An Interaction with ManageEngine | ChannelDrive.in
The organization is putting a lot of effort to reinvent enterprise IT management and bring out next generation innovations in the market.
Sridhar Iyengar, Vice President, ManageEngine speaks with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the company’s growth and its future plans.
What are some of the key priorities that Manage Engine has today?
ManageEngine is one of the key operating divisions of Zoho Corporation. Zoho Corporation is a company that was started off in 1996 with a telecom network management focus. Back in those days, we were known as a company called AdventNet. We started off focusing on telecom network management using platform for telecom network management for building and managing large infrastructures, telecom equipment, and connectivity including testing software. We built a whole ecosystem around that and now it’s called WebNMS.
As a company we have always been abstract, we were profitable from the very first year through customer acquisitions. We carried out our telecom strategy until around 2001 and with the dotcom bubble, we wanted to do a lot more in the software arena. We diversified into enterprise IT management. Traditionally, around 2002 timeframe most of the people wanted enterprise software, but it was very expensive and the model which they followed was that a CEO of a company or Head of IT, you’d have to deal with the sales people first, negotiate a price and then finally the product would follow.
And the other model we came up with was, if a WebNMS customer wants to find a software then it’s easily available on the internet. The product is easily available on the internet and we offer a 30 day trial version and only, if the customer tries the product and meanwhile if he has any clarifications and questions or problems he can seek assistance from our help center. This model was very well received and fresh in terms of a company putting the customer’s experience with the company on the forefront for selling software’s. When you provide software on the web or the internet, it has to be intuitive and very easy to use. So the intuitive and easy to use philosophy has been engraved in us from day one. And that kind of philosophy was carried off in the different type of software’s that we built.
When we started ManageEngine, we started off building point solutions that basically addressed specific needs within the enterprise IT. We started off with network monitoring software’s and then server monitoring, application performance monitoring. We moved on to helpdesk software, which is now one of our flagship products for us, which caters to several customers.
Similarly active directory, security, mobile device management software, bandwidth monitoring, event log analysis software, we cover the entire section of IT with over 40 different products and in addition to that, we have a lot of these small tools or small components that are available free of cost for small businesses. We have around 80 plus free tools that in addition to the 40+ commercial software’s that we have.
And these free tools are small tools that can perform a specific job very well and for that quality, the customers don’t have to pay. So it works out really well for everybody involved. And for us, it’s a great way to market our own software’s because our style of marketing is more of making ourselves known through the product than through sales or anything.
It’s been over 15 years since ManageEngine started and we have over 120,000 organizations as customers. Based on statistics, around 3 out of 5 Fortune 500 companies use our software’s in one form or the other to manage their IT. But in the last 5-7 years, what we see increasingly is, a lot of people have a great experience with our software’s and when they have a need for some other product they come back to us. We have a lot of repeat customers who comes back to us because they are happy with the service which we offer.
What type of customer base do you have?
The products that we offer are for the IT Teams and these IT teams can cater to any type of industries like BFSI, manufacturing sector, education sector etc. Today, IT powers almost all industries and we cater products to IT teams so wherever IT is present you have, ManageEngine software’s being used.
What are the key innovations that you are working on and how are you building these key innovations for the market?
Zoho Corporation has three different segments under it, first one is the Telecom managing division WebNMS, ManageEngine deals with enterprise IT management and the third one is Zoho.com which offers business applications on the cloud. In mid-2004 we realized that cloud software is something that could change the way software is used and that is the time in which we decided to invest in software as a service products for business applications. That gave birth to the Zoho.com division which is entirely an independent operating division of Zoho Corporation.
Zoho.com platform of business applications has over 30 million users on the cloud today. We have data centers around the world and we have a complex and robust set of customers, our business applications cover the entire system of business software from marketing to HR to finance.
Some of these are managed on the cloud by using ManageEngine software. We are the only company that manages the large infrastructure with these tools. This gives us the expertise to think and solve these big problems.
In terms of technology what we have done is a good cross pollination of ideas and technology across our divisions. Some of our cloud technology is incorporated by ManageEngine software for example our service desk software & network monitoring software are available on cloud.
In the last 5-7 years what we have seen with the bring your own device culture, mobile and other devices are bought into enterprise for that we have a mobile device manger software which helps the enterprise IT admin, to secure any device that comes to the enterprise environment – to provide push down security policy, ensuring the security is enabled in the devices at the environment.
I recently read that a typical system organization uses anywhere around 45+ tools to manage the IT. There is a lot of data that the IT teams have to deal with. Recently we launched a product called Analytics plus that gives insight into the IT, this helps the IT admin to get insight into the data that they collect, just to give you an example if you are running the helpdesk and if the IT admin wants to understand the ticket rate, customer satisfaction level, how is my IT response rate. IT analytics software basically helps the IT admin to understand the performance of the IT tools and helps in providing meaningful insights and reports in visual format. This is a combined interacting dashboard for IT admin.
We are able to bring out innovations in the field of IT because of our close association with our sister company Zoho.com, Zoho has a BI and analytics software that is how we came up with an analytics software for the IT domain.
What is your go to marketing strategy for your businesses?
As a company we are in different domains, we have the telecom network management which has now moved into an IoT platform. In the ManageEngine division we compete with the likes of BMC software, Solarwinds, Ad dynamics, and on the business application side we compete with Microsoft, Google, CRM, Finance applications, we just launched our GST suite recently.
As ManageEngine focuses on enterprise IT management, when we started out a lot of customers were SMB’s now we have a lot of enterprise customers also. The go to marketing strategy for us is that the product has to be world class there is absolutely no compromise on that; secondly we have a very good online presence. IT users are able to try the software before buying it and take it forward only if they find the product useful this is the buyer’s mentality. The software that has to be put up online should be world class, because the people that are going to use the software is not going to speak to you directly, they will use the trial version and decide whether they are going to use it or not. The internet marketing is a highly scalable platform that works well.
We have different models for distributor and reseller. As a company, Zoho Corporation and ManageEngine divisions are engineering the products, but we don’t have centers in every city that is where our distributors and resellers represent us, they are like our extended arm. In addition to this we also have service integrator partners (SI). They have a good reach out to the IT users.
What kind of expansion are you looking at?
We have always planted organically; we are looking at service partners that can reach out to the market, SI partners as well. There are partners who specialize in specific areas like analytics and IoT where there is a lot of domain expertise in specific domains.
What kind of growth is the company expecting and where is this growth going to come from?
We are based in the largest market today and India has a huge a potential for us. If you take the financial sector, health care, governance, all these different departments are fairly matured and growing. In India we are trying to move away from the old ways, a lot of focus is going on being digital. Indian government is working towards digitally empowering the country and IT plays a huge role in this. The digital infrastructure is on growth and we are optimistic about our growth in this process.