IT management software vendor, SolarWinds, is about to introduce its latest Synthetic End User Monitor (SEUM) which supports Real User Monitors (RUM) to monitor networks. The company also most recently opened up a new head office, based in Brisbane. SolarWinds senior vice-president and general manager of the Asia-Pacific, Doug Hibberd, spoke to ARN about the company’s achievements, latest product release and future plans.
What is the role of SolarWinds?
Doug Hibberd (DH): We are a US based software company, founded about 12 years ago now and grew to provide tools to network engineers. That started to take off, bringing in about $20 million in revenue. We then evolved from tools to more of a platform of network performance monitoring. Since then, the company has expanded to make $200 million in revenue today and a growth rate of 120 per cent in A/NZ within six months. We have acquired six companies (ipMonitor, LANsurveyor, Kiwi Software, Hyper9, Techtools and most recently acquired TriGeo) over the past few years and we focus on the end user as the last person we are trying to reach with our products. We span across network, server and application, virtualisation, storage and log and event management as well. For resellers, it’s easy as they don’t have to do a lot of reselling with our products. We are working really heavily with Ingram Micro as a partner in Australia and they are doing a whole bunch of initiatives around storage and putting out promotions.
Could you tell me more about the SEUM product you are launching soon?
DH: It is an extension to our application performance monitoring product that simulates user activities across an application. So essentially, you are creating a synthetic ‘mimic’ transaction that the system is going to perform for you overtime and it will verify that everything is okay. A lot of times there might be something that’s malfunctioning in the application stack or something in the server that is not working correctly. The only way to find that before your users do is to behave like they are synthetically and do that. We will be launching the product soon, on August 17 which will be available from Australian distributors Fujitsu, Aquion, ASTA, Level 8, Servcorp, Empired, Pepperstorm and Ingram Micro. It’s pricing starts from $1995.
How does the product fit in with your overall business strategy?
DH: We have a huge base of customers and consumers that use our free tools. Every time we bring out a new product, because of customer loyalty, they usually buy the next thing that we bring out. That has been a very successful strategy for us and we use that as a way to expand our market.
How will you differentiate your company from your competitors with this product?
DH: Our competitors are split into two categories – the large platform vendors that offer products that are very expensive, take a long time to deploy and have a lot of functionality but are harder to use. Then you have the vendors that offer free products. How we differentiate from both of those is that we make our products less expensive, easier to use and much more capable. Against the free technologies, it’s really all about the cost it takes to configure, manage and operate the solution. If you are using the free product, it tends to be very difficult to get configured completely or maintain running in the environment – so the actual cost of ownership is fairly high. So when they use our tools and got experience with them, it’s always a good thing for us. We also do not do so much of competitive selling. It’s more of when someone has a problem and they find us, we will show them the solution.
What steps will SolarWinds take in order to be prepared for future networking services?
DH: We are always listening to our customers. We have a big community on thwack.com where all our product managers are active and having dialogues with customers all the time. So, we are always looking at what are the technologies that are shaping up the industry, things that our customers are trying to solve and as we see trends start to form and demand for a product, we will come behind with a solution. We rarely build ahead. We wait for our customers to have a real need before we invest in developing technology solutions for it. What are some of your plans for the next 12 months for SolarWinds?
DH: well, we are doing well in APAC. We had planned to enter APAC in 2011 so we opened up a new office in Brisbane. We put up a sales team and started hiring. The Australian office has been put in place to create more of a leadership headquarters for APAC and market-wise, we are focusing on A/NZ and Japan. We are going to be doing a lot of work in 2012 to localise our products into some of the Asian languages, such as Japanese and Chinese. Also, we intend to continue to push ahead with a bigger reseller network. We are busy recruiting and signing up now and that is a very big thing for us. We also intend to add more depth and breadth to our product line, to have solutions for all diverse needs of an IT professional.
Finally, what message do you have for IT professionals who are keen to make the networking space work for their company?
DH: IT professionals are being asked to do more and more. Their budgets are being cut and they have a wider array of technologies that they are asked to be managed. A lot of times they are asked to do things that require networking technology expertise – they have got virtualisation now, storage and servers and systems. It is a tremendous amount a small team has to be able to manage. What they need is a set of solutions that would help them do their job so that they are not fighting their management tools but rather, using it to help them do a better job.