That’s right, we are headed into another exciting award season where the public can weigh in on the major IT challenges of today and cast their votes for the visionary leaders with the most innovative solutions for tomorrow. No, I’m not talking about the Golden Globes or Grammys; I’m talking about the Citrix Innovation Award to be presented in May at CitrixSynergy in San Francisco!

I’ve always said that Citrix has some of the most innovative customers around, industry leaders that would rival any political candidate’s foresight, savvy and innovative thinking. That is why we celebrate the year’s best examples of business IT solutions in action with our Citrix Innovation Award. We take innovation quite seriously at Citrix, whether that’s in our own technology developments, our Startup Accelerator investments, or in recognizing great achievement by our customers and partners.

This year is no different! The three finalists for this prestigious award have all displayed great vision in using Citrix solutions to drive innovation and IT simplicity across their organizations. They also represent the diversity of the Citrix global customer base in that these companies come from three different industries and three different continents.

Let’s meet the finalists, shall we? And then you can cast your vote here!

Educational Services of America (ESA): ESA is the United States’ leading provider of K-12 alternative and special education programs for students with special needs. By partnering with more than 240 public school districts in 22 states and the District of Columbia, they serve 12,000 students each year in more than 170 schools and programs. ESA is using Citrix private cloud solutions to provide targeted educational offerings to students wherever they are, any time, on any device without requiring students to go to a centralized learning center. Customized, web-based curricula can easily be deployed to thousands of desktops in just hours, rather than in the 60 days required prior to implementing Citrix.  Take a look at the video here.

IDC Frontier: This subsidiary of Yahoo! Japan and SoftBank provides managed and self-service cloud computing offerings to its parent companies’ customers and to an ever-growing base of more than 1,000 SMB customers across the country. IDC Frontier is using Citrix technology to support its latest offering, NOAH Cloud Services, which launched in July 2011. The first Japanese Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering of its kind, NOAH provides a fully-automated cloud management service with an open API, enabling public and private cloud integration and management using a network services interface optimized for the local market.  Take a look at the video here.

Suncorp Financial Group: One of Australia’s largest financial organizations with 16,000 employees and nine million customers, Suncorp has a long history of making its employees the number one priority. The company has shown that commitment by pioneering work-at-home, mobility, workshifting and Bring Your Own (BYO)  initiatives, all powered by Citrix. The “Smart Environments” project at Suncorp Financial Group—the first of its kind in Australia—uses cloud networking  and desktop virtualization to transform the traditional office environment to an open campus-style setting, giving employees the freedom to work wherever, whenever and with whomever, thereby improving productivity and collaboration.  Take a look at the video here.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about how these Innovation Awards finalists are embracing mobile workstyles and cloud services, I encourage you to cast your vote for the winner! You can learn more about each nominee and choose your favorite here.

We’ll be announcing the Citrix Innovation Award winner onsite at Synergy. Be sure to register now, if you haven’t already, so you can join us in person for the big reveal! Meanwhile, please join me in congratulating this year’s finalists: Educational Services of America, IDC Frontier and Suncorp Financial Group. Congratulations to our finalists on their innovative solutions!