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Citrix Delivering Applications for You
Jayakishore Bayadi
Monday, December 1, 2008
Souma Das is a contented man today. When he joined Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) as Area Vice President for India Subcontinent in 2001, he had a challenging task of getting customers for his new company’s virtualization offerings, for which market in India was at an embryonic stage. In fact, sensing a huge opportunity for its products, the app delivery company Citrix had started its operations just a year before in India. And Das was confident that as an emerging economy India would be a lucrative market for his company’s products. As enterprises started expanding globally, managing IT had become a great challenge for them. No wonder, their data center is complex; and with that complexity comes inflexibility, poor service availability, and of course higher operating costs. So to regain control, one has to drive down risk and cost, enhance manageability, and give IT back the agility and scalability it needs. Obviously, Virtualization is the answer.

Das was successful in conveying this loud and clear to his prospective clientele. And it has been already successful in understanding the crux of Indian virtualization market essentials, which is growing at the rate of 24 percent. In fact, Citrix is currently growing at double the rate of actual virtualization market growth in India. Citrix has achieved a captivating compounded average growth rate of 53.8 percent in these eight years of its existence. “It has indeed been a challenging journey so far, but I cherish it as a satisfying achievement,” states Das.

Virtualization is a powerful concept where servers run the applications and software and give users remote access. The research firm IDC has predicted that Virtualization will become main stream soon as it gains wide-scale adoption. Enterprises across segments like IT/ITeS in India have been early adopters of consolidation and virtualization. The domestic IT and ITeS market revenue will touch Rs. 1,10,000 crore in 2008, while sustaining the growth of 27 percent recorded in 2007. The success stories of virtualization that have gained momentum are expected to have a positive impact on other segments like Manufacturing, BFSI and Aviation, says the study. It has set in motion the beginning of a pace of growth p at 2.0 percent that could be characterized by opportunities arising out of leveraging the IT infrastructure built up so far. Citrix aims to leverage this huge opportunity.Well, since its inception, Citrix’s go-to-market strategy was to attack the upper mid, large, and enterprise segments.

Of late, the company has sensed that the fast-maturing small and medium business (SMB) segment would also be prospective customers to it. Hence, Citrix is engaged in crafting its SMB strategy nowadays. “Though we are now seriously considering entering the SMB space in India, we retain our focus on the large enterprise market,” says Das. The company is now contemplating bringing its range of products in application virtualization series into the Indian SMB market. Das says, “It makes sense at this point of time to enter India in the SMB segment, since the potential is huge. When IT becomes the language of business in this segment here, virtualization will drastically reduce the business turnaround time as it adds agility to the business requirements. There is a huge opportunity to deliver our services via SaaS model as well, by making our partners or SIs host our solutions.”

Happy Customers

In India HDFC Bank, Maruti, and LG are some of the prime early satisfied customers of Citrix. Das proudly explains how he solved the pain points of one of the largest private sector banks in India. The bank, with assets of $2.6 billion, has around 4,000 employees. The sheer size and complexity of the bank’s operations made it difficult to deploy new business-critical banking applications to hundreds of branches swiftly and efficiently. Operating in an industry where speed, efficiency, and customer responsiveness are key performance metrics, delays in application deployment would mean a loss of productivity, and spiraling maintenance and support costs.

Paramount importance was to deploy the applications across all access terminals. However, the bank’s existing IT challenges also entailed bringing a standardized system across the enterprise that would enable them to achieve a broader spectrum of operational and strategic benefits. Thanks to Citrix, the bank is a happy organization today. It deployed a solution featuring Citrix Presentation Server™ for its corporate banking operations. The bank uses Citrix Presentation Server for deploying treasury, cash management, and corporate banking applications to its branches. The centralized management capabilities and unified nature of this solution allow the bank’s corporate banking operations to be integrated, flexible, responsive, and reliable. On a strategic level, the Citrix solution ensures business continuity, while optimizing maintenance and support costs.

