A Q&A with Tommy Ahlers, Our New VP of Social Collaboration

Earlier today we shared some very exciting news with you about Citrix’s acquisition of Podio, an innovative, fast-growing cloud-based, collaborative work platform that empowers teams to build their own apps to manage just about any business process.

Podio is now part of the Online Services Division of Citrix and will be led by Tommy Ahlers, former Podio CEO, now Vice President, Social Collaboration. Podio is a fantastic addition to Citrix’s collaboration business, giving today’s mobile and distributed workforce an easy, secure and intrinsically social way to come together and work in teams.

To give you some insight into Podio’s offering, history and capable team of developers, designers and user advocates, we sat down with Tommy Ahlers for a one-on-one discussion.

Who is behind Podio?
Podio is a Danish startup with a new take on how everyday work gets done. We’re a team of 27 passionate people, revolutionizing the way people work, through social, customizable and easy-to-use software that fits the changing nature of work.

Like most startups, we started out small with just four guys in a cozy Copenhagen basement and an idea to build something completely different from anything else on the market. Jon Froda, Kasper Hulthin, Anders Pollas and founding developer Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen built and launched the product in private beta in 2009; I joined in August 2010 as CEO and investor and we launched publicly in March 2011.

What does Podio offer?
Podio is all about empowering people to work the way they want to. We offer a collaborative work platform that’s social at its core, where small and medium-sized businesses and teams within larger organizations can manage all types of business processes and associated workflows using purpose-built apps and configurable workspaces.

Because Podio is such a flexible tool, teams can determine and structure their preferred workflows and collaboration activities to best suit whatever they’re working on. All types of organizations use Podio, from Twitter, who uses Podio for corporate development, to Atlas Blue, a swimming pool maintenance company in Kuwait.

What makes Podio so different from existing collaboration tools?
What makes Podio really unique is our app-centric approach to productivity. Not only do we provide a social and collaborative environment for teams, we also offer hundreds of free ready-made apps to help users to manage everything from recruiting to product development and project management.

Podio’s innovative platform also enables teams to create their own tailored apps, using a simple but powerful app-builder. These apps live inside Podio’s social workspaces, which can be created for special teams, ad hoc projects or groups of internal and external workers in an organization. Importantly, Podio’s mobile apps bring the entire platform into the palm of your hand, to support the fast emerging mobile workforce.

What are the benefits of using Podio?
Besides cutting down internal email, which makes everyone happy, there are so many ways Podio can improve the way companies get work done. The first thing we usually hear from our customers is how communication and team connectivity start to change for the better, leading to increased productivity, streamlined processes and better overall structure around workflows. Rather than using a social tool where people simply “talk” about their work and deliverables, Podio users are actually completing work and managing all types of business processes using Podio’s apps and workspaces.

What we see every day in our user base is that Podio truly works for everyone in an organization; it doesn’t burden IT with another service to manage and administer; it puts people in control of their work tools rather than the other way around and it allows teams to be fast, agile, flexible and far more connected to each other’s work. It’s also really fun to use, delivering a meticulously well-designed (we’re a Danish company after all) consumer experience that modern workers now expect from their work tools.

What does becoming part of Citrix mean for Podio and its community?
We see an unmatched opportunity for Podio to reach as many people, teams and organizations as possible and bring the future of work to everyday workers, today. With the combined strengths of both companies, we now have the resources and a common strategic vision to take Podio to the next level.

What’s so fantastic about this development is that ultimately our community of customers and users win. We’ll be able to accelerate development, expand support services, tap existing business units within Citrix, exchange big ideas and implement our product roadmap and vision for growth much more aggressively. We going to keep everything that’s great about Podio in place, but seriously turn up the volume.