Tech Talks: How A2K Partners and Citrix Are Building The Future of Work

ray-wolf-neil-hughes-citrix

 

Ray Wolf, CEO, A2K Partners, and Danijela Nandi Senior Product Manager at Citrix Workspace share how organizations can boost productivity, engage consumers, and empower their people to connect, collaborate, and innovate anywhere—on any application, any device, any cloud, at any time.

+++++ MACHINE TRANSCRIPT +++++

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the tech talks daily podcast where you can learn and be inspired by real world examples of how technology is transforming businesses and reshaping Industries in a language. Everyone can understand here is your host Neil see Hughes, welcome back to another episode in our featured partner seems Citrix ready podcast where we talk about key technology Integrations that Citrix has Within it’s partners and on this podcast. I invite guests from Citrix and their Partners to spend some time with me and teach both myself and our listeners and Scattered across a hundred sixty five countries a little bit more about how they are solving at real world problems for businesses not on their own but by working together and we are living in a period of uncertainty now and we and as we all explore new ways of working and all learning to face these challenges together. I want to further explore how technology can Empower people and organizations to unlock Innovation engage customers and be more productive anytime anywhere and on any device, so I recently discovered that a company called a 2K Partners was creating a future of work solutions for right now problems and they’re helping companies thrive in crisis and down turning which immediately put them on my radar because they’re helping businesses restructure and Tall optimize and automate and power and drive and help them see the opportunities and advantages to break through innovate and avoid any disruption but when I looked a little closer, I also learned that there are Citrix partner and I wanted to find out more not just about the work that they’re doing on their own but how Citrix and a 2K were working closely together and leading businesses through this turbulent time and help them turn challenges into opportunities. So I invite you to join me in The station with Ray wolf from a 2K partners and Daniela nandi from Citrix as we all explore this topic together. So massive warm, welcome to the show. Can you tell the listeners a little about who you are and what you do?

Speaker 1:

Yes. Hi, this is Ray Wolf. I’m the CEO of  A2K Partners. I need a technology and services company and we are a partner of Citrix.

Speaker 3:

My name is Daniel Nandji. I’m a senior product manager. I’m Hang on my crafts theme and focused on Integrations with SOS. Those are all the applications out there that people use to do their best work and to be

Speaker 2:

productive before the pandemic. I began exploring what the future of work would look like and also the role that Citrix and its Partners would play in the future. But of course in just a few months, every business leader is on that now on that same Journey. So begin with can you tell me a little bit more about why the future of work is your Opposite a2k Partners.

Speaker 1:

Yes. There’s really two main drivers for that though. The first one is out of our own experience building Global businesses as we were trying to achieve greater efficiency and greater productivity to improve profitability. We were really getting frustrated that we were paying these highly skilled individuals to do things that seem to be really rather simple and mundane. So 80% of their day was was repetitive tasks and not necessarily using the talent and experience that we had brought them into the company and we came across this approach really started looking at their time and energy and what we found is we were spending too much time on survival and functional activity and not enough time on operational and transformational activity and just going back. This is about 10 years ago just viscerally rejected that and said, we’re not going to accept this. We’re going to find a Better Way Forward. So they put us on a journey of the future work. So it was really out of Need for ourselves. And then we realize that what we had developed and that mindset with something that a lot of other people were trying to achieve as well. So we essentially build a company a 2K around doing that. The other side of it is a little bit more personal. I realized early in my career, you know as you’re developing experience. I he’s just putting in a lot of hours in a way from the family and I was always looking for a better way of doing that that was entirely focused. It was more. How can I contribute more in shorter periods of time so that came together. Where are you little unique company in the sense that we focus on translating technology into business value and the culture of our company is centered around being nomadic. We are essentially able to work from anywhere in the world. We want to attract Talent anywhere in the And we want people to be able to tell their story that in the morning. They were skiing somewhere and in the afternoon, they were developing code and implementing

Speaker 2:

solutions for customers love that right and from a Citrix point of you have you you elk your customers approach the future of work and how has that changed and how a Citrix and a 2K leading them is anything you can expand on

Speaker 3:

their absolutely and I like very much what we’ve just heard from Ray. And we’ve all had a shared experience. We witnessed what happened over the past months where we seen a complete shift, which is demanding connection between employees and companies that are secure. But at the same time enabling people to be productive. This is the point that Ray wonderfully made so for Citrix, it’s a great opportunity to underline on one side the trustworthiness and reliability something that Already tied to the company’s name, but then take things further innovate and strategically respond to these new circumstances to means defining the future taking a stake in it by Building Products that enable individuals no matter the circumstances and I think that businesses Will Survive and grow if they are agile enough where I think Citrix as a way to partner and show the way very very similarly to what Ray was out. Lining previously.