Today, Citrix has got over 2,500 such satisfied customers across various segments in India in its kitty, including the Bharti Group, Tatas, Ashok Leyland, Jet Airways, and others. Grippingly, being in virtualization space for more than 15 years, Citrix has today become a major application delivery infrastructure provider. Through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, and with a suite of several app delivery products, the company has transformed from a single product company to one with a stable of products.

The Evolved Need

Access to information not only plays a vital role in growing businesses, but also in reducing the complexity of business operations. Many organizations have implemented a patchwork of technologies as a tactical approach to access. But what is required is a strategic approach to access that complements the user requirements, satisfies their demand, propels business plans, and provides ongoing IT agility that today’s enterprises require.

In order to optimize security, non-complexity, and cost effectiveness, every CIO should have a strategic access plan. A broad access strategy consists of elements such as end point security, traffic security and management, admission and access control, application delivery services, real time collaboration, and operations support system.

So, how does a CIO go about executing the strategy? Once the access strategy is developed, he can either 'webify', which gives limited access through a browser-enabled client device though it doesn't solve the problem of complexity, or outsource it to a third party. Another way is to create an access infrastructure for one’s organization based on business needs, which includes all the components and provides inter-operability and flexibility. “That’s where Citrix comes in,” informs Das.

In India, Citrix understood that there are multidimensional requirements in the application delivery need. “When we talk about application delivery, what really has happened over the last few decades of IT is incrementalism. Every time a new technology is introduced, a new layer of IT gets added to one’s existing infrastructure. So, it has been a challenge to manage IT in organizations. Due to this, the digital divide between the end user and the applications has been growing considerably,” explains Das.

Today many organizations in India have understood the above fact. A new IT reality is that organizations cannot simply maintain the existing systems and expect growth, but they must prioritize a new model that emphasizes both agility and efficiency, is secure, consolidates access into a central location for more efficient management, while providing effective control. As IT operating costs have steadily increased, CIOs need to find cost effective ways of managing and deploying applications that adapt to support business changes and growth, while adjusting to scores of dynamically changing access scenarios. Hence, organizations increasingly understand the need for virtualization now. “We are heavily into virtualization. We are all set to leverage this need based evolution,” articulates Das.

The Fast Spreading Trend

The trend of virtualization is evolving, and spreading fast across various segments in India. Citrix is betting on the huge opportunity in verticals such as BFSI, telecom, and manufacturing, where security is a prime concern and remote workers access the network infrastructure. Then there are also other verticals such as government, education, healthcare, telecommunications, and large technology companies that are extending their network access to remote users. Having said this, if you consider the Indian context, Citrix has grown considerably in the application virtualization space.

“Today, though bandwidth has become cheaper, enterprise applications are becoming thicker day-by-day, as complexities of the businesses have grown manifold, especially in the manufacturing segment,” opines Das. He gives the example of a customer who is a prominent automobile company, Maruti in India. In 2000, Maruti was concerned about a range of issues that were detracting from the overall effectiveness of its IT infrastructure the key problem being application deployment. The issues, which got carried across the 1,000-strong client network, included manageability of desktop inventory, software installations and upgrades, anti-virus measures, back-up of data on client hard drives, and total cost of ownership (TCO) reduction efforts.

Maruti sought Citrix’s help in this regard and Citrix deployed its Citrix MetaFrame XP™ Presentation Server. This new server farm provided robust and reliable access to applications such as Microsoft Office, Mail Messaging, Outlook, i2 CRM, UNIX®-based applications, and Maruti’s custom-developed ERP system. A major benefit for network users is their newfound ability to log in to the network from any device and gain full access to their own desktop environment. For the IT support staff, this eliminates the need to visit each client desktop and create roaming profiles for every user.

Cloud Computing: A New Mantra

As business requirements are becoming more agile, new concepts are also coming up. Cloud computing is one such a prevailing concept. It’s about obtaining computing resources - processing, storage, messaging, databases, and so on - from some place outside your own four walls, and paying only for what you use. Though conceptually cloud computing is not a new thing, organizations are now increasingly inclined towards it. Spotting this trend, Citrix recently announced the new Citrix Cloud Center™ (C3) product family. The Citrix C3 solution integrates 'cloud proven' virtualization and networking products that power many of today’s largest Internet and Web service providers.

