by Todd Smith, Citrix
On a beautiful summer day at Yankee Stadium, an eager collective of CUGC XL in New York attendees were greeted by a spectacular view of the hallowed field that is home to the New York Yankees. As a Red Sox fan, it was an emotional, and inspirational sight to see. The day was filled with some of the most trusted and innovative companies that are part of the Citrix ecosystem. Participants came from across the CUGC chapters in the Northeast United States, but we also welcomed guests from chapters in Europe and even Australia!
Leading off the CUGC XL in New York, emcees Sarah Vogt (CUGC Steering Committee president & Orlando CUGC leader) and Steve Elgan (Omaha CUGC leader & CTA) welcomed guests to the venue and thanked the sponsors and participants for joining us. Arrayed throughout the room were our event sponsors: Citrix, ControlUp, eG Innovations, Flexxible IT, Google Chrome Enterprise, Goliath Technologies, IGEL, Liquidware, Nutanix, and Stratodesk.
In a baseball stadium, we have to start with the lineup, and what a lineup we had to present and share knowledge.
After the welcomes and a brief sponsor introduction, sluggers Joe Kim and Christian Reilly from Citrix were next in the batting order. Christian is the VP of Innovation, while Joe owns all Product Engineering, and is the CTO for Citrix. Christian worked the count with his questions about “How do we know what to build?” This led to his discussion on the development cycles of products, how it starts with some speculation about what could be possible, followed by ideation, research, development, finally tying it all together as a product. In some cases, we have a viable product or feature that is needed, in other cases we have spent time learning and getting smarter.
Christian talked about the challenges of Hybrid Work, and more importantly about how IT is often in a position to “make it work despite ourselves,” which really got the room buzzing as people shared stories at the tables about how IT was either well prepared, or scrambled. The spirit of the discussion was that IT rose to the challenges, but there is still a lot of work to do. The biggest challenge is changing culture. This is a bigger challenge, especially on the executive level.
Joe Kim then led a discussion on the challenges of remote or hybrid work. In the context of managing a team that is truly hybrid, with members in-person and others who are remote, challenges with participation, giving everyone a voice, and being effective are all part of the reality we have today. Referring to recent surveys of both IT executives and IT practitioners, some similarities rose to the top of the pile. These included DaaS as a key enabler for hybrid work. Word association in a live session with CIOs that DaaS and Hybrid Work are connected. Being able to allow employees the flexibility to truly work from anywhere, and not lose out on the experience, security, or access.
Christian then followed up with a final discussion on Simplification and Complexity, and how they can be related, yet remain different. Simplification of roles and tasks can sometimes require more complex tools and procedures. As we move the ability of employees to work anywhere, we need to be concerned with security, access, and trust. This brings a more complex security framework, that needs to adapt to changing variables, and continue to maintain the security posture of the organization. One example cited by Christian is the consumerization of IT, and how that is impacting the way companies see IT. Looking at the three pillars of challenges that are facing CIOs today, which includes – Accelerating IT Modernization, Empowering Secure Digital Work, and Boosting Worker Productivity – Citrix is positioned to continue to help customer reduce complexity and simplify the experience for the digital workforce.
IT can no longer be ruled by the phrase “The more the IT department says ‘No,’ the less secure they become.” This is a trend that requires Citrix to be more collaborative with ecosystem partners, as in the relationship with Microsoft. In fact, Citrix recently announced the “Citrix Optimization Pack for Windows 365,” which allows users of Microsoft Cloud PC to get some the same optimizations that on-prem users get today.
session 1: Benefits & challenges of citrix daas – a journey of two customers to the cloud
Next, Swiss CUGC leaders & CTPs René Bigler and Sacha Thomet spoke about how Citrix technologies are impacting education in Europe. The challenges of delivering applications, desktops, and services to students across the continent was a complex and critical problem, which included language support, network reliability and availability, and security programs. Citrix was able to help address and overcome these challenges.
Panel discussion: Professional & Personal Growth in the IT world
One of the highlights of the day came in the form of a Career Development session, led by emcees Sarah & Steve, with CUGC group leaders Martin Fox, Sacha, and René. In this session, panelists discussed the topics of Keeping Current with Technology, Collaboration, Career Progression, and Leveraging partners. Sarah stated that she really likes being the technology thought leader more than being a people leader. Steve talked about working with his team as a leader to allow them to grow and expand their careers by working with HR to expand upon job descriptions and job titles, allowing for growth in a small team. All of the panelists agreed that career development and personal growth is an individual responsibility, but needs management support along the way.
Session 2: The latest practices and experiences on traditional apps in a Citrix Environment
Boston CUGC leader & CTP Fellow Tim Mangan, a stalwart of the CUGC community, founder of App-V, leader in virtualization technologies, and all around jedi shared the latest trends in Application Delivery with Citrix. While this sounds like a trip down memory lane, Tim made a lot of great points. First was that the application still matters, regardless of where the application is installed or accessed. He also highlighted that the investment in Windows OS, while not always logical, is a key part of the ecosystem that supports applications and data. With this, keeping the applications and the installers updated on a regular basis is critical to the success of the IT department, and the security of the organization. Application Delivery via Citrix not only improves the user experience and the overall security posture, but also allows the IT department to remove the app updaters, splash screens, and EULA click through notifications that users hate.
Fireside Chat: How MLB Leverages Citrix Technologies
After a quick seventh-inning stretch and a drink from the bar, we settled in for a fireside chat with Christian Reilly and MLB CISO Neil Boland, who discussed the challenges associated with a large sports and entertainment organization and the daily threats, weaknesses, and opportunities facing MLB that Citrix helps manage. Neil started with an overview of his organization and what Citrix does to help him achieve his goals. MLB and Citrix is best identified as a service provider to the clubs that are part of MLB. The goal is to standardize services provided to the clubs, its partners, the club partners, and the fans. All of this without impacting competition. Expanding to the minor league systems and organizations is a goal, and presents considerably more challenges.
Neil further discussed the challenges that MLB faces when they produce the compete in the “Field of Dreams” game. This takes place in the cornfield diamond in rural Iowa. As part of the game, they transform a small field into a major league facility, including getting the technologies of a MLB stadium to appear out of nowhere, just like in the movie. The challenge is to allow fans, the media, other clubs, and support staff to participate in the event, regardless of where they are, safely and securely. Citrix plays a huge part in this event, and it is a great story to hear.
In closing, Neil and Christian highlighted that through the partnership between Citrix and Major League Baseball, they are enabled to deliver a better product to their fans, clubs, players, and partners.
In closing, the CUGC XL in New York could not be possible without the All-Star team of leaders, Citrix Sales Engineers, Product Managers, Sponsors, partners, CUGC members, and the dedication of the CUGC staff. While the location was iconic, the content was the real star of the game.
Until the next CUGC XL, see you on the blogs.