Citrix products have always been my favorite to work with, and I have always recommended and pushed them in every company I have worked for or consulted for. Everywhere I go, everyone is always impressed when they find out I am skilled in Citrix products, so Citrix has done a pretty good job building a respectable name for itself in the industry. However, I have feared for a while now that this image may be changing in the eyes of many.
For example, Citrix certifications have always been very highly respected in the industry, but Citrix never really pushed the certifications or supported those people that were pushing for its certifications. Citrix has continuously made it harder for publishers and authors to write and develop products which at the end of the day will ensure Citrix gets the lion’s share of the market in which they are competing.
An example of this has been the way Citrix is constantly changing the Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) requirements. They had changed the requirements in November to add FR3’s new features and now they are changing them again to address the MPS 3.0 changes. This sort of flip-flopping frustrates the certification seeker—no one wants to study again for the certification a few months after they have had it. Now granted Citrix is not expiring the previous certification status but one feels like his skills are already outdated. There is no reason to make an exam for every Feature Release. There is no point. I can understand if within the product cycle they have one update after the initial release of the software, maybe and only maybe if the Feature Release holds enough features and new technology to justify it. Otherwise, my opinion is one exam for one product line.
Microsoft does not update their certification every time there is a new service pack release. I am not saying Citrix should copy what Microsoft does, but I am suggesting Citrix learns and improves. I for one never want to see Citrix Certification depreciate in value and as such am asking Citrix Systems through this editorial to formulate a better and smarter strategy for its certification paths. A certified Citrix Administrator is also indirectly a Citrix salesman. Citrix should help people get certified, help publishers and authors write about Citrix products, and not complicate things and try and do everything internally.
Why should someone pass an eLearning course at Citrix online education to become CCA certified? Why does Citrix add this stumbling block that may discourage a potential candidate from pursuing the CCA certification? Why not let industry professionals and seasoned experts say the products are great?
Citrix should also act now to improve MetaFrame and constantly keep it ahead of the game in the server-based computing market. Microsoft is positioning Terminal Server to take over, and even though Terminal Server is not ready to replace MetaFrame in the enterprise yet, I fear that it will take over if Citrix does not start doing something about it. Citrix should not wait until Terminal Server is ready to replace MetaFrame before acting. Many of us have learned to love Citrix products and we want to continue to use them six or seven years from now, so we ask Citrix to take necessary steps to ensure MetaFrame supremacy in the server-based computing market and to consume the reputation of MetaFrame to the fullest. There are many things Citrix can do. Solve the printing issue once and for all with a better solution that the Universal Print Driver, get a solution that will negate the need for third party software. Revolutionize performance by buying or coming up with a better way to shape application performance.
Today I was browsing Certcities.com and saw this brief news story that inspired me to write this editorial. Even though the short news release does not have much to say, I felt it was written in a frustrated way as if the author is saying “Citrix does it again, they are changing the CCA requirements.” You can just feel the frustration of the author. Why does Citrix do this?
I for one am asking Citrix to first stabilize the certification requirements for all certifications and don’t introduce a new requirement with every Feature Release. There is no point to this and you frustrate the certification candidate. Citrix should create one certification for every product that lasts through the product life cycle.
Second, drop the eLearning online course from the certification requirements. Why should we go through a Citrix eLearning course? Does Microsoft do that? Does Cisco do that? Make that optional not required. Citrix should encourage people to learn the products, not show them how difficult and complicated it is.
Third, don’t try and do everything yourselves. Third party opinions count and are sometimes more credible than the company selling the product. Encourage publishers and authors to create material for your products by relaxing your requirements. This is marketing for you and enhances your position in the market.
Fourth, continue to innovate with MetaFrame Presentation Server. We don’t want to see a strong competitor in Terminal Server anytime soon. Study your licensing prices and develop a strategy for how Presentation Server will remain king in the server-based computing market.
I hope to see some changes at Citrix sometime soon. We expect Citrix to continue to impress us on all levels and we care for the products we have come to work with and enjoy. We don’t want to see Citrix products go away or be consumed and we’re asking the company to act. We see problems and we are criticizing, not for the sake of criticizing, but for the sake of change for the better from people who work with the products day in and day out and who want to see them grow and grow.