Speaker 2:

I love what you both doing here. And I love how you both moving forward the opportunities that you’re creating on your own but can also share how you’re actually working together and how you actually complement each other especially when building this new future of work.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It’s a first in to say is Citrix is building unbelievable technology. I mean, they’re making it easier for us to realize the value proposition of the future of work and that’s what really initially attracted. Close to Citrix. The other four are reason of selecting citric as a partner is they are the Godfather of secure remote work. They’re used by three letter agencies here in the United States. There’s no one more trusted with their critical business data and access and now they’re adding the productivity story to it. You know, where we come in here is we understand how to Leverage The Citrix technology and create Massive business value. So a lot of companies are out there thinking and they see their problems, but they’re not quite sure what to go use and what to look like. There are too many choices and Technology implemented incorrectly doesn’t really add to the story so our mission and what we do here and how we complement Citrix is really translate that into business value get early time to impact and then create a situation where it just keeps giving back and Optimize around what the business is

Speaker 3:

doing want to repeat the Godfather of secure remote work. I love that. Thank you so much. It has put a smile on my face. I really appreciate it and I will share it here internally with the team. It sounds really great. And so real kind quite a high level and strategic View and you know, what is it that we do together and why is that important? Why should anybody care about it for my side? I wanted to paint this. This tactical bit more operational picture. You know, how do we work together a day to day because I’m in close touch with with rain Steam and you know, we can unblock each other’s directly answer any questions, you know, based on our conversations. I can go back to roadmapping Etc. There’s one thing that I personally appreciate very much. It’s the best experience in very, you know, Market Hands-On approach that a 2K guys have And being a product manager, I can never learn enough about my customers know enough about the market the stream of knowledge that I get by working directly with a 2K observing what they do questions. They ask use cases. They address it’s really invaluable to me / Citrix while we’re you know building This Way Forward when it comes to the future of work

Speaker 1:

Neal just going to pile on one thing and this probably should have been first. There is are going to say is our companies are culturally compatible. And I think that’s first and foremost, you know what we have learned from both no partner selection and when you’re working with clients you want to work with people you like and trust and I frankly what we’re able to achieve together in the marketplace a 2K and Citrix is because of that cultural similarities

Speaker 2:

so important now because I was only about six seven months ago. Everyone was debating working from home versus versus working in the The office and now of course we’ll find ourselves in a time. We’re working from anywhere is just a new expectation. That is the new standard. So, can you tell me a little bit more about the secret of being more secure and productive when working remotely because it’s quite a tough balance to achieve, isn’t it?

Speaker 1:

It is and I think that’s your when you start to look under the covers. I think that’s why you see that Citrix workspace with intelligence is a winning product and it’s up to us really to help rolled out in a way that people can Assume that correctly, but in terms of working from anywhere and being secure, you know, we like to think of this as a Continuum of trust. No, they want to know that their employees their Freelancers and need their partners that are accessing their data and information and even applications are doing it in a secure way and Citrix does that from the time you log in to the time that you exit? There’s automated security actions through the analytics excetera in the Form these just holistic it works and then there is the I’ll just say the little-known feature and used to be broadly known and that’s really what I’m trying to get. The message out is in Citrix has Intelligence built into this which is really the productive P. So what we like to tell customers is okay. We got the security nail, right and I and it’s important and let’s keep at it but the second thing is let’s turn on the best kept secret of Citrix, which is the Option and that’s where the productivity comes in its integrated. It works its will bust we think that is the winning combination productive

