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July 2, 2020
The Citrix Workspace app platform is now available with new tools that let employers implement new COVID-era workplace safety practices.
Citrix originally created the new back-to-office microapps to ease the transition for its own employees returning to the company’s offices.
Now partners can customize and provision these self-service apps, which simplify new workplace processes created to protect employees from infection. These are apps designed to mitigate employer risk and automate processes for HR, facilities, legal and IT.
Likewise, Citrix said the apps facilitate communications and measure employee sentiment to ensure workers are comfortable with returning to work.
Partners can create microapps for customers using design templates and APIs to integrate with existing applications. Citrix officials said the back-to-work microapps specifically focus on facilitating new workplace procedures for ensuring employee safety.
Citrix microapps are lightweight multiplatform app store services designed to integrate with SaaS and legacy back-office solutions. The tooling to create the integrations comes from Sapho, which Citrix acquired in 2018.
Citrix offers 100 workflows as microapps that automatically execute common activities that employees perform. Among them are Workday for PTO requests, ServiceNow to track service tickets and SAP Concur for managing expenses.
The new back-to-office templates and interfaces now bundle with the Citrix Workspace app.
Citrix’s Vishal Ganeriwala
“This is truly a platform story,” said Citrix marketing VP Vishal Ganeriwala, in an interview with Channel Futures. “It provides out-of-the-box things that we have done to bring our employees back to the office. These microapps will be available for all our customers who currently have Citrix Workspace. They can modify these templates for their use case, or they can get a Citrix channel partner to add additional capabilities to these microapps.”
Liz Fuller, Citrix senior director of alliance marketing, said most customers will need a channel partner to integrate their apps.
Citrix’s Liz Fuller
“Not that a company with a technically savvy team can’t think about how to implement their own microapps,” Fuller said. “But when we’re talking about some integrations from an office standpoint, such as proximity devices and infrared scanners to check people’s temperatures, that’s where we’re going to need the custom touch that the channel partners can offer to customers,” she told Channel Futures.
Because the tools include prebuilt integrations, partners can create customer-specific workflows for workplace environments as employees return, Fuller added.
Ray Wolf, CEO of A2K Partners, who started with Citrix as an early Sapho partner, welcomed the new bundle. But Wolf noted that many vendors have jumped on the back-to-work bandwagon with similarly themed bundles. Wolf has created several back-to-work solutions for his clients.
A2K Partners’ Ray Wolf
“I build a version of back-to-work bundles probably three times a month,” Wolf said. “I have a university bundle, K-12 bundle and a health care bundle. And all I do is put together combinations that I think people going back to work can use.”
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the first partner to announce solutions based on the new Citrix Workspace back-to-work offering. The partnership will integrate the Citrix Workspace apps with five “return-to-work solutions” that HPE Pointnext Technology Services launched last week.
Delivered as managed services from HPE Pointnext, its new return-to-work offering is based on the company’s Intelligent Workplace solution. Offered through HPE’s IoT and Intelligent Edge Services organization, the solution consists of networking, digital workspace and IoT services. The services provide integration with HPE GreenLake infrastructure available as a service and Aruba networking equipment.
The five return-to-work solutions from HPE include:
Social distance tracing: Tracking that uses video analytics to ensure employees are wearing masks. Also, Bluetooth devices inform employees if they are too close to one another.
Touchless entry: Facial recognition for contactless access and multifactor access control for verifying identities.
Temperature scanning: Thermal cameras to detect fevers in employees.
3-D visualization: High-resolution image sharing that lets onsite employees collaborate with remote workers where that level of detail is warranted.
Dashboards: Information alerts issued in real time.
Additionally, Citrix and HPE will work on customized engagements for customers who want to create touchless offices with IoT-based building systems. That would allow, for example, employees to control IoT-enabled elevators with their mobile devices rather than pushing buttons.
Citrix and HPE will also work on delivering what they describe as touchless and smart social distancing. Integrating video analytics, the companies will enable contactless building entry.
Besides the templates and APIs, Citrix launched a back-to-work resource center, which provides tech demos and best-practice collateral.
Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.
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