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Citrix-Microsoft partnership aimed at Azure, Office

A new Citrix-Microsoft team-up is intended to ease the challenges of dealing with a hybrid workforce. The companies aim to improve moving to the cloud and working digitally.

Citrix and Microsoft have expanded their longtime partnership to provide companies with better tools for migrating on-premises Citrix customers to the Azure cloud.

The companies announced their plans this week, saying their efforts would help companies handle the scalability and productivity needs of the hybrid working environment wrought by COVID-19. 

"The end [of the pandemic] does not look near, or as near as people thought it was going to be when the lockdowns started in March," said PJ Hough, chief product officer at Citrix.

Microsoft and Citrix have worked together for decades. The latest expansion in the partnership would help Citrix provide tools, strategies, and advice to customers moving to Azure, said Mark Bowker, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. 

By building a better on-ramp to the cloud, Citrix addresses its customer demand for better technology to provide at-home workers with easier access to Workspace. Microsoft, on the other hand, could get a bump in the use of its cloud platform.

However, Andrew Hewitt, an analyst at Forrester Research, said it is unclear how the changes will make moving to Azure easier. The latest announcement doesn't specifically address common pain points for companies, such as limiting consumption costs and carrying over user profiles and settings.

Citrix Workspace and Microsoft Office

Citrix and Microsoft also plan to tighten integration between Citrix Workspace and the Microsoft Office suite of products. For example, users could receive Office notifications in Workspace or use Workspace micro-apps to complete actions in Office applications.

These changes could benefit remote workers, as productivity software has helped fill gaps caused by the rapid shift to working from home, Bowker said.

"[Collaboration tools] like Microsoft Teams have really become the new office environment," he said.

Hewitt said the move could have broad appeal, as many companies use both Office and Workspace. Such organizations will be waiting to see the roadmap for cross-functionality between the two.

Hough said he expected to see new capabilities and features from the Citrix-Microsoft partnership later this year. He said there would likely be a continuous series of announcements about such changes in the second half of 2020.

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