Overcoming challenges remote working has created for enterprise IT teams

by John Grant, Director of Product Marketing

I recently joined Neil C. Hughes on his podcast TechFusion by Citrix Ready to discuss the challenges that remote working has thrust upon enterprise IT teams. I’ve followed Neil’s work for some time from afar, so it was a joy to meet him and appear on his podcast alongside of Allen Furmanski, the lead product marketing manager for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.

The stakes have been raised

What followed was a detailed discussion around the challenges that enterprise IT organizations are facing due to Citrix’s recent pandemic-fueled expansion to support “hybrid workstyle” and remote working requirements. Most of these challenges associated with managing Citrix environments are not new per se but they are now being dramatically magnified by the increased organizational role Citrix technologies are playing to deliver full productivity application suites and business critical workloads enterprise-wide. Simply put, there are more chips on the table now.

As a result, the “legacy” challenges have multiplied exponentially and put a market-wide strain on IT teams that are already under-staffed and under-resourced. Here are a few of the topics and challenges that Allan and I delved into in the podcast:

  • The dramatic shortage of Citrix expertise (administrators/engineers) in the marketplace
  • Complexity of Citrix and why traditional IT tools are ill-equipped to address hybrid working
  • HelpDesk’s historical lack of involvement in supporting Citrix, and the resulting IT inefficiency
  • Why historical data is critical for both Engineering and HelpDesk 

“Pin the tail on the donkey” is not a winning IT strategy

One of the reasons I enjoyed being a guest on this particular podcast with Allen was because I really  empathize with IT leaders who are faced with making decisions in this scenario and the level of difficulty associated with that. They are in a situation where they must make the right decisions about how an IT organization is going to handle a complex infrastructure that is increasingly mission-critical to the organization’s function and revenue generation – and do so without having the luxury of adequate in-house platform expertise to understand the details and identify the potential pitfalls. Remind you of any childhood birthday party games?

The typical solution to this problem would be for an IT executive to hire their way out of it by adding subject matter experts to their team, and then managing them to success. The problem is there are not enough of administrators and engineers to satisfy the job market demand, and it’s not even close. So now what?

Going back to the traditional playbook would tell you to build, buy, or pull the plug altogether. You could build a new Citrix environment, buy all new infrastructure hardware, “rent” a consultant/MSP, or cross your fingers and move to VMware Horizon.

All of these are valid considerations and potentially the right decision, but are commonly pursued for the wrong reasons, based on incomplete information and educated guesswork. History tells us that these decisions often lead to wasted time and resources without achieving the desired outcome. Perhaps most unfortunately, the lack of data also tends to lead to internal finger-pointing, and gradually undermines a manager’s trust in the competence and expertise of their own team to deliver the needed outcomes.

Allen made a point of emphasizing how CIOs must combine the right tools with sound ITSM processes in order to be effective today and address these challenges. To put it into my own words, this was always a “good idea” but depending on the situation perhaps more of a luxury or “nice to have” in the past. Today, it is more of a Darwinian imperative. The Citrix platform simply matters too much now, and if we don’t want to go the way of the Dodo bird it’s going to require us to grow some wings that actually work.

Listen to the full podcast here! Many thanks to Neil and Allen!