Industry Awards

I’ve always been a proponent of industry awards. I can recollect my first awards ceremony representing Citrix back in the late nineties, the host was a relatively unknown Graham Norton, it was such an honour to receive the award on behalf of my company, customers and partners but also the creators of the products. In the software industry it is such an accolade for the developers to know that the software they are producing is award winning!

I always encourage my clients to enter appropriate awards and I aim to at least get them to be a finalist, winning is just icing on the cake. This year has been a really good year for my clients’ success in winning awards. Liquidware was a winner at both the US Best of VMworld awards and the European awards. The US BoVM awards are product focused and the European ones are focused on customer projects. FlexApp was the winner in the Digital Workspace Awards in August and DAS Group UK won the European Best Desktop Virtualisation and Mobility Project as well as being named Best in Show for their use of Liquidware’s Stratusphere UX solution. Liqudware was also a finalist in the Computing Technology Product Awards in the Digital Transformation Product category. However, the winners are selected by voting and as Red Hat won a LOT of the categories, I feel these awards are not so good to enter. If you’re a smaller company how do you gather enough votes to beat the bigger companies?

Last year, Droplet Computing won the UK Innovation and Entrepreneur award at the prestigious BCS and Computing awards. This year I entered them again but this time in the Emerging Technology category. It was a great moment at the awards ceremony to see the team collect this award. The only downside to them winning two years on the trot is they want me to attain a hat trick and secure a win in 2020!! No pressure then 😉

My tips for successful awards entries are to always write it from the value of the technology perspective; not just how the product works but why it delivers business value. Ensure you’re entering an appropriate category and have fully understood the entry criteria, plus, don’t use BS bingo, be succinct and write it so that the judges can garner very quickly what your submission is about and the uniqueness of the solution. You can read an in-depth blog here for further tips and tricks.

And remember: you gotta be in it to win it!

Application Layering

As a community board member of WhatMatrix, I am delighted that category consultant Rory Monaghan has updated his Application layering comparison. To promote this update, I’ve written a blog post that the WhatMatrix team has kindly linked to my blog at the end. So, this very short post is to promote the update and to reciprocate the link back to the WhatMatrix site.

Let me tell you, the category consultants that produce these independent comparisons, in their own time and it’s a LOT of work, are the epitome of community folk. They do what they do to give back to the community. Yes, there’s an element of self-promotion, but truly you should not underestimate the work involved here. Plus, the value that these comparisons provide to organisations making decisions about technology and not having to do this time extensive work themselves is unquestionable.

Please take at a look at WhatMatrix and either use their comparisons for your own benefit or, if you like what you see, promote the site to your peers as I believe we are offering something truly unique and, more importantly, of value. Oh, and I did I say it’s FREE!

Disclaimer: Liquidware, who is included in the Application Layering Comparison, is a client of my company hiviz-marketing.com

Citrix UK UG – 21 again!

[UPDATE 12 July] The UKCUG has posted their blog about the event, that includes the link for all presenters’ slide decks.  Thanks also Andrew Wood for the shout out at the end of your post to this post!! Read the post here.

I attended the 21st Citrix UK User Group meeting yesterday with one of my clients, the Diamond sponsor, Liquidware. I’ve know the majority of the committee – Jim Moyle, Andrew Wood and Neil Spellings – for many years and it’s always great to catch up.

Andrew kicked the meeting off with a welcome and recap of Citrix Synergy. Some of the audience had attended the event back in May and I got the impression that, in general, there was a buzz around the event that may have been missing in recent years. There were a lot of new announcements, as you’d expect, a summary of which can be read here.

What I really like about the CUGC UK meetings is they stream the meetings – via Go-to-Meeting – to enable folks to listen in that can’t attend a meeting in Central London.

Tweet from committee member Chris Marks

After Andrew’s intro, Al Taylor delivered a very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and informative session from a field perspective on The Great SD-WAN Bake-Off. After Al, Nigel Woods from FSLogix spoke about their Office365 caching solution. The coffee break – which was held in the boiling atrium at the Barbican 🙁 – was a chance to speak with the attendees before we re-grouped for a fascinating session on GDPR: A Techie’s Perspective by James Rankin and Jim Moyle.

Sessions from Steve Atkinson and Rachel Berry followed on Remote Access and IoT respectively.

After lunch Luke Dynowski of multi-national law firm Clyde & Co LLP shared his trials and tribulations of managing EUC across the globe, always good to hear from a customer!

Mark Plettenberg from LoginVSI then delivered the key findings of the VDILikeaPro VDI/SBC State of the Nation survey. I think the survey yielded some interesting results and, with over 580 respondents, it is statistically viable. However, I also think the folks involved make the data very skewed. I believe if you had a group mainly focused in the VMware space conducting a similar survey the results would be quite different – #justsaying!

Dave Johnson from Liquidware then spoke about their solutions and, specifically, about a great customer story, Informa, who are undertaking a multi-faceted desktop transformation project, including Citrix, physical and Amazon WorkSpaces – fascinating!

Unfortunately I then had to leave – although the diabolical disruption at Paddington meant I should’ve stayed for the Kevin Goodman session and his sponsored beers afterwards!!

In summary, I love the diversity of the Citrix User Group agenda; there really is something for everyone in my opinion, so why not try to attend their next meeting in September, currently scheduled for 27th.

