Businesses now have a choice of another collaboration platform. Citrix debuted this week its team-based collaboration platform, called Podio, which is based on technology obtained during the recent purchase of the cloud service by the same name.
The unveiling of Podio is accompanied by Citrix's announcements of new integrations with other productivity and collaboration services. These include Citrix's own GoToMeeting and Sharefile, Evernote, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and SugarSync. The intent, according to the company, is to create new solutions for distributed teams -- and especially mobile ones -- to work together in the era of the cloud.
'Natural Extension' of GoToMeeting
Citrix had already announced integrations with Box, Dropbox, and Google Docs, and said that the new enhancements mean that Podio supports all major cloud file and document sharing services, as well as several popular cloud-based business tools and services, including FreshBooks, Google Apps, Campaign Monitor and Zendesk.
Bernardo de Albergaria, Citrix vice president and general manager of Collaboration, said in a statement that the social power of the Podio collaboration platform makes it the first to provide "this type of integrated, cloud-based support for team-based collaboration."
The platform allows users to connect and create workspaces for their teams, get free apps from the hundreds of free ones available in the Podio App Market, and extend or otherwise modify apps. The company said the platform is a "natural extension" of its GoToMeeting and related products.
The enhancements for GoToMeeting include the ability to connect meetings to workflows in Podio, in order to manage meetings more productively. A Podio meeting app can also be structured to support particular meetings, such as providing required content for specific tasks.
Podio also provides an Application Programming Interface, or API, for companies and outside developers to integrate the platform with other services, and to build new tools and other apps on Podio. This API provides access to all of the platform's functionality, and supports Ruby, Java, PHP and Python.
'Hard to Let Go'
In April, Citrix bought Podio. At the time of the announcement, Citrix noted that Podio's collaborative and social work platform can add structure and activity streams to any type of work or collaboration with teams, and within functions such as sales or recruiting.
The company was started in early 2009, and landed its first customers in August of that year.
Podio has described its platform as one where "anyone can build an app," even without technical skills, and noted that more than 45,000 apps have been built or modified by Podio users. These have includes apps for managing sales leads, running projects, delivering software or recruiting talent.
We asked Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, if Citrix's efforts to move deeper into collaboration were expected. He replied that this direction is not unlike what's been happening in the larger IT industry, "where vendors in the hardware or the software space need to offer complete end-to-end solutions" in their space.
He noted that, "Once a company adopts a specific collaborative platform, and people become comfortable with it, it will be hard to let go of it."
Citrix has "come to this game late," King said. While they'll be able to "start a conversation" with their installed base of customers, King added, it will be difficult to move customers from an existing collaborative platform unless they can "offer superior price or services."