next steps for the future?

Its early, but customer interest, and bookings, have been strong. Many services are live today and the roadmap alignment is in good shape. The new, simplified org structure has really allowed the teams to come together to accelerate delivery across the portfolio. The next steps are what I mention above. We need to be intentional about how we accelerate this transformation with as little impact to our business as possible.

As Citrix is 100% dedicated to the Cloud, some customers that are not Cloud-ready feel left behind. How can Citrix balance its message, align better with their needs, and how will you make traditional on-premises customers feel comfortable with the direction of Citrix?

As I’ve hit on in a few answers here, I would phrase that as Citrix is 100% dedicated to a hybrid cloud model, where we will never force anyone to go where they don’t want to go. We are transitioning to a cloud business, but that’s a business transformation as we shift to subscription-based solutions. In no way will that leave our on-premises customers behind. Citrix is dedicated to give customers flexibility and choice to work any way they need for their organization.

Customers have complained that Citrix Cloud is too complicated, and that some features available on-premises are not available in the Cloud. How can Citrix improve those aspects?

Well, the only service that is not full-featured in Citrix Cloud at this time is gateway-as-a-service, due to some network visibility limitations. It would be helpful to understand from you the feedback you are getting on what’s complicated. The feedback we are getting from customers is the opposite. The biggest feedback we get on Citrix Cloud is the simplicity and ease of use of the service. On top of that, all new Citrix Cloud customers get 60 days implementation support from Cloud Adoption Services, so we are committed to making this experience as easy as possible for our customers. However, we always welcome feedback.

Testing and demoing the Citrix Cloud offering can be confusing and expensive. How can Citrix help its partners sell Citrix Cloud?

I agree, it is currently too difficult, and we are working hard to improve this. For example, we currently have a discount program for partners, and to make it easier and less expensive, we also have a free subscription program for partners. Both the discounted and free programs allow partners to use the service internally (get familiar with it) and demonstrate the service to customers and prospects. So, while we have some work to do, I think we are on the right track with finding solutions to help our partners excel with Citrix Cloud. Again, I am open to your ideas for feedback.

Innovation has always been a part of Citrix’s DNA. With your financial background being CFO, what is your technical vision for Citrix moving forward and what will be your focus to keep the innovation going?

While I did wear a financial hat at Citrix for a long time, that wasn’t and isn’t my only passion for this company. As I said above, I’ve championed a lot of our R&D, M&A and other efforts at Citrix over the years, and that has been a huge passion for me.

But most importantly, I want to be clear that innovation doesn’t happen with any one person. We currently have incredibly strong technical leadership – with PJ Hough, SVP and Chief Product Officer, and Jeroen van Rotterdam, SVP, Engineering – and they together have teams of thousands globally who are day in and day out doing the work that is driving innovation. I want to work with those people to set a direction and clearly defined goals for our company, and then my job is not to be the only person driving a technical vision; my job is to foster an environment where the brilliant people within Citrix are empowered to be curious, to chase down ideas, to make decisions, to move fast and fail occasionally, to learn from their mistakes and course correct as needed. That allows us to move faster than we ever had and innovate more quickly at a larger scale, and that is my vision for a successful Citrix.

Citrix recently announced a partnership with Google alongside its current partnership with Microsoft. How successful has the partnership been with Microsoft? Will Citrix partner with more organizations in the future?

The longtime partnership with Microsoft has been incredibly successful, and it is stronger than ever. On the product side, we have engineering teams working together. And in the field, we are seeing more and more joint wins with Microsoft, and people seeing Citrix Cloud on Azure as the clear choice for their company. Citrix has always been a partner-centric organization, and it will continue to be partner-centric long into the future. We will always be open to partnering with any organization that can help us meet the needs of our customers. This is the type of collaboration that customers expect.




The CTP community has been around for 11 years, with Perrine Crampton facilitating critical connections between passionate users and Citrix teams. In addition, the new CTA program expanded Citrix’s communities this year. What are your thoughts about these programs? More broadly, what impact do these passionate users have on influencing your products?

We value the technical community. More specifically, we value the passion and expertise within the technical industry. As Citrix continue to transform and shift, we’ll be leaning on our community to provide us with the help we need to make that happen. External input is essential to building successful and robust products, and you will certainly see much more need for this input in the future.

Link: CUGC- Citrix User Group Community

On a lighter note (and as our last question), what does the CEO of Citrix do during his free time?

My wife and I love to travel. It has always been our big passion outside of work. A long time ago, she and I set a goal to visit 100 countries, which is a lot, but we both like learning, exploring and understanding the diverse cultures around the world. These days I don’t get a lot of time away, so, I’ve only been to about 60, but she has currently been to over 140 countries. I say that if you average the two and look at us together, we’re on plan for our goal, which is all that matters.





That’s a wrap. Thanks David Henshall and Citrix for your help making this interview possible. I am glad David decided to do his first public interview with Citrixguru.com. That shows the value of the community for him today as CEO of Citrix Systems. We look forward to see what Citrix has in mind for the future.