All slide-decks will be posted soon, so check out http://www.citrixug.org.uk/

July 6th Citrix UK User Group Meeting – A Rimmary

I’ve known the committee members (Neil Spellings, Andy Wood and Jim Moyle) for a long time but with my prior volunteer role as a UK VMUG leader, it never felt ‘right’ that I should attend a Citrix User Group. So I was excited to attend the meeting in London on 6th July to a) learn but b) to see how it was on the “dark” side 🙂

My client, Liquidware Labs, is a platinum sponsor of the UK CUG, but is also a founding sponsor of the CUGC launched at Synergy in 2015. I’ve long harped on to anyone that would listen to me at Citrix – I specifically recall a discussion at IPExpo back in 2013 with Julian Wood, Andy Wood and the then NE Marketing Director Nick McGrath – that a user group needs the support and focus from the vendor to be successful. The UK Citrix User Group has been running for a number of years prior to a formal CUGC being launched. Support required isn’t necessarily financial, but does need to be supported by key technical team members. So it was great to see Simon Frost and Craig Hinchliffe in attendance. And it was great to witness a formal Citrix User group first hand!

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Andy Wood opened proceedings with a welcome and thanks to sponsors, of which there are 3 Platinum, 4 Gold and 4 Silver. As mentioned prior, Liquidware Labs is a Platinum sponsor and one of my other (previous) clients, PernixData is Gold. However, due to the current “situation”, PernixData was not in attendance 🙁

It was funny to hear Andy mention that they’d stolen  borrowed [updated as per comment below] “another VMUG idea”, tipping a nod to me, of a quiz (aka passport to prizes) to encourage members to visit each sponsors’ stands to garner the answer to company specific questions to then be entered into a prize draw for a very nice wireless Bose speaker, sponsored by AppSense. Interestingly – given they were recently acquired by LANDesk – their question was “What company was AppSense born out of?”!!

Then we had an overview of the Citrix announcements at the recently held Citrix Synergy, delivered by a customer, Dave Holborn of Aviva and a partner, Chris Marks of Esteem. As I’d watched the live stream of the keynotes, there wasn’t anything new, but I liked the way Dave and Chris made the session interactive by asking the audience what they thought about the announcements. This produced some great dialogue and, frankly, they needed more than their allocated 45 minutes.

Next up was Andrew Innes from Citrix talking about Federated Domain Logon: Flexible Auth for Windows Delivery in XenApp 7.9. Following Andrew was a sponsor 15 minutes presentation from UniPrint. After a coffee break, Dan Bolton and Jim Moyle presented a community session on Numecent’s JukeBox, now named CloudPaging – an app delivery application. Then followed a CTA (Citrix Technology Advocate) session on the Mysteries of FTA’s by James Rankin. The last session prior to lunch was the 15-minute sponsor session from Peter von Oven of Liquidware Labs, talking about User Login Process.

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After the community was fed, thanks to Liquidware Labs, I had to leave.

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It was a great first time meeting for me, informative and interactive and also great to catch up with some old and new friends; Yuri Pasea, Roger Baskerville, Ian Jones, Steve McElfatrick and Sharon Munday in the “old” camp and Rachel Berry of NVIDIA and Jane Cassell from TFL in the “new”.

If you’re a Citrix user and don’t know about this user group, you should sign up and attend for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community 2.0

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Community – it means different things to different people, particularly in our industry. But I like this definition the best: A community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. I’ve recently become involved in a crowd-sourced community, WhatMatrix. The goal of WhatMatrix is to provide free comparisons to organizations based upon collaborative, expert input. Having been involved in the launch of this community, it is exciting to see people’s responses to the matrices – particularly when they don’t agree! But the sweet thing about WhatMatrix is the fact that this is exactly what underpins it; if you disagree and can assert the correct information, it will be updated.

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The value of this can, however, potentially be undermined or misconstrued if an expert contributor is associated with a vendor. It could be assumed that the expert might have a bias towards his or her own company’s solution. This train of thought got me thinking about other things in general. I think that experts, bloggers, industry contributors etc., whatever “nomenclature” you want to associate with this group of people, it all boils down to respect. If you can demonstrate that your opinion is factually based and be willing to change it if proven wrong, then you command the respect to be an ‘independent’ member of said community. Whilst I’ve always said if you’re an employee, you’re ‘always on’ as a representative for your company, you can still be a community contributor and employee. I’ve also seen experts move from being independent to working for a vendor only to discover their ‘perks’, such as NFRs etc. are removed from them, as owners of the programs to which they belong don’t like the competition having access to their software. Well, let me tell you, if you sell via a channel and your competition is that desperate to get a hold of your product, they will! Don’t penalize the expert for no longer being independent is my view.

But I digress…….. What does the future hold for our community within the virtualization and cloud space? I see many vendors creating their own select programs and really getting behind them to own, drive and, in most cases, fund them. For any user community to thrive the vendor has to take ownership early on, in conjunction and collaboration with the users. Big user groups, such as the VMware User Group, have become totally independent to be effective and are funded via vendor sponsorship. For more niche players and start ups, make the community what your ‘social unit’ needs it to be, not what you, as a vendor, want it to be. Other community programs, such as VMware’s vExpert accolade, become less meaningful, to some, as they grow. People want exclusivity to feel more valued it would seem. My view is that as the user base grows, the vExpert numbers will grow. But maybe it is time to create some kind of tiering? This point reminds me of being involved building the channel for Citrix and then VMware across EMEA in both companies’ early days. The innovative partners that first came on board and really invested wanted recognition as the partner base grew to include the ‘box shifters’, and so tiering was introduced; platinum, gold, silver, etc.

In summary, I think Community 2.0 will be more collaborative, potentially less exclusive but more ‘segmented’ and should continue to focus on the needs of the member first and foremost.