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Citrix partner impact uncertain amid GoTo spinoff plan

Channel partners may have to wait a bit for a detailed technology roadmap as Citrix plans to shed its Citrix GoTo line of business and rethink its core products.

With the news this week that Citrix will spin off its GoTo family of products into a separate company, rethink its strategic core set of products, and lay off 1,000 employees, the Citrix partner community and its customers, no doubt, have some concerns.

Unfortunately, in an email that the vendor sent to its channel partners about the Nov. 17 news announcement that was signed by Carlos Sartorius, senior vice president, worldwide sales and services at Citrix, the company didn't provide much insight into how changes will impact them. On a more superficial level, the vendor noted that with the spinoff of the Citrix GoTo products -- GoToAssist, GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC, GoToTraining and GoToWebinar -- as well as Grasshopper and OpenVoice, Citrix will be better positioned to focus on a core strategic set of products to be more innovative and nimble. That set of products includes XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, ShareFile, NetScaler, Citrix WorkSpace Suite and Citrix Workspace Cloud.

"We understand customers may have questions about these decisions. We expect that focusing on our core strengths will help us improve execution, drive higher profit for Citrix and our partners' businesses over the long term and begin investing for growth in areas in which we provide the greatest customer value together. Our goal is to continue to build a more focused, scalable and profitable company that continues to exceed your expectations and add value to your business. These actions will allow us to be more nimble and better meet your needs." -- Citrix email

Platinum partner, Mike Hogan, president of Hogan Consulting Group Inc., Chesterton, Ind., would have liked to have heard more about the company's six-, 12- and 18-month vision in the news announcement, but he'll have to wait until Citrix Partner Summit 2016 in January to learn more about the vendor's roadmap. Nevertheless, he's positive about the news.

They're going to get back to basics and innovation.
Mike Hoganpresident, Hogan Consulting Group

"Citrix is looking at what businesses are they in -- the GoTo line wasn't very partner-centric anyway -- and overall, this is a very good thing," Hogan said. "They're going to get back to basics and innovation," he added.

In particular, the partner referred to the day that Citrix had a huge lead in the end user computing space, i.e. applications and desktops, over VMware, an advantage it no longer enjoys. VMware not only closed that gap, but also has taken the lead in the market.

"I think that overall for Citrix partners who have invested a lot in their technology, we're going to see some great things starting to happen," Hogan said.

THINKstrategies' managing director Jeffrey Kaplan noted that in today's increasingly competitive world, tech companies have to restructure their businesses to focus on specific segments of the market, referring to the recent split of Hewlett Packard into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as an example.

There has been talk in the industry that the acquisition of Citrix by Hewlett Packard, Cisco or Microsoft isn't such a far off idea. Hogan doesn't think it makes sense, but given the big IT industry plays that we've seen this year. ...

"I don't see it happening, but if I read about it, I wouldn't be surprised," said Hogan.

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