IT integration challenges are relatively less in developing markets, says ManageEngine president

Raj Sabhlok, ManageEngine

ManageEngine, a real-time IT management company, offers IT management products including Network Management, Desktop, Server and Application Management for SMBs and large enterprises. Recently the company announced the addition of Service Catalog to ServiceDesk Plus-MSP, its complete help desk for managed service providers (MSPs). The new feature helps MSPs streamline their service delivery and improve operational efficiency. recently interviewed Raj Sabhlok, president of ManageEngine, to discuss the latest happenings in the IT management space. Our interaction follows.

What are the latest trends in IT management across the world?
We serve a global customer base, and the dominant trends we’ve identified include mobile, social, and security concerns.

Security, actually, may not be a trend per se. It’s really an evergreen issue that gets highlighted by the latest breaches, e.g., the recent hacks at Yahoo!, Formspring, LinkedIn and eHarmony. Regardless, our latest security efforts focus on Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) features to help IT departments improve their organizations’ overall security performance.

SIEM is becoming a key technology as companies attempt to 1) thwart increasingly-sophisticated cyber attacks and 2) comply with internal and third-party security regulations. Users need a way to index, parse and search event log activity to discover security threats and inform swift action necessary to prevent or remediate breaches.

Mobile is behind a number of enterprise transformations, including the BYOD explosion. Mobile devices are becoming the primary point of entry to corporate data and applications, and some believe that tablets will soon be the leading enterprise device, replacing laptops as well as desktops.

In turn, IT departments must respond proactively to the security, bandwidth, asset tracking and other mobile device management (MDM) issues. MDM, however, can’t be a separate silo that complicates efforts to streamline IT management. Instead, MDM must be an integral part of the overall IT management framework, leveraging and integrating with desktop management, service desk management and other related IT management functions.

Social isn’t just a consumer or end-user phenomena with services like Facebook, Yammer, and Chatter redefining group communications. IT departments, too, can benefit from a social networking service designed expressly for them. In addition to providing a real-time communications channel to facilitate real-time IT management, an IT-focused social network offers several unique advantages including:
• A single wall for all IT team members, which means that everybody “follows” everybody
• Exclusivity to IT, confining IT-related matters to IT team members
• A secure, critical line of communication during emergencies
• A venue for IT to have fun and blow off steam

Of course, the above industry trends are driving the evolution of our products, and we are aggressively developing trend-related feature sets and updating our portfolio.

What are your unique offerings to meet the needs of MSPs to improve operational efficiency?
ManageEngine’s portfolio of MSP Solutions delivers a comprehensive platform to manage their clients’ IT.

ManageEngine IT360 MSP is an end-to-end integrated IT management solution that helps managed service providers deliver IT Management Services to their clients.
It offers :
• Unified MSP platform
• Multi-tenancy
• End-user experience management
• Down time scheduler with accurate SLA
• In-built ITIL ready help-desk module

ServiceDeskPlus MSP is web based ITIL ready, help sesk software with integrated asset management module built specifically for managed service providers. It is bundled with thoughtful features like incident management, account management, asset management, knowledge base, service level agreements, remote control management, and purchase and contract management.

Desktop Central MSP is web-based Windows desktop management software that helps managed service providers to efficiently manage their customers’ desktops and servers. It offers integrated desktop management functions like software distribution, patch management, IT asset management, remote control, configurations, and system tools.

MSP Center Plus is agent based remote systems monitoring software designed for managed service providers and SMBs with highly distributed networks. MSP Center Plus monitors over 25,000 Windows servers/desktops, non-Windows servers, network devices, ATM/POS devices, kiosks etc. irrespective of the location. It also includes remote control and IT automation workflows.

Site24x7 is a website monitoring service that helps manage end user experience from a global point of presence. It helps monitor application and web service performance from a location closer to where your actual customers are.

How do you differentiate your products from your competitors’? What’s your USP?
ManageEngine has established itself as the value leader in IT management software, promising to provide 90 percent of the features offered by the Big 4 – BMC, CA, HP and IBM – at just 10 percent of the price charged by the Big 4. We’ve secured that position by investing heavily in R&D, and letting word of mouth and our downloadable, try-before-you-buy strategy drive sales.

In addition to value, we’re starting to gain industry recognition for innovative products. Earlier this year, we were listed as an “innovator” in Info-Tech Research Group’s “Vendor Landscape: Systems Management 2012” report. In particular, our integrated IT management solution, IT360, and performance monitoring software package, Applications Manager, were highlighted as key contributors to the innovator ranking. Not surprisingly, Info-Tech also gave us the Value Award for its comprehensive, affordable solution.

What are the latest offerings that you recently announced to MSPs?
Our latest MSP offerings have been enhancements to existing products, including:

• ServiceDesk Plus-MSP – new features include service catalog, agent-based scanning, technician auto assign, and integration with Desktop Central-MSP.
• MSP Center Plus – new features include integration with Amazon S3 backup and recovery services and with Zoho Reports

What are the challenges you face in the market, especially in developing markets like India?
Actually, our challenges are less in developing countries, where many companies are just beginning to deploy IT management tools. So, these companies don’t have the same integration challenges that exist when trying use new tools along side legacy tools. It is much like telephony in developing nations, when they found it was easier to go straight to wireless rather lay the infrastructure for land lines. In fact, developing countries are more inclined to choose our integrated solution – IT360 – because it has everything they need for managing their network, servers, applications, all integrated into a help desk (ServiceDesk Plus). IT360, in this case, is analogous to new wireless technology.

What is your market share in India in the IT management market?
I’m not sure there has been that type of research done in India. But, I suspect that our market share in developing countries like India would be greater than say the U.S. because IT organizations in developing countries are very cost conscious and ME is a great option for them.

How has cloud computing transformed your service landscape?
Cloud computing has certainly made IT management more complex. Our expectation is that most organizations will exist in a hybrid state for a very long time. With that said, we have to ensure that our customers can manage each environment (physical, virtual and cloud ) from one tool with one user interface. Additionally, there will be cloud specific tooling requirements such as cloud provisioning, configuration and security. We’re working hard to solve these customer problems.

How do you expect the IT management market to evolve in the coming years?
IT infrastructure will only become more pervasive and complex, and so IT management tools will have to become smarter and solve more problems for customers. In particular, because IT resources are not projected to grow in line with IT use, future tools will have to help IT technicians do more with less. The tools of the future will enable more automation of IT resources in the enterprise, being able to monitor ideal performance, and automatically respond and resolve without human intervention when problems arise.

Who are your major partners? How do these partnerships help you serve your customers better?
Honestly, as a management vendor, we have to partner with every major networking vendor, systems vendor, application vendor, and so on. We have to manage whatever our customers are deploying. We follow these companies very closely, whether it be Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft or SAP. We have to be on top of their technology – every version and every release. Fortunately, it is in the best interest of these vendors to work closely with us to ensure good management of our mutual customers’ ecosystem.

Rajani Baburajan

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