Wrike offers a collaborative work management platform.

Jeffrey Schwartz

January 20, 2021

5 Min Read
Hand pointing at digital depiction of word SaaS in a cloud

Citrix‘s acquisition of Wrike for $2.25 billion, announced Tuesday, seeks to accelerate the company’s transition to SaaS. Citrix CEO David Henshall is betting that Wrike’s collaborative work management (CWM) platform will help extend the Citrix Workspace.

The deal follows a year of accelerated growth of the cloud-based Citrix Workspace, fueled by last year’s COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden shift to remote work hastened customer demand for Citrix’s subscription-based cloud services, the company said. Subscription revenue for the full year topped $1.1 billion, a 71% increase from 2019, Citrix disclosed on Tuesday. Furthermore, SaaS revenues of $574 million in 2020 increased 38% year over year.

Citrix provided the figures in its fourth quarter and full year earnings report, released early to announce the Wrike acquisition. Henshall said remote, or hybrid work environments, are likely to remain permanent, even after social distancing dissipates.


Citrix’s David Henshall

“It’s pretty clear that this idea of hybrid or remote work, or even distributed teams that has been so prevalent throughout the pandemic, is here to stay,” Henshall said during Tuesday’s call with investors to announce the Wrike acquisition. “I think [our] two organizations coming together gives us that ability to do that in a way that is very holistic and very differentiated from anybody else.”

Adding Wrike to the Citrix Cloud portfolio promises to justify customers deploying the digital workspace platform. Also, it will give partners a set of workspace collaboration tools that they can attach and integrate for customers. IDC client virtualization research manager Shannon Kalvar believes Wrike could make the Citrix Workspace more extensible.

“Desktop virtualization-based workspaces are by their nature focused on individual work — what you do, how you do it, what you need to gather,” Kalvar said. “But modern work also requires a focus on collaborative work, both structured through processes, and ad hoc to address emerging needs. The inclusion of Wrike, which has those capabilities and is already a SaaS offering, squares the circle, as it were, and completes Citrix’s offering in ways that would be very difficult for them to achieve on their own. There are always challenges, of course, but the underlying idea is a good one.”

Wrike’s Collaborative Work Management Platform

Wrike describes its SaaS-based CWM as a modern project management and productivity platform designed to help people work more efficiently. The cloud-based platform includes tools to structure, track and report on projects, and for employees to collaborate on any device.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

The San Jose company, founded in 2006, has 1,000 employees. Wrike claims it has 20,000 customers worldwide, among them AirBnB, Dell, Este Lauder, Geico, Google, Snowflake, Siemens and Walmart Canada. Over the past two years, Wrike’s SaaS annual recurring revenues (ARR) grew at a 30% CAGR, according to Citrix. Wrike’s unaudited SaaS ARR in 2020 were $140 million. This year, the company projects ARR will fall between $180 million and $190 million.


Wrike’s Andrew Filev

Wrike designed its tools for project management, marketing campaigns, professional services and companywide collaboration. The tools include shared team calendars, time tracking, resource management, business analytics and reporting. Wrike also provides an API for integration with SaaS and on-premises applications, and connectors for more than 400 solutions.

“We try to reduce the chaos and complexity of digital work, so that individuals and organizations can achieve their best,” Andrew Filev, Wrike’s founder and CEO, told CNBC on Tuesday.

CWM Tool Market

Wrike is among nine leading providers of CWM tools recently identified by Forrester Research. Asana, Atlassian, Microsoft, Monday.com, ServiceNow, Smartsheet, Workfront and Workplace from Facebook were others noted in the November 2020 Forrester report. Following the publication of that report, Adobe last month acquired

… one of those companies, Workfront.

Forrester VP and principal analyst Margo Visitacion said the CWM market has grown in recent years. CWM tools have appeal among customers undergoing digital transformation initiatives, according to Visitacion. Unlike more complex project management tools, CWM “is the confluence of project work and process work,” Visitacion said. CWM is also designed to bring project teams and managers together by extending base collaboration tools.


Forrester’s Margo Visitacion

“Think about collaborative work management as work organization for the masses,” she added. “And unlike a Slack or a Teams, which starts with the conversation piece but offers limited capabilities around organization, they enable collaboration with purpose. It’s not just chatter; it’s actually getting stuff done.”

Visitacion expects to see more companies follow Adobe and Citrix by acquiring CWM players.

“We expect the consolidation because there are a lot of small players out there,” she said. “It’s completely expected because people need to work together more efficiently — and that’s what these tools bring. So it makes perfect sense.”

Extending the Market for Citrix Workspace

CEO Henshall said Wrike will enable organizations with Citrix Workspace to automate and simplify team collaboration and work execution. Wrike will also expedite Citrix customers’ transition to the cloud, while offering opportunities to expand seat counts, Henshall added. Wrike will also enable partners to expand seat counts within accounts. Henshall noted that IT and security departments are the primary customers of Citrix products and services, while Wrike’s customers are typically within lines of business, such as marketing, project management and professional services.

“We’re very optimistic about opening up our 10,000-strong partner channel network, hundreds of direct sellers on our side and 400,000 relationships with IT and CIOs around the world to accelerate this business,” Henshall said. “It’s one of the reasons why pushing even further toward end-user productivity and user engagement, managing distributed teams, as we will do with Wrike, is synergistic. It’s the way people are choosing to work more and more in the future.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

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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