This combination lets next generation cloud providers take advantage of the most widely adopted virtual infrastructure platform for hosted cloud services, as well as the most proven infrastructure to deliver those services reliably and securely to both cloud consumers and enterprise data centers. “The Citrix strategy will focus on equipping both new and existing cloud providers with the infrastructure needed to deliver successful clouds to their customers,” informs Das. Citrix understands the fact that SaaS and cloud computing are better suited for India than the traditional software solutions. It will help Indian businesses, which are hampered by unreliable power and broadband infrastructure, to compete well in this global economy.

Globally, more than 215,000 enterprise customers rely on Citrix Delivery Center products every day to deliver applications and desktops as a cloud-like service to their users. “The new Citrix Cloud Center (C3) offering will extend these same capabilities to an emerging generation of cloud service providers, enabling them to host and deliver successful cloud services to their users with the same performance level, security, and reliability,” recently said Wes Wasson, Sr. VP and CMO, Citrix Systems. By integrating the Xen hypervisor that powers hundreds of the world’s largest cloud providers today, and extending out to NetScaler, which delivers Web applications to an estimated 75 percent of all Internet users each day, with world-class workflow orchestration and data center optimization capabilities, and working with hundreds of partners around the world Citrix aims to play a major role in making the cloud computing era a practical reality for consumers and corporate users alike in India and across the globe as well, stated Wasson.

Besides, Citrix is eyeing on the nascent, but consistently growing desktop virtualization market in India. Through desktop virtualization, IT can have a secure, standardized, and centrally controlled corporate desktop environment. Citrix finds immense opportunities in the Indian market as the technology allows a desktop to be available to an employee on the fly in situations where the employee is traveling. It also helps in the dynamic allocation of resources, which is a boon to organizations that have thousands of employees and for which desktop management and allocation of resources is a challenge.

XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization solution from Citrix that securely delivers Windows desktops to office workers. This product makes virtual desktops simple, fast, and cost effective. However, in India the desktop virtualization market is still at a blossoming stage. Industry experts estimate that up to 30 million office workers will move to virtual desktops over the next five years, creating a new $1.0 billion market for desktop virtualization. While most of the underlying technologies that realize this vision exist today, the available solutions are far too complex and expensive for most customers to assemble, integrate, and manage..

Healthy Competition, Healthy Opportunity

In January 2008, Microsoft and Citrix jointly announced the launch of Citrix XenDesktop. Interestingly, before Citrix made the XenSource acquisition, Citrix and VMware were working together. Today Citrix’s strong contender in the virtualization space is VMware. “We see VMware as our close competitor. It doesn’t mean that our solutions will not run theirs or vice versa. We are just business competitors,” elucidates Das.

In fact, the market has enough space for all to run their businesses. In India only five percent of the servers are virtualized today. “The remaining 95 percent gives sufficient opportunity to all,” adds Das. However, in the big enterprise segment India is undergoing a change and there has been a phenomenal growth. According to IDC, 96 percent growth has been registered in the server-based computing and the thin client market in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Japan.

With regard to desktop virtualization, the technology is becoming more and more acceptable in India as well as across the globe. Large organizations in the segments like BFSI, IT, ITeS, telecom, and retail have started exploring the prospects of desktop virtualization. The virtualization heat is on. Gradually, the PC is going out of the show. No doubt, the era of thin clients is all set to begin in a big way soon in India also.

Citrix India: The Road Ahead

Citrix is planning to expand its channel strength, especially in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities and it intends to have around 75-80 partners by the end of this year. Currently, the company has around 47 channel partners spread across Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata, with Ingram Micro and M Tech India distributing its products in the country. With the company’s growing application delivery infrastructure portfolio, it is creating more revenue opportunities for its existing channel partners and Citrix is planning to expand the channel network as well to meet the growing demand.

