Years of helping companies implement technology environments has brought Lucid full circle to follow a 1950 industry legend’s philosophy about the future
Jeff Vincent, CEO at Lucid Technology Services, would have been a kindred spirit with Thomas J. Watson, Sr., former chairman and CEO of IBM. Tom Watson believed that designing technology solutions for future decades was the only way to ensure lasting success. Watson looked at IBM through a lens of what the 1985 market would require. The amazing thing was that he did it in the 1950s and built the behemoth with the end game in mind.
Vincent makes that same priority the most important pillar of his business. “Lucid advises small and medium-size businesses. We design cloud-based technology solutions that defy obsolescence and serve organizations for years to come,” he explains. “Sometimes what we design requires restructuring, but most often, we set priorities for the solutions we architect. Then we provide the technical expertise to see the vision through to completion and the go-live phase.”
Every business evolves over time as its leadership gains an awareness of what success looks like and how that success should be achieved. Jeff Vincent has driven the Lucid business from door-to-door technology services to on-demand 24 x 7 x 365 managed IT services. The managed services model has carried the company a long way, and it has been a very profitable business.
Now, Lucid leadership espouses cloud-ready Citrix technology on Microsoft Azure so that enterprise employees can access applications and data from any device, from any location at any time. “We're now fully into the enterprise model of IT delivery. We can seamlessly provide services for five users, or for 5000,” explains Vincent. “The only difference is that obviously, a 5000-user environment is going to take a little longer to build.”
As a small company, Lucid relies on Citrix solutions as a force multiplier. “Let’s say I'm a leader at a Fortune 500 company, and I need a DaaS (desktops as a service) solution,” Vincent begins. “With Citrix, Lucid can be the seller of the service and the enterprise client company’s large user population can be the consumers of the service. This saves the customer from having to hire additional staff and fulfill a long list of other requirements.” He concludes, “It’s simply good design – and it’s good business.”
Such a DaaS solution increases the client’s agility, provides stability and business continuity, and serves as a budget-friendly platform that checks all the boxes for performance and manageability. Lucid develops appropriate solutions for its clientele by assessing organizational budgets, payroll, human resources, and various corporate departments. The Lucid team then sets the solution scope accordingly.
“Lucid has been working toward a more remote business model for quite some time. Perhaps the only positive resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is that it proved the model could work,” says Vincent. “While I do really enjoy keeping service personal with face-to-face conversation and contact, it limits our company’s geographical reach.” The business Vincent initially wanted to build suddenly became a lot more achievable when people realized that they really could work from home and that the Lucid team really can serve them without actually being face-to-face. “Remote operations have extended everyone's reach,” Vincent continues. “The ability to leverage the internet and be in any number of places at once has been a real game changer.”
The pandemic has normalized many different forms of communication and collaboration: webinars, phone calls, e-signatures, and more. “The great thing is that in several years, these remote ways of working still will apply,” notes Vincent. “Like it or not, the pandemic has accelerated our pace in adopting new remote and hybrid ways to work.”
Today, the Lucid business centers around managing the entire digital environment for enterprise companies. Thanks to Citrix digital technology and the Azure cloud platform, the company is able to manage Tier One and Tier Two help desks remotely. Tier Three escalated services are managed in Microsoft Azure. With this model, Lucid dramatically alleviates costs that would have been associated with facilities and hardware. This enables enterprise businesses to be more profitable.
“Our business really is about maximizing everything – the client company’s reach, the power of technology, the number of things that can be automated, how much more an employee can do with less, and so on,” Vincent shares. “If you look at our whiteboard in the Lucid conference room, it’s full of boxes that rank categories of service. There are twelve capabilities that get a ranking of one, two, or three – ranging from security, hardware support, and CIO services to business continuity, licensing, and process documentation. Some of the categories are considered business “nuts and bolts,” and those take first priority,” he continues. “The whiteboard charts show the power of technology in enabling a small team.”
The Lucid arsenal includes Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Citrix Content Collaboration, Citrix Endpoint Management, and Microsoft Azure.
The Lucid arsenal includes Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Citrix Content Collaboration, Citrix Endpoint Management, and of course the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
The team has especially good things to say about Citrix Content Collaboration. “We love Content Collaboration because with a few pushes of buttons and a little configuration, we can provide what on-premises servers can’t -- a much more accessible data set for clientele,” Vincent says. “Believe it or not, an on-premises file server typically is built on something that came out in 1993 or 1994. Apart from the addition of Group Policies and an Active Directory, nothing has changed in the time since,” he continues.
To share a file, all you have to do is attach it to an e-mail, and send it to the recipient. Anyone between the point-of-origin and the point-of-destination (the intended recipient) can intercept the correspondence.
“With Citrix Content Collaboration, you can send a link that only the recipient is able to open – and that’s after successfully meeting the security requirements set forth for the receiving mobile device,” says Vincent. “What’s more, Citrix Content Collaboration is compliant with security mandates across a number of diverse industry groups,” he elaborates.
With Citrix Apps and Desktops service, the Lucid team can tightly control the environment in order to achieve security compliance. They can assign low-cost hardware to users instead of spending hundreds of dollars per workstation. An access point such as a Raspberry Pi device may only cost $200, for example, versus the $1000+ that might need to be spent to acquire a traditional PC. The low-cost device plugs into the network that gets the user to the Citrix environment. The employee still has a Windows Desktop, but it's virtual.
“If anything goes wrong with the thin client hardware, it simply gets swapped out with a new device. The old device is expendable and new ones already are pre-configured. All the team needs to do is add power, a keyboard, and mouse, and a video network,” explains Vincent.
The thin client setup is useful in many different industry groups. Examples might include clinicians that have HIPAA compliance concerns that are alleviated by disposable devices, or perhaps construction or fabrication company field technicians in need of an agile solution to manage change orders or update drawings. Now, these remote workers don't have to go back to the office to swap out malfunctioning devices.
Citrix has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Microsoft. The company’s technology affords multiple VDI deployment options for Citrix solutions on Microsoft Azure: virtual apps, desktops, data and networking. This means that Lucid can reduce its own overall IT costs and increase efficiency -- in addition to doing the same for its clients -- by provisioning and delivering workloads on Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
Not only does Microsoft Azure enable Lucid to ensure continuous service, but also, it also provides the means for the team to have a backup of its environment.
There’s another area in which Microsoft Azure delivers value to the team: desktops-as-a-service (DaaS). Azure enables easy delivery of apps with its complete DaaS solution. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service is an integral part of this, enabling the modern digital workspace by delivering apps and desktops to any device from anywhere.
One of the biggest things Vincent notes as a competitive advantage is the lack of overhead. “Many of us are competing for the same business, but we are going at it differently. The advantage that Lucid has is that thanks to digital technology solutions that are force multipliers, our company operates at one tenth the overhead of our competitors,” he explains. “We help our clients do the same.”
“Our experience in capitalizing on virtual technology comes from two great teachers – failure and experience,” Vincent summarizes. “We’ve employed Citrix solutions and Microsoft Azure to ensure that data security isn’t compromised, that costs are predictable ongoing, and that we can provide full support to our own company and to our client’s organizations.”
“We’ve learned over the course of time that we are not just the same as our competitors -- only in a different color or texture. Thanks to Citrix digital technology and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, we truly are innovators whose solutions have passed the test of time. That’s what I love about this business. It's definitely been a captivating education,” he concludes.
We are not just the same as our competitors -- only in a different color or texture. Thanks to Citrix digital technology and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, we truly are innovators whose solutions have passed the test of time.