Citrix, which is celebrating its 25-year anniversary, has evolved from offering people access to stuff from anywhere to also offering them access to other people.
While perhaps better known for its GoToMeeting solution, mobile device management tools and large cloud networking solutions, Citrix has also been developing apps—what it calls Experiments—for small businesses or small teams, with the aim of improving individual efficiency, group collaboration, communication and, of course, access. Below are four standouts.
Citrix purchased the Copenhagen-based Podio in 2012 and continues to improve on it. Podio is a cloud-based app that helps users manage projects and collaborate with colleagues. Its interface is clean and modern and looks like Facebook meets Google+. There are lines for different deliverables, each of which can have its own ecosystem of comments and collaborative remarks and shared documents.
Podio can also be customized—without code, and by the people doing the work, who know best what they need—to the way a team works and the type of work that it's doing, whether it's a marketing group or wedding planners.
The ideal Podio workgroup is between 10 and 50 people. Citrix is so sure of Podio's ability to help get things done, it offers it free to nonprofits. Other users pay by the seat.
Talkboard is a white-boarding app for the iPad. It can be used to sketch or draw ideas—on the user's tablet but also the tablets or displays of colleagues' devices. It can be opened in Evernote or an email (and, soon, in a video chat), so that others can see what you're drawing, or vice versa.
It's easy to imagine designers or architects taking to Talkboard, and Citrix says there's been a big interest from elementary schools (no shocker, once you try it out). It's the type of app that could keep kids busy in the backseat—it offers an array of color options, paints and writing utensil tips, from markers to pencils and pens—but also offer serious benefits in the office.
It will eventually be available for other types of tablets as well.
How many times have you sat on a conference call, waiting for the last invited party to call in? Convoi, a free conference call and chatting app, solves that. Members of a team can be grouped, and all of them can be called or conferenced-in at once, without the need to deal with phone numbers or access codes.
By dragging around user icons, new small groups can be created as necessary.
ShareConnect is a freemium-style remote-access app that creates remote shortcuts between an iPad and desktop apps. Ideal for small-business owners, it makes desktop apps feel as though they were also made for Apple's tablet. A user can leave on a computer, head out the door with her iPad, and know she'll have the same functionality and access to documents as if she were behind her desk.
One early user, said Citrix, plans to take ShareConnect on a monthlong vacation abroad, so she can take care of employee payroll while she's away. It's a "no one needs to know you're not in your office" app.
These and other new apps can be explored on the Citrix Experiments site.