Speaker 3:

secure remote work. I will underline this question by sharing an inside something that I read recently where research shows that many Enterprises went from 28 percent of Staff working from home to more than 95% doing. So nowadays after what happened. Over the past month it’s often said you know what? This is here to stay. So this is our new reality just by being Citrix. We we knew how to work remotely and stay secure while at it. So it’s as the circumstances change from one day to another given that remote is part of our DNA. It’s just worked. I think it’s important to say that most everyone was that lucky and I think that’s the first thing ensuring the cavity and high-performance intelligent monitoring then comes the proactive handling of security threats improving the app performance support and continuous operations, you know, making sure that the tech works is something that we’re good at and something we know how to do then comes the second thing the idea of business continuity and I think this this is something that Ray outlined quite well, this is the the intelligent bit the raising the average that the individual employee experience and productivity bit and I’m glad that you sort of put an exclamation mark to this how you how you call that best kept secrets of Citrix. The intelligence that comes with Citrix workspace

Speaker 2:

loafer and one other one of the other significant changes, of course for all work. No matter what rank, they all wherever they are, whether they’re in or out of the offices. He’s notification for to you. I think it’s something we we all suffer with. So how should businesses better manager what I believe Ray you call work pollution, which I love that phrase, but you tell me more about that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Neil we call it work pollution. We also look at it as applications for all the same technology that we have provisioned to our employees to help them is also hurting them. When it’s not implemented correctly and it’s not harness with a platform like workspace with intelligence. So are just so stats to start out with is the average employee has eight applications open at any given time, you know in 10 to 15 windows, which is really just a crazy number of I mean, it just gives you an idea of how many times they’re switching between applications and it’s not as if they’re just working deeply in one application. They need a little bit or something from each one. And then their average uninterrupted time is somewhere between 15 and 17 minutes. Now, you know, I know myself as an engineer. I just can’t get major things done and do breakthroughs in solve things in 15 minute increments. So I need more time to concentrate and that’s where you need to harness and kind of rain in the notifications. The situation we see at most customers is they are focused now more than ever on collaboration. So they have provision things on slack and teams and then you also have your traditional notifications that come with Outlook and then if you have Gmail on there and what and the organization’s just don’t have a single application which wouldn’t be as bad. But every Department seems to get to choose and then they set up their own channels in there and all of a So now you have instead of to notification in our you have over 20 notifications an hour, which is just you know, causing you to get distracted and lose your train of thought. So with Citrix were able to bring that all together consolidate that in also prioritize the ones that are most important for the organization. So that’s when we were able to address the work pollution and the

Speaker 2:

applications for all that done yet. I do you have experience with that as well.

Speaker 3:

Of course I do and it’s a topic very close to my heart both personally this when you’re a product manager, it’s all about the other as be the user bait your stakeholders be to the engineering team Etc. And then on the other hand the product that I am working on the micro apps that or workspace with intelligence as we mentioned previously. It’s all about tackling this work pollution. I’m also a fan of this expression. So I wanted to share a personal Sorry, just recently. I was talking to my manager about these large blocks of work time, especially now in the remote work context where you know, I felt like I’m always on and there’s always something that can be done for work. However, though this overall computer time is as long as not all of it is productive time and by that I mean the time where one creates value is creative directly solves blockers. So I was able to differentiate between the active time when I actually do something proactively and the passive time that I used to consume information. For example, interestingly enough if you ask me where do notifications of All Sorts belong to I’ll put it in this passive work. This is something I need to you know, click around and consume something that does not directly create value in in my world in my understanding now think about it between Email and T messaging solutions that I use and implications does not define me of everything and anything clicking for one place to another it’s all very tiring plus, you know, there is no Direct Value at least, you know from how I perceive this then comes the question. You know, what what if I could extract it all in one place what it I have had way too or what if I have a way to organize it in a meaningful way Etc. I believe we will talk about this a bit more. More going

Speaker 2:

forward. I’m sure we will of course. Another Hot Topic is freeing up employees from repetitive and mundane tasks and not replacing them. But enabling them to spend more time on value add tasks within an organization and that is so important now, so can you tell me more about how low level automation will actually help with that and Andrei if I throw that one to you first

