The growing trend among enterprise vendors to release scaled-down versions of their products to sell to smaller firms was reinforced back in July with the launch of Citrix Access Essentials. A version of its high-end Presentation Server software, the new solution is tailored to the needs of small businesses, providing them with secure remote access and efficient centralised management of IT resources.
Stefan Sjöström, vice-president of Citrix EMEA (pictured), acknowledges the sector is a tough one to crack. “The technology needs to be simple,” he says. “It’s wizard driven and easy to install. If it gets too complicated SMEs have to invest and train people so owners want a pragmatic solution that’s easy to put to use.”
To sell into small businesses it is imperative Citrix keeps its channel partners and resellers on side as Sjöström explains: “Resellers are typically used by smaller firms as their IT department so they also need to be sure they can embrace the technology and service their customers in a fair way.”
This has not always been the case as Sjöström admits: “Some of them lost interest because our products were getting too sophisticated and required them to invest in technical skills and competencies. We’re now working with lots of those resellers we lost along the way and we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response.”
Jimmy Kehoe, account manger at Datapac, a leading Citrix partner, believes the company has got it right with the new product. “It’s perfect for small tactical deployments of five to 75 users; small companies with a number of reps on the road who need access to the company’s data. It has a very specific target audience and it’s up to partners likes ourselves to find where it fits within an organisation. It will have a very specific appeal,” he says. “You can’t upgrade or customise it; you pay one price for one solution.”
While the product may be packaged differently, the Citrix messaging about any place, any device access is the same. “We all take it more and more for granted that we should be able to access our organisation’s data from almost any location using any device. People don’t care where the data lives, they just want access. And we also need to make sure the data is secure,” says Sjöström. “IT people need to be able to control it, back it up and make sure it’s safe. For the SME market it will be down to the resellers to enable that.”
The product combines several innovative and patented techniques from Citrix and Microsoft that allow programmes to run centrally and securely on the server while appearing to run on the user’s local, remote or mobile computer. According to Citrix, users will experience the same responsiveness and security levels as if they were on the local network.
By Ian Campbell