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Interview with Brett Caine, Citrix Online




Santa Barbara-based Citrix Online (www.citrixonline.com) is one of the leading providers of hosted, web conferencing, online remote technical support, and other services. We spoke to Brett Caine, president of Citrix Online, to get his insights into the company's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model for the online productivity market, and how the firm has done since its acquisition by Citrix. Citrix Online is also one of the top Internet advertisers, and we had Brett tell us a bit about their strategy there, too.

Ben Kuo: For those readers who are not familiar with Citrix Online, tell us a bit about your company and services.

Brett Caine: Citrix Online is based in Santa Barbara, California. We're a division of Citrix Systems. Citrix Systems is a Fort Lauderdale company that in 2005 had revenues of more than $900 million. In 2005, Citrix Online had revenues of around $100 million. We're profitable and accretive to Citrix, and have been growing for more than fifty percent a year for a number of years. We operate as a division, and have more than 500 employees around the world. Citrix Online delivers the market-leading desktop access and collaboration Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is gaining momentum across the industry. We deliver business productivity solutions that are built on the model that "simpler is better." We believe there's an opportunity to bring simplicity to applications, through simpler, easier-to-use applications for the business Web. You may be familiar with GoToMyPC, which we launched in 2001. GoToMyPC enables anyone to securely access their remote PC from any Web browser. We just released version 5.0 of GoToMyPC, which is still as easy to use as ever but with double the speed and performance. We know our customers want solutions that enable them to work faster and smarter on demand so we deliver to those specific needs in all of our product designs and upgrades.

GoToAssist provides instant remote-support technology that enables a support or help desk agent with customer permission to securely view and share remote control of the customerís PC to diagnose and fix the problem. Itís a great value proposition that is changing the way companies can support their customers.. GoToAssist is a purpose-built solution for support that meets the needs of any size company, from a one-man IT shop to very large organizations deploying the solution globally in call centers. Some of the folks using GoToAssist include Verizon Online, which uses it for all of its DSL support, Kronos, and Sage Software.

GoToMeeting, a simpler, better way to collaborate online was the first solution to offer a flat-rate licensing plan. We like to say that GoToMeeting offers online meetings for the rest of us. It's enabling the democratization and consumerization of software. At Citrix Online, we believe it's best to enable every business with secure, fast and easy access to the kinds of functionality that were previously limited to only a small number of businesses. Instead of difficult-to-use, expensive software, Citrix Online offers a simpler, better way to conduct business meetings on the Web.

Our most recent innovation is another industry first: GoToWebinar, a do-it-yourself event solution. Anyone can do it. A company of any size can plan, organize and profit from an online event, with up to a thousand people. It's flat-rate licensing plan is called "All You Can Reach" As you may have experienced, online events are particularly expensive to put on, and can cost upwards of $10,000 to $20K. Itís time-consuming and requires expertise, particularly considering you need to organize consultants, speakers and attendees, plus create HTML templates. We've taken all of that complexity out of the process and built it into the application, which anyone can learn how to use in five minutes. The price is flat rate, and it enables up to ten people to conduct as many Webinars as they want with up to 1000 people, record those Webinars and post them on a Web site. It's bringing the "simpler is better" innovation to the marketplace and allowing you to do what was not available to most companies, because of the expense. It's been incredibly well received, even this early on in its lifecycle.

Ben Kuo: How is the growth curve now with software as a service? People have been telling me that the model really is well accepted now.

Brett Caine: I would agree with that. We have seen rapid adoption in industries of all types, and in companies of all sizes. Customers are looking for a "simpler is better" approach. Something that is easy to use, easy to deploy and easy to consume, with limited or no training. They want someone else to manage the process for them, and are very open to trying out software and getting immediate value. That why Software-as-a-Service has been successful, especially in mid-sized companies, but also companies of all sizes. It allows internal resources to focus on business critical, behind-the-firewall applications, rather than applications that are generic.

Ben Kuo: It's been some time now since the acquisition of ExpertCity by Citrix Online. How big is your operation now in Santa Barbara?

Brett Caine: It's been a little more than 2 years. In 2003, when we were privately held, we had revenues of approximately $35M. In 2004, post-acquisition, we had revenues of $60M (GAAP). Last year, we had revenues of $100M, and we are growing at approximately 50 percent. This year, in the last two quarters, we announced earning of $35M for Q2. That's a $150M run rate. We've done that, and continued to focus on what customers want: "simpler is better." That is absolutely resonating with small and mid-sized businesses who don't have a lot of infrastructure, who want to use a product and know what works and performs as advertised.

Ben Kuo: How many people do you have in Santa Barbara now?

Brett Caine: We now have about 400 people, with the company worldwide with a little more than 500, probably around 510.

Ben Kuo: I had read recently that you are one of the biggest Internet advertisers. Can you tell me a bit about your online advertising strategy?

Brett Caine: We've always been very innovative with our advertising programs. What we really believe is that it's vital to reach into the online channel to reach our core customer base. We go after two distinct footprints in the world--the idea of "prosumers," professional consumers, who are IT savvy and knowledgeable about their technology needs. That's people running a small company, or an individual in a large company. Just as there are prosumers and consumers for consumer applications--whether that is Yahoo Mail, instant messaging, or Amazon.com, there are people who want to consume Web sites in a simple and easy-to-use way, for example with a credit card.

Our users include professionals and employees of companies of all sizes in every vertical industry that seek solutions that offer strong security, high availability, superior performance and ease of useÖ to enable maximum productivity on the go.

Ben Kuo: How much competition are you seeing in this space?

Brett Caine: The market we are in is really growing, really quickly. Anytime you're in a market that is growing fast you're going to see competition. Real-time collaboration is growing 20%, and we're growing two to three times the market. We're growing faster than any of our competitors in terms of adoption rate of our products across the market. We're pretty confident we have a unique and interesting value proposition. We always have competition, both old and new, but the most important thing about our competitive position is we're redefining the market. We didn't invent this market--remote access, or meetings. What we did is created a simpler, better way to do it, with our flat-rate cost model. We have a whole infrastructure built around low cost, highly available services, with a very diverse set of capabilities, which is very difficult for people to copy or match. We are forcing our competitors to go upmarket or find new growth areas. We are aggressively reaching into the market to take share.

Ben Kuo: Thanks for the info...


 

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