Speaker 1:

this goes back to the secret sauce. This is we’re looking at your time and energy buckets. Moving functional and survival activity time over into operational you can have linear progress and transformation or to exponential or the studies that we have done over the last 10 years and working with companies. We find that the organization’s majority of their time up to 90% of their time or in functional and survival and only 10% in the other side note. They initially think they’re doing things more transformational but When you describe it, as you know, an exponential Improvement to the organization even leadership struggles with them. So the goal that we have is you go in we start to examine what people are doing what you want them to be doing and then there’s a category imagine if you had additional time what you would be doing and this is where the breakthroughs can come through the organization and what I get excited about is every company we’re working with whether you’re down in five employees. Usual place they have the ability today with technology if harness correctly to be the disruptor in their verticals. We used to look at companies like Amazon and say how do they do it? Well cameras on it didn’t start out the way they did but they put themselves on a track with the working it technology partners with the right mindset. And so today everybody has that ability to drive and leave their spare. Vertical as opposed to react the second piece of this is again a shift here. We used to think about automating in a way of let me go out and buy another application. So let me get you another application. Let me get this well organizations now have in the IT department up to 80 applications that sit out there that they provision to different individuals in the company. Now the switch that we need to go to is. Thinking about getting stuff just done so we can you know GSD so getting stuff done. You don’t think so much about hey, I need to I need to drive sales growth and oh, yeah, I got to get that done in Salesforce. I have to get that done sugar. They just want to drive sales or if you’re in the operation side and you need to get an order out and you’re doing supply chain. You don’t say Hey, listen, I got to do supply chain and a plane. So we’re shifting here is help moving people’s time and energy from the Functional and the survival side using tools like Citrix to essentially be able to get stuff done. Now that just has more meaning to the business.

Speaker 2:

It really does. I think if you look at any business of any size and take a walk around everyone’s going to be busy. There’s almost this myth of being busy. But of course so many times people are busy doing these repetitive mundane tasks and rather than those value add tasks. So is that something you see to Daniel?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely? I can you probably remember this this this catchy phrase that we were repeating some years ago all the time. There’s an app for that Andrei also just mentioned this principle that enterprises and companies, you know, you just add on one by one application to solve one by one problem and it just grows and grows and grows. So then the question becomes okay. Now, this is too much this is the the work pollution. Where is the value in this how do I find my path to this to to create the value and you know, then comes the question what if this can be extracted in one place? These micro Flows In These my crabs. What if I have a way to organize this in a meaningful way the word organize all this mess is I think very important. How do you do that? How do I structure this? Depending on the impact of these tasks of what these apps and micro flows do for me. You know, can I tackle some of this stuff automatically? Can I can I have the workplace do this not producing Direct Value where it for me so automating and honestly, I think the question of notification fatigue or work pollution is very simple. I think the answer is technology. It’s the technology that has the ability to shape and significantly improve employee experience. And I think this is where low-level automation Fitz and I think this is something very exciting to work on as a product manager

Speaker 2:

a little you doing a 2K and what Citrix are doing each in your own right there. And also of course how you’re working together to accomplish things, but that everyone listening just to help bring everything to life that we’re talking about. Do you have any use cases? Has that will almost provide a before and after picture of the difference that you’re making it in the real world there and Andrei if I let you start with

Speaker 1:

