ORLANDO, FLA.—Citrix and the IT industry at large will soon face workforces with more of an independent streak and the challenges of wrangling billions of devices on the Internet of things, according to the company's new 2020 Technology Landscape report.
Hinting at what customers might expect from the company's own Workspace-centric product strategy, the company's predictions paint a picture of businesses that are defined less by where they are physically located, but rather on how they capitalize on technologies that enable mobile and remote work.
"By 2020, it's expected that half of the workforce will be remote. This is not only something employees are demanding, but it is being legislated in countries like the U.K.," stated the report, citing survey data from a Global Leadership Summit survey.
For some organizations, remote and flex work is generating savings and driving productivity gains. Businesses that rigidly adhere to physical clock-punching may end up falling behind the curve, Citrix warned.
"This tyranny of location can limit talent pools, create wasted commuting time and damage employee engagement," Citrix stated. "We believe that the workplace will flip because of remote and flex work, the rebalancing of the work activities, and technology (technology that will enable virtual teams to outperform co-located ones)."
At the Synergy conference in Orlando, Citrix demonstrated that it isn't waiting until 2020 to help businesses cope with nomadic employees. Yesterday, the company unveiled its new Workspace Cloud. The ambitious new platform enables businesses to create and publish customized, secure and mobile-enabled workspaces, complete with the apps, data and networking services required to deliver app and productivity experiences to remote workers.
A critical component of the offering is the globally accessible nature of the cloud and its knack for enabling businesses to consume enterprise-grade software and services without massive up-front investments in IT.
"IT continues to move more things out of the data center into the cloud," noted the report. "IT is also using more SaaS services instead of self-hosted services. IT is supporting more BYO-Everything from devices to identities."
Ultimately, cloud-backed, work-anywhere IT solutions may redefine the office environment. "Eventually we will reach a tipping point where hybrid work co-located or distributed will benefit so much from virtualization that location will be irrelevant. It may just be a smartphone we carry that allows us to turn a monitor into a desktop or a headset into virtual reality," stated the report.
Meanwhile, organizations will wrestle with keeping sensitive information safe as it flows through countless networks and lands on a vast variety of devices. "As mobile and security "evolve into 2020, it is critical to be simultaneously more mobile and secure. Technology must augment policy to balance security and functionality into an experience that consistently meets the demands of both enterprise and individual—and is easy to understand, use and maintain."
Here, too, Citrix has begun laying the groundwork with new Unified Gateway functionality in its NetScaler virtual application delivery appliance, which allows organizations to centralize data and application access controls. NetScaler also gained secure single sign-on capabilities and reporting features that offer administrators insight into their users' Internet and VDI traffic.