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Citrix Bolsters Tech Support Options for Users

Citrix is upgrading a remote support application to work on more mobile devices and will be adding a feature to its virtualized desktop application to give users remote access to their devices from any other device. Both announcements came during the company's customer conference in San Francisco.

Citrix has updated its remote support application, GoToAssist, to work on Android devices and Apple's iPad. The move is intended, the company said, to make IT support staff more productive in mobile environments. "IT is no longer tethered to the work desk," said company spokesman Paul Burrin. "They can be available to help from anywhere."

The company is also integrating GoToAssist Citrix Receiver, its client software that allows the user to access his or her data, applications, and desktops from any computing device. With the new integration IT departments will be able to offer live support directly from Receiver. End users will be able to click a GoToAssist support button to be connected to their internal help desk to have their issue quickly resolved.

Plus, social support communities have been added to GoToAssist to allow users to add social access to their support offerings. The application now allows help requests to be initiated directly from social customer communities where users needing help engage in online conversations. Users can then slip from that self-service support to the traditional IT-supplied support with "one-click" chat access to a support person. That in turn can lead to screen sharing.

"Today's businesses need IT support that can keep pace with mobile work styles, the explosion of devices and the ubiquity of sophisticated software," said Elizabeth Cholawsky, general manager and vice president of Citrix IT Support. "GoToAssist puts all the essential tools needed to respond to this challenge in one place and delivers it all from the cloud. The end user experiences the efficiencies promised by mobility and the IT professional can more easily manage the demand. Improving the support experience for the end user and for IT means greater efficiency and ultimately a better outcome for the business,"

In another effort to expedite customer support, the company it's introducing a new Remote PC Option in XenDesktop FlexCast. XenDesktop is Citrix's desktop virtualization program that turns Windows desktop and applications into a service available to users on other devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones, and thin client machines. FlexCast is a marketing term adopted by the company in 2010 to describe all the different ways to set up XenDesktop, local virtual machine, streamed, hosted, etc.

Using the new Remote PC capability, XenDesktop administrators will be able to turn existing office PCs into distributed virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) hubs without setting up additional servers and storage in the datacenter. This approach will allow IT to give users secure remote access to the applications and data on their office PC from any device. The company said that once IT is ready to move to a more full-service VDI implementation, these distributed RemotePC images can be moved into the datacenter to run in a traditional hosted VDI model. Remote PC functionality will be included in XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack 1, which will ship in June 2012.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.