The company, which has seen 67 percent year-on-year growth for the first half of 2008, recently opened its new sales office in Bangalore, which is strategically located, with the aim of consolidating its India operations. In addition to this, Citrix has also recently announced its plan to invest $200 million in India in the next five years towards expanding the R&D facilities, which will house teams performing the core development research work for the Citrix Delivery Center product. The investment in this period in a second R&D facility in Bangalore will enable the company to hire 500 more engineers in phases,” says VP, Products and Managing Director, Citrix R&D India. Currently Citrix India currently houses around 300 professionals, most of them are senior and experienced. Based on the full cycle of development work, the new facility will handle all aspects of research including design, coding, functional testing, documentation, product management, and escalation. Das explains, “It will enhance the company’s ability to create synergies across its various product lines by tapping into the growing pool of engineering talent available in India.”

A hundred percent partner-centric company, Citrix’s offerings in India are available today through 52 regional partners and six large SIs viz. IBM, TCS, Wipro, Fujitsu, and Tulip Telecom. Citrix has added 13 partners in 2008 till date. Almost 70 percent of India revenues emerge from 50 plus regional partners.

30 percent of Citrix’s business comes through the SIs. With SIs playing a significant role in accelerating the growth momentum, Citrix is committed to create more awareness amidst partners to articulate the key benefits of application delivery offerings. Continuing its ‘GTM’ in 2008, Citrix has aggressively conducted webinars and certification programs and training programs for the benefit of its regional partners. The company has initiated a consulting organization within Citrix with qualified architects and consultants for skill enhancement of the partners. “The online technical training is another great asset for our partners,” opines Das. Partners enjoy substantial recurrent revenues through Citrix’s subscription renewal model. With a complete stack of application delivery offerings and efficient support from Citrix, partners are receiving good margins.

Over the past few years Citrix is consistently getting quite a good number of repeat business orders from its customers. In the last quarter, the company saw about 40 percent of repeat business from existing customers, which was around 60 percent during last year. The top 100 customers of the company in India are already into standardization of Citrix deployments in their organizations. Predominantly, Citrix has customers from BFSI, Telco, manufacturing, BPO, and IT services. The company is also targeting government, retail, and education sectors in India; it has a strong presence in these segments globally, though.

Today, India is among the top three fastest-growing markets across the globe for virtualization products. With its wide range of products, Citrix has successfully emerged as a key player in the Indian landscape. Virtualization as a technology is poised for a swift take off in the near future, and Citrix is well equipped to tap most of the cream in the lucrative and emerging virtualization market in India.

“Challenge yourself to achieve great things”

“Challenges keep me motivated and help me reassess my strengths and weaknesses.” And these are the elements that helped to bring the Citrix to where it is today. As the Area Vice President, Citrix India Sub Continent, Souma is responsible for the entire Operations including sales, services, marketing, and pre and post sales functions. Prior to joining Citrix, he was the country General Manager Lotus (IBM Software Group) and has held various Senior Management and leadership positions at Wipro, Lotus and IBM. An MS in Computer Science, with over 19 years of experience in the Information Technology industry, he is a firm believer in the values of reliability and consistency in business relationships. He says, “Every month or every quarter I try to challenge myself on various things, and my biggest motivation is to achieve that goal set by me.” Whenever challenging situations come up he motivates his team members to see them as opportunities.

He is an avid reader not a typical novel reader though. Most part of his shelf is full of biographies, books on philosophy and spiritualism, management and economics, on famous personalities, interesting travelogues; and lots on science fiction and universe by Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov and Stephen Hawking, also creative science and short stories. Of late, he is reading more of biographies and management books. A sports person from his young days, Das says that he has acquired major leadership skills like single-minded focus and the deep concern for importance of team building from his favorite sport, cricket. The sport helped him tune up his mind to these characteristics from a very young age.

