Citrix was way ahead of the curve when it came to virtualizing the desktop. But, as is often the case with early movers, it never really rose to its potential because it created a solution that was very costly, complex to run, and relied on long-term contracts that locked in customers. These tactics created an impressive level of dissatisfaction with the firm, making it only a matter of time before one of the more significant vendors – or a younger firm – stepped in with a displacement strategy.
The irony is that with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work from home a virtualized solution that could be better secured and managed would be a significant advantage. Not only does the Citrix economic model work against that, but the company also has a lousy security record.
Enter Cameyo, a relatively new company that has significantly increased its customer base to 150. In addition, their new customer average is in the 1,000+ range, sharply up from their smaller-company start, and it’s positioned itself well against the ongoing work-at-home world.
The firm may, right now, be the best alternative to Citrix. Let’s explore.
Citrix’s promising idea, poor execution
For much of my life working at IBM or later for a variety of large analyst firms, I’ve had the privilege of overseeing, reviewing or analyzing a variety of technology segments. These include security, operations, accounting, finance, marketing, desktops, commissions, and, of course, general IT. Through that time, I’ve mentally collected a set of best practices from this wide variety of functions.
- Keeping solutions simple;
- Retaining flexibility in contracting (to avoid lock-in vendors like Oracle or Apple;
- Avoiding the use of VPNs as unsecure by nature;
- And prioritizing the needs of users over the needs of IT.
This background allows me to look at a solution from the standpoint of the experiences of a large number of IT clients with which I’ve consulted. As a result, while what Citrix has been trying to accomplish has been laudable, based on customer complaints it is too complicated and too expensive. It also appears to have had too many security issues (there was a new one identified this month) for me to be able to recommend it comfortably.
Comments like this one from UR&Penn caught my eye and had me looking for alternatives. Users report common Citrix problems: users unable to work, promises from Citrix that went unmet, and near-constant upcharges to fix what should have worked when the solution was initially deployed.
When looking at complaints like this in the past with other vendors, I’ve often found a hidden incentive to make products more difficult to use. They do this to drive up services revenue so that customers are paying to fix intentionally defective products. Rarely is this an official strategy. But with executives compensated on revenue, some find creative – and for customers, painful – ways to game the system. These practices do increase revenue tactically, but they destroy customer confidence, satisfaction, and loyalty and can kill a firm if they go too long uncorrected.
As UR&Penn discovered, Cameyo quickly displaced a Citrix and Neutonics Xi Frame solution with something far more comfortable to set up, less expensive (Cameyo claims 70%+ potential savings), and far more secure. Most importantly, it’s a solution where the users weren’t calling IT near constantly for fixes.
One of the apparent issues for UR&Penn was that because Citrix’s cloud solution wasn’t created from scratch but rehosted, it didn’t work well. (If you read the linked case, UR&Penn pulls no punches.) Yet with Cameyo, not only was the solution up and running in a near-unbelievable three hours, it just worked. No VPN and it was built to be deployed in the Cloud, so the performance problems they had with Citrix were eliminated as well. And the overall cost was a fraction of what Citrix charged.
One customer Cameyo shared was nearly put out of business by the pandemic. Frontrunner Learning Centres in Australia was an after-school tutoring and learning center that had to shut down its on-premise operations. As a result, all the students (and this happened over one day) started canceling their programs, leaving the company on the path to catastrophic failure. Can you imagine having all of your customers abandon you suddenly?
In one day, Cameyo was able to deliver a trial, confirm the trial, and then implement a fix that allowed the firm to get 60% of its customers back immediately. They saved that company’s life.
They had more cases such as this financial services company in Africa serving 10,000 (30%) of its employees, or the energy company that had to shift 500 employees to remote work quickly to keep them safe. The language these customers use is consistent: Comeyo is low cost, simple and easy to use, fast to deploy, secure, and isn’t aggravating. It is like a collection of best practices in a solution.
Like a lot of first movers, Citrix had the right idea, but the cloud messed it up. The result appears to be an expensive mess requiring a lock-in strategy to hold customers through the pain. There are a variety of alternatives, but the one that caught my eye was Cameyo. If you are looking to take a lot of existing apps, host them in the cloud, and provide them to on-premise or remote workers under the threat of a pandemic, I’ve found no better solution.
For those that need a cloud desktop solution that covers the gamut of applications, can deploy fast, needs to be secure, reliable and to work, Cameyo is worth checking out.
Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.
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