This week’s interview is with Mark Templeton (pictured), president and CEO of Citrix.
For many years Citrix has been driving the message that IT investment should be long term and strategic rather than firefighting. Is the message getting through?
There is a changing of the guard taking place and the new guard is pushing things forward, looking for bridges to help make the transition and get to the new way of thinking. It looks to us as a thought leader and a strategic partner to get there as opposed to being one of the legacy guys feeding off the wake. You have to have the critical mass to move the boundaries and you need patience.
What makes for a successful IT implementation?
Companies need money, resources and time. We don’t believe in a big bang. Any great strategy is implemented successfully by a 1,000 great tactical moves, especially when you have an organisation with a big incumbent presence, whether it’s users, attitudes or technologies.
What will be the next big technology change?
Software as a service. Twenty-five years ago there was mainframe computing before the PC came and drove enormous change. We’ll see the same again with software as a service, but it will be faster and more destructive.
Would you agree there is a disconnect between the IT and business people in most organisations?
Across the board there is a reasonably big gap between everyone on the technology side and everyone on the business side. It is a general problem. There isn’t enough of a direct interface between people who are technologists building things and people who are actually trying to make them useful.
How would you characterise the difference between American and European businesses when it comes to technology?
The US is different from the rest of the world in IT generally. American organisations tend to be more hype oriented. Europeans seem to let the hype go by while they are thinking about what they should investigate. If the hype has gone by the time they’ve finished thinking, then that’s fine!
The culture of Citrix is noticeably less bullish than some US software giants. Can you explain the culture difference?
We’re not ego bound or ego driven, whereas a lot of technology companies are. We were built on a culture of respect, integrity and humility. Because we’re a value-add company and have to work with partners, you could say we can’t afford to be ego driven, but at the same time the company has been built this way. As former president Roger Roberts used to say: “We’re not trying to create a rock star, we’re trying to create a great rock band.”
By Ian Campbell