Gimme That Remote (Support)!

During a time in which the onus is on companies to provide more value to consumers and demonstrate that customer service has not fallen by the wayside despite the economic recession, the demand for remote-support software continues to intensify. According to research from Framingham, Mass.–based research firm IDC, the clientless remote-support market is projected to expand from $126.1 million in 2007 to $335.7 million by 2012, a compound annual growth rate of 21.6 percent.

Citrix Online, a division of Santa Barbara, Calif.–based application delivery infrastructure provider Citrix Systems, looks to take advantage of this growing market need with the latest iteration of its remote-support solution, GoToAssist Corporate, which is primarily geared toward enterprises with multi-agent support teams and internal information technology (IT) groups of at least 500 employees.

Gretchen Nemechek, product marketing manager for GoToAssist Corporate, says adoption is driven by the convergence of support and services along with an increasingly distributed workforce. "It's more difficult to support remote employees using traditional tools than it used to [be]," she says. "The buyers are really focused on using remote-support tools to provide services over the Internet…as opposed to always requiring an engineer to go onsite for installations, implementations, and counseling."

Important new enhancements in GoToAssist Corporate include:

  • support for both Macintosh and PC users, which expands a company's reach in either a B2B or B2C environment;
  • the ability to handle users with multiple monitors, including a map showing the multiple monitors, the resolution of each screen, and immediate indication of any changes on any of the screens;
  • an onscreen chat capability, which solidifies the product's global reach; and
  • the ability to automayically reboot and reconnect into session while in Safe Mode, allowing the delivery of remote support without requiring an end user to be chained to his desk.

Citing company research showing that GoToAssist Corporate hosted more than 29 million support sessions in 2008, Nemechek believes this newest offering will help deepen Citrix's existing footprint in the remote-support space. Every new release of the product, she notes, must be able to scale effectively. "We have to have a bulletproof product," she stresses. "Everything we've done here ensures we continue to deliver to that market and remain competitive."

Fred Broussard, research director at IDC, says Citrix Online has taken great care to focus on application delivery, which is extremely important. "When you think about it, it makes sense given the focus on ensuring the application is stable, and up and running in any location you want," he says.

He goes on to explain that the remote-support industry is still an important part of what corporate-technology organizations provide, despite the other large trends including server virtualization, consolidation, and cloud computing. "At the end of the day, this market niche is still going strong," he says. "These tools will save you money over actually having to visit a desktop. Also, if you can take control of someone's machine remotely and fix a problem in 30 seconds, you've made your workload easier, [and] certainly solved the end user's problem -- that's what makes it compelling as well."

Broussard maintains the ultimate measure of success will be how well the new version sells, particularly in today's economy. "One of the proofs of the pudding is to see how broadly adopted this is by the customer during this time," he says. "This will be a telling quarter."

[For more on CRM amid the economic downturn, see the February 2009 edition of CRM magazine, The Recession Issue.]

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.


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