Is Citrix An Appropriate Solution?
Posted on 2005-05-10
I'm not an IT professional, just the most computer-savvy user in my department.
My group provides technical support (for lab chemistries and instruments) as well as sales support by phone. Currently, they are networked on a traditional LAN with NT servers. We have many legacy applications, including a sales database on an AS400 server. This is due to be changed this year to an Oracle database on an NT server.
On a day to day basis, I typically have 22 windows open on my taskbar (sometimes more), several of those are different applications including Outlook, Excel, Word, Adobe Acrobat, several browser windows, about 5 esoteric or proprietary applications, and need the ability to browse through (or "explore" in MS parlance) several directories on 2 different share drives in order to locate and provide information to our clients quickly. Our challenge on the phone is to be able to find our resources quickly enough to stay ahead of the customer while they're talking with us on the phone. Often, we need to be able to fax, print, or email the clients the documents we're referencing. There is a LOT of cut and pasting that is necessary in order to send smaller chunks of specific information from larger, scanned documents. We use Right Fax for our fax applications.
I've used Citrix in the past as a remote solution. At that time, I also used it locally, but only as The company wants our department to move to this as a local solution, presumably to smooth the way for the IT department. None of our group ever works remotely. We're in a call-center and must work from our particular location which is already wired for LAN, and already has desktop PC's.
Another part of our call center has several users already on Citrix. They are getting the whole desktop from the server and just have the thin box at their physical location. These users do not have to provide tech support, only sales and order-taking. They are already having considerable problems with the few applications they do use.
From a management standpoint, I understand why IT wants to move everybody to a thin client setup. There's also the advantage of having automatic upgrades and better security in an environment that has intelligent users that are just not computer-savvy. However, as a user, I'm concerned about performance. We can't afford crashes, lock-ups, slow response, or printing problems. We must be able to use multiple sessions of several programs.
So, is Citrix an appropriate solution for our department? What are some things I need to get from IT to decide?