Citrix pulls the plug on its User Group Community

To be replaced by virtual community and ‘in-person event experience’ hosted by vendor

Citrix has pulled the plug on its user group.

The Citrix User Group Community (CUGC) has operated for eight years. As is often the case with such orgs, it wasn’t an entirely grass roots org. Instead, Citrix funded a commercial service provider to plant the seeds of a community and help it to grow.

The service provider hired by Citrix to tend its user group, Engage Strategies, even published a case study about its work for Citrix. It’s a revealing document.

“Citrix wanted to unleash that knowledge through a global community that empowers customers and helps them share innovations, best practices and real-world solutions and challenges,” the document states. “It was our opportunity to design, launch and manage that new community.”

Engage Strategies “recommended a customer community centered on independent knowledge and networking, for the user and by the user, with opportunities for peer-to-peer engagement.”

That plan worked. Engage Strategies wrote that within four years CUGC grew to “more than 20,000 members accounts, more than 70 local and specialty groups and more than 150 volunteer leaders. CUGC has met or exceeded expectations for growth, activity and budget,” it reported.

But on Tuesday, CUGC posted news of major changes billed as “investing significantly in a unified event, content and webinar strategy for all of our customers and community members.”

Citrix wants to “continue to foster the culture of collaboration and sharing across the global community, while increasing the amount of information, news, education and best practices that Citrix provides directly.”

That decision suggests that the vendor has plans to create “a comprehensive online community experience” in recognition that virtual events have been broadly adopted. The online service promises “No more digging around to find Citrix and NetScaler content, documentation, webinars and discussions - this will be simpler and more engaging for every Citrix and NetScaler practitioner around the world.”

Another planned initiative is “a new in-person event experience that will be rolled out throughout 2024 in multiple locations across the globe.” Citrix will host the events and promises “vision and strategy sessions from our leadership, roadmap updates from product managers, interactive workshops and even some hands-on labs!”

On many occasions across 2023, The Register has asked Citrix for the sort of information promised at those future events. Citrix’s new owner – Cloud Software Group (CSG) – has not responded to multiple requests for interviews about the vendor’s direction and intentions.

We’ve asked the outfit to comment on this change, and also sought opinion from CUGC leadership.

The Register also sought comment on Reddit, where one member wrote they are “Sad to see it go.”

The Redditor added: “I am sure whatever is put in its place will be vastly subpar like many things the company is doing since acquisition. I also feel for all the paid employees supporting CUGC especially after all the work to cutover to the new site a year ago. Hopefully they are not out of their jobs.”

Cloud Software Group is helmed by Tom Krause, a former boss of Broadcom Software who in that role articulated a strategy of focussing on large strategic accounts and paying less attention to smaller customers. We understand Citrix has taken a similar path under its new management.

In The Register’s experience of user groups, members and event attendees skew towards smaller orgs. Maybe CUGC therefore just doesn’t fit with the new Citrix’s plans.

We will update this story if CSG or CUGC provides substantial information. ®

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