Work @ Citrix
Citrix is a dynamic and global software company with an array of career opportunities and locations throughout the world. “Behind every great Citrix product there are great people,” utters Das. These include professionals from Sales and Marketing, Systems Engineers, Product Developers, Business Analysts, IT Specialists, Human Resources Specialists, Technical Support staff and more. Each individual is making a difference to Citrix its success.

The teams at Citrix share a determination to build a world-class company and global software business. “Our culture is informal but we work hard; we demand high standards in all that we do and each of us is measured on our results. Each Citrite has a sense of purpose and we are all encouraged and supported to achieve our best,” says Das. But it’s not all about hard work —In Citrix they truly believe work should be fun, that’s why their motto is ‘Work Hard, Play Hard, Get Results and Have Fun Doing It. “Don’t expect jackets and ties; we enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with flexible hours and outstanding benefits to suit your lifestyle,” is the way we work in our organization, says Das.

Citrix Products

Citrix Cloud Center--Delivery infrastructure for the cloud service provider market
Citrix Delivery Center--Deliver Every Application as a Service
Citrix Access Essentials--Simple, secure remote access
Citrix Access Gateway--Secure Application Access Solutions from Anywhere
Citrix Application Firewall--Defeat Attacks Evading Network Firewalls and IPS Devices
Citrix Branch Repeater-Increase productivity and reduce cost in enterprise branches.
Citrix Command Center-Centralized Management of NetScaler and WANScaler
Citrix EasyCall-Integrating Communications into Applications
Citrix EdgeSight-Bridging the Gap Between application Performance and user Experience
Citrix GoToAssist-Remote Support Made Easy
Citrix GoToMeeting-Online Meetings Made Easy
Citrix GoToMyPC-Enable your Employees with Secure Remote Access
Citrix GoToWebinar-Web Events and Online Meetings Made Easy
Citrix NetScaler-Makes web applications run 5X better
Citrix Password Manager-Strengthen App Security and Speed User Logons Without App Development
Citrix XenApp-Citrix Provisioning Server for Datacenters Breakthrough Capabilities for Delivering and Managing IT Infrastructures
Citrix WANScaler-Accelerating Application Delivery to the Branch Office
Citrix Workflow Studio-A powerful orchestration tool for a dynamic delivery center

Delivering Global Product Portfolios

Since its inception Citrix aimed to establish a full-function R&D center that was involved in end-to-end product development activities. Citrix's development centre in Bangalore is a complete owner for delivery of several products being developed from here – with key members of the product management, architecture, development and quality departments present. The teams here interact closely with Citrix’s R&D facilities in the U.S. and other countries. “Earlier R&D in India was about people in the U.S. giving out specifications and people here doing coding and testing part of that. But since the beginning we decided that we are going to build world class R&D center that included customer requirement gathering, product specification and design,” explicates Rakesh Singh, VP, Products & Managing Director, Citrix R&D India.

Today Citrix India has become a significant part of the global R&D network as they have most of the Citrix product lines represented here. Since India has a very strong sales team in India Citrix R&D has got an edge here. “It has become very convenient for us to interact with sales team and customers directly to understand their needs,” says Singh. He gives an instance where R&D team has directly worked with one of their customers, a prominent cricket portal. The technical glitches whenever this portal received high traffic was resolved when Citrix engaged with them.

The R&D contributes to the development of different product lines. An Application Networking Group works on the development of NetScaler and the application networking range of products, and there is an Application Virtualization Group, which works on developing new functionalities on Citrix XenApp. Besides this there is the Advanced Solutions Group, which works on new technologies.

Along with product management and product marketing functions in Citrix R&D, Citrix also has escalation engineering in India itself so that customers in India can directly contact us for any of their needs. “Citrix has strengthened the R&D team here by appointing technical relationship managers who will work closely with our customers and assist them technically in case of upgrades or any technological configuration required on Citrix products that they might have implemented.” Also, whatever innovation R&D team does for Indian market in their line of products, it gets captured in the global product line as well. “In that way we are running a truly global R&D in India and offer global product portfolios for our customers,” states Singh.
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