Technicity West fireside chat: Enabling a mobile government workforce

At Technicity West last week, David Byerly, Citrix Canada’s vice president and general manager, sat down with ITWC’s Fawn Annan to discuss the state and future of the mobile government workforce.

When talking about workforce mobility, Byerly prefers to refer to mobile workspaces rather than workplaces, as he thinks it better describes the virtualized substitute for an office that not only lets people do their work but also, and perhaps more importantly, allows communication between colleagues.

According to Byerly, the need for a mobile workforce – as we’ve seen when the pandemic started – often stems from necessity and emergency. And it is the needs of employees that define the technology that’s used. Citrix, he said, offers a wide range of software and hardware solutions to choose from, designed to let people access their applications and data from anywhere and using any device.

Working with the government is different from the private sector. Byerly explained that governments are often labeled as lethargic or slow to react. But while getting public funding to start a project might take a little more time, their needs are similar, and just like the private sector, they have to find and retain good talent.

As a solution for the mobile workforce, Citrix offers a workspace that provides access to application and data services that allow users to do their jobs, he noted. It uses Software as a Service (SaaS) and security technologies to help deliver existing services to users.

Security-wise, Byerly sees Zero-Trust as the next evolution of VPN remote access. Zero-Trust, he said, is layered into Citrix’s base platform. They add a security layer on top of their delivery infrastructure that uses AI and predictive analytics.

As for hyperscalers such as cloud giants like AWS or Microsoft Azure, he sees them as one more option – that Citrix, of course, supports – that’s available to customers. He said Citrix provides an added value to these solutions and “anytime we can take one and one and make three – and that’s how I’m looking at these partnerships with these hyperscalers – I think that’s a good return for our customers.”

When asked for his three most important pieces of advice for people looking to implement these types of solutions, Byerly responded that he believes in getting help and paying for it. He also firmly recommends talking to somebody else who’s been through a similar project. His third piece of advice is simple: ‘Give me a call”, he said. “We’re not all sitting here just looking to sell you what we have. We do want to engage and talk about how this can help.”

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Renaud Larue-Langlois
Renaud Larue-Langlois
Half journalist, half IT Manager, full technology nerd. After a 25+ year career in IT, becoming a writer was a natural choice for Renaud. It literally runs in his family. His areas of interest are... anything, as long as it's technology-related. He can be reached at [email protected]

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