there are two it come to mind in as we’re selling and sharing this with our clients. You know, everybody wants to know what are the results. I mean is this real? It’s like we love the story and can I get the same results as everybody else? So we’re finding here if applied correctly. Space with intelligence is able to free up one hour per day per employee order of any type inside a company in less than six weeks and within 11 weeks were able to free up one day per week of time. That’s 20% So in this world where today we’re faced with having too few resources either because we’re growing so fast or because we’ve had to trim back because of the pandemic everybody’s trying to do. Do more with less so fits right in with that opportunity. We have a customer here locally in Austin, that’s part of a big multibillion-dollar company. They happen to be the fastest growing segment. We’re working with their sales and sales operations. We’ve automated five operations within the company or processes. So we use the microwave technology to go build workflows for doing five things Neil and after that five we were able to get the Our pro day and now we’re implementing another five and we’re already starting to see the Breakthrough through one day a week and we don’t know where the limit is with this particular customer. We’re doing two additional work flows per month and we’re going to be doing that for the life of the contract for 36 months. So tremendous upside. So we’re also starting to add different personas. So originally it was sales that went the sales Ops now, we’re starting to work more into the Marketing side of the house or some connectivity there so great savings that customer came up with a term that I wasn’t thinking about before but I’ve been borrowing it is rather than productivity. It’s proactivity and for them. They’re like if I get an extra hour a day, I could start driving Revenue growth. I can do some outbound calls and I will say that when you start on this journey finding places that have meaningful impact to revenue or meaningful cost. Things is the way to go again adopting it second one. This one goes back a few years to a joint customer of Citrix and ourselves Applied Materials. Again. They have an awesome gear office in Austin. They are global company with a name is well known when we started implementing Citrix. We went down more of an engineering path and that was we mapped out 96 processes and then we laid out a nice schedule and it would thirteen applications. We were going to automate and here we started doing the the right thing. We were doing for a month and then one month, we automated this one process and it was for non-standard work orders. It happens to be about 20% of their orders and non-standard meaning it doesn’t have asked you someone would have to manually go set that up get it approved internally send it over to the customer get her to prove it then it would come back and it would have to be processed in a non-standard. Way, so we automated that and then kind of not expecting it at first but this had an impact of multi-million dollars worth of improvement in cash flow because process went from six weeks to six days inside the company and at that point in time, they became a True Believer of Citrix workspace. Just massive opportunities. We’re seeing use cases across just about every vertical we’re currently working in. The mortgage industry we’re in banking Healthcare and one that’s picking up here because of the pandemic is good. Go back to school scenario with universities where they want to have a better online experience and make it more efficient for learning. So just tremendous application key is figuring out the right place to get started take a sip before you take a drink prove out the technology and then evolve.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. Thanks, right and down. Yeah. I think you’d agree that we were We’re all saying so much uncertainty in the negative narrative on our news feeds and timelines wherever we go online, but I’m sure you see lots of positive examples and use cases in in everything that you see to it. Can you share some of those?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely, so let me just begin with by abstracting what we’ve heard so far. How do I think about use cases and what I’m observing as a product manager I have this clear idea in my head. Head as you know, this is the world before and this is the world after so the ideas of scattered disruptive sort of hit and miss work experience belonged to my you know, before image and the future the new work image is about organized streamlined value-adding and automated work the use case that I really like to talk about is something that we’ve experienced. Citrix ourselves the whole back to the office post covered situation where we were allowed according to the local situation and regulations to in a phased way go back to our office the day we were able to, you know, go back to the office. We already have our you know micro app and the procedure our internal Citrix built at Up that enabled us to do this to self-certify to have our you know office key unlocked and this was a true testimony of you know business agility, you know from one day to another we were presented with this, you know situation or use case if you’d like and as a technology company, we were ready. We already had it in place to act on it with our own technology. And this was this was this was really great experience. I have to say being a product manager. Citrix to you know, see it work for

Speaker 2:

real if I asked you both eight months ago what your vision of was for the future. I’m sure you would be in a very excited about the new year and a new decade in technology. But of course it kind of proves it we can’t predict anything in this world. So I appreciate this is a very big question. But what is the future of work look like for your bugs? And can you leave listeners with a how you see the road ahead may be a positive message and again Ray if you start with

Speaker 1:

that, yeah, I would say the first thing is we are being forced to prove to ourselves. That work is no longer a location dependent. We used to think work as a destination of a geography we use think of a building an address and a desk and what we’re proven to ourselves is work the value add that an individual can bring can be done anywhere. I think the word remote is going to go away. I think we’re not going to be differentiating between office. Worked in remote work. I think we’re just going to be talking about work, ubiquitously the second one how we live in use technology is going to change. I think not only inside the workplace as we talk about how we harness and tame applications for all I also think, you know in our personalized we use technology all the time. I mean if you think about the consumer mobile experience, so we are bringing together the consumer mobile experience the work mobile experienced in the Since he’s there so that one moment you’re going to be doing something with a colleague may be collaborating on teams right after that. You’re going to be taking care of your own personal Point might be doing a Telehealth visit out of work space right? Just clicking over for your next appointment. It’s personal appointment or conference call whatever. It may be booking reservations somewhere. So we see those seams coming together for both the personal side professional and then the Everyone would be is the employer worker relation is changing

