Citrix Expands Their Collaboration Portfolio By Acquiring Podio

April 12 2012 11:00:00 PM Comments Disabled
citrixpodioWhat do you get when you mix together web-conferencing, cloud based file sharing, collaboration workspaces, task/project management and social networking? Well, Citrix is certainly hoping it's a delicious recipe for the Future of Work, as today they announced the acquisition of Podio.

When I spoke with Bernardo de Albergaria, VP & GM for Collaboration at Citrix and Tommy Ahlers, Former CEO of Podio, now VP of Social Collaboration at Citrix about the acquisition, both executives were almost giddy with happiness about the merger. Via a Citrix GoToMeeting (in high-defintion video) we discussed the chemistry and synergy the two organizations have felt since the first day the talks began. Mr. De Albergaria spoke about how the combination of real-time collaboration (via Citrix's existing products) and asynchronous tools like Podio form a platform that mimics the way people work. Mr. Ahlers was quick to point out how Podio has always been focused on building a solution that helps teams focus on getting work done, a theme I am a very strong supporter of. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Readers who follow my blog will recall that I've written about Podio several times in the past. They are (or were) a small startup ($4M in series A funding) with teams in Copenhagen and San Francisco, who develop a wonderful collaboration platform that I've often referred to as "What Lotus Notes should have evolved to be." I say that, because unlike most collaboration platforms that offer blogs, wikis, forums and other unstructured content tools, Podio is based on "applications" which use fields on forms that people fill in to create content, then that information is displayed in various types of views. Podio applications are created by simply drag and dropping fields onto the form; no specialized development skills are needed. This enables people to create applications on their own, without the involvement of the IT department. Podio also has an application store with hundreds of pre-built applications, so in many cases organizations won't need to build anything at all.

  • The deal appears to be a win:win situation for both organizations. The addition of Podio provides a way for Citrix to become a larger part of their customers daily work flow. Instead of just being a tool they use when it comes time for an online meeting or training, Podio applications can now be used as part of core business processes. For Podio it provides a way to expand their customer base and features via the added development, sales and marketing resources they will now enjoy as part of Citrix.
  • It's too early to know details about how the merger will effect Podio's pricing, but both sides have said that Podio will continue to provide both free and paid offerings. Existing Podio customers should not be worried in the short term about the contracts they have in place today, but should be prepared for the phone call from Citrix Sales offering them a premium package that includes both Podio and Citrix services.
  • From a technology standpoint there is a great deal of opportunity to integrate Citrix's web-conferencing and Podio's applications. Imagine being able to launch into a live session with members of a workspace, or provide real time support to customers in a CRM application. Other vendors that have similar offerings that combine web-conferencing and collaboration include IBM, Cisco and Saba.
  • Citrix says more details about the merger will be discussed at their upcoming Citrix Synergy conference, May 9-11 in San Francisco.

Here is a quick look at some of the things that I think make Podio standout in the crowded Social Buisness/Collaboration space:

Structured Data

As I mentioned above, Podio apps don't just have a single rich text field where you enter all your content. Instead you have structured field types which makes it much easier to quickly and consistently enter information. For example, you can have specific fields for names, dates, currency values, videos, maps and more.

Podio Build App

Task Management

It's easy to turn any object in the activity stream into a task.  This helps people focus on getting actual work done, not just sharing status updates and links to other web sites.

Podio Tasks

Application Store

The Podio App Store provides hundreds of pre-build (yet still customizable) applications for dozens of use-cases including Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Project Management, CRM, Supply Chain and many many more.

3rd Party Integration

Podio integrates with Box, Google Docs and Dropbox, which more connectors in the works.

Podio File Integration

Mobile Access

The Podio applications you use on the web are also accessible on the iPhone and Android devices, with no additional development required. An iPad application is currently being developed.