The month of March will be remembered as a transformative one for businesses everywhere, and Citrix Systems (CTXS 0.18%) was in the thick of it. S&P Global Market Intelligence reported that the stock price jumped 37% while the rest of the market plummeted into bear market territory.
As the coronavirus crisis reached pandemic status and people were directed to stay at home by government mandates, businesses adapted to remote work. Citrix, known for virtual private networking (VPN) software that lets users remotely access work computers and networks over an encrypted connection, became a go-to tool for home-based employees.
The company already had wide acceptance. With 2019 annual revenue of $3.01 billion, Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organizations, including 99% of the Fortune 500. But demand is exploding as it becomes apparent that employees all across the globe will be working from home for at least the next month, and probably longer.
The COVID-19 crisis forced a lot of changes upon businesses. Operational fundamentals had to be reworked, and some changes will become permanent. Many companies will continue remote work as a way of doing business. Done well, it can save a company money and result in better situations for employees.
Citrix comes with established integrations with Microsoft, SAP, and Workday, among others, and it has connectors with cloud providers such as Google and Microsoft Azure. Established integrations mean IT administrators don't have to configure a third-party private network each time a user needs remote access.
Security holes recently affected video conferencing company Zoom Video Communications, causing a bit of a share price meltdown and consumer concern. Citrix offers advanced levels of security, another thing IT administrators find comforting.
I think Citrix is a promising investment as more businesses give Citrix a try during the coronavirus pandemic -- and potentially decide to make it permanent.
Citrix has a long and reliable track record, and the fact that many more businesses have been exposed to its virtualization solutions since the coronavirus crisis began works in its favor. Employees and employers alike are realizing the benefits of securely working from home, and long-term demand will manifest itself.
Although the stock has run up, I think there's still more upside left. Citrix has been around since 1989, and with 99% of the Fortune 500 as customers, it has a lot of credibility. That will carry a lot of weight with smaller businesses who are now making purchase plans.
Citrix has been moving to a more profitable subscription-based model for the past year. With the influx of demand comes more subscription revenue, creating more predictable cash flow and up-sell opportunities over the long run.
Tech investors should do well by adding Citrix to their portfolios. A devastating health crisis exposed many more businesses to the advantages Citrix offers, and I think a lot of them will be customers for a very long time.