Speaker 2:

quite a bit. You

Speaker 1:

know, we were thinking before W to employees, you know, there’s a hard relationship. Right? And then we have Freelancers. I think this relationship is really going to be extremely fluid. I think companies are figuring out the value of using a variable Workforce or a liquid Workforce. I think individuals are figuring out that the lifestyle associated with being a cop. Contractor this that’s very attractive and these are going to blend together. There’s one company out there leading the way up work, which is also a partner of Citrix and a 2K they’re driving that relationship and they’re seeing some circumstances where the variable Workforce is actually larger than the Contra of the W2 were for so a lot of things are going to change the last one that I believe in terms of the future of work in the road ahead. Is that you know as we implemented the Citrix technology and we do it in the a 2K Citrix way it’s going to have a dramatically positive effect on what businesses are able to achieve. I really think about this and I’ll promote it as this is the next year that’s going to take them that much faster and into the future. So we’re extremely

Speaker 2:

optimistic and done yet. I know the future of work is something both you and Citrix are very passionate about so it’s a how do you say? Things looking in the future.

Speaker 3:

I will second every in single for the tray shared remote work becoming just work in the future the way relationship between employees and employers will be restructured the meaning of connectivity / interconnectivity between people Etc. I would also like to introduce another idea here. This is the idea where the future of work will be built around humans. What do I mean by that? So before if you think about it, you did what you were enabled to do in a way your work revolved around tooling and what is possible what it enables. I think the future will be around humans and their need to deliver their best work where technology becomes the support Vector in. You know helping us enabling us supporting us to just do our best work as humans. And that’s where I that’s where I see the future

Speaker 2:

love that is a beautiful moment to end all if so for everyone listening that were inspired by both of your words today and how you’re making a big difference moving forward and over and turning challenges into opportunities and want to follow your the great work that you’re doing. What’s the best way of finding? You are a 2K first of all Ray and also contacting your team if they’ve got any

Speaker 1:

questions. There’s two ways. It’s a 2K partners.com. And the the second one is you can reach out to me directly radar wolf at a 2K Partners.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. Thanks Ryan. Finally Daniela. I know the future of work is a topic very close to the heart of everyone at Citrix. So what’s the best way of keeping up to speed with the developments there

Speaker 3:

and you can follow developments and strengths. Dot-com website. I can be found on LinkedIn. My name is Daniel on Monday. I can be also contacted directly than yella of Monday at Citrix.com or any questions and further pointing out where to go and where to find answers depending which particular part of the future work. Are you interested in

Speaker 2:

actually so much I loved about the conversation. Especially what you were saying Daniela about the future of work. Wolves around humans where technology becomes that tool enabling us to be more productive and to collaborate more seamlessly, and I think that is the real heart of everything that we’ve talked about today and you’re both from two very big tech companies, but it’s how you’re working together and working towards no Solutions. That’s the really exciting thing for me, but more than anything a big. Thank you to you both for taking the time out of your busy day and coming on here to share that that vision and that story with me. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Hold as much as I did today and I want you to join me again next time where I’ll explore how organizations can boost productivity and engage customers and Empower their people to connect collaborate and innovate anywhere on any application any device any cloud and any time, so if you have any questions Insight or expertise to share, please email me Tech blog writer outlook.com. My website is Tech blog writer dotco dot u k where you’ll find over. 300 podcast interviews and also way you can work with me. If you wanted to launch your own business podcast where you can just record a zoom call and let me package it all together into a podcast for you or if you need help with your business blogs because you just don’t have the time we can do that too. But equally if you just want to send me a question a DM on sir your favorite social media platform, you’ll find all those details to but it’s time for me to go now a big one. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast today. Me and I’ll return again tomorrow same time same place with another guest. So a big thank you for listening and until next time don’t be a stranger. Thank you for listening to the tech talks daily podcast with Neil see Hughes. Remember technology works best when it brings people together.