It has been about eight months since Michael Bosnar replaced Sean Walsh as AppSense A/NZ managing director. HAFIZAH OSMAN spoke to him about some of the challenges the company has faced and the company’s expansion strategies.
Hafizah Osman (HO): You have been at AppSense for a few months now. How has the business progressed?
Michael Bosnar (MB): It’s going great. We’ve grown over 95 per cent since this time last year. We have had exceptional growth in this region, which has created excitement for the business because now they want more growth. There is an opportunity for us to be able to grow beyond our existing A/NZ market and set up an office in Singapore.
HO: Is that a part of the company’s global expansion strategy?
MB: Yes, it is. We have two particular areas that we are focusing on – one is in my territory, Asia-Pacific, and the other one in South America. I was in New York a few weeks ago and the board had decided that we’ve had successive growth over 40 per cent globally and that there were some untapped markets for us to expand in. We put forward a plan initially for this region, which was openly received, acknowledged and supported to grow in expanding into Asia-Pacific. That’s off the back of existing growth opportunities that we’ve got in Singapore, India and other parts of Asia. It’s a great move for us.
HO: Are you looking to hire more people in the new offices?
MB: Yes, with the increased budget comes an increased headcount for both A/NZ and Asia. We’re looking at, at least, hiring three people straight away in Singapore. We’ve also recently opened our Sydney office on March 1. We will be looking for a marketing director in that office to go with the other people who are based in the Sydney office. We’ll also probably look at staffing three in the next quarter for this office.
HO: So, what makes AppSense different from other offerings?
MB: In the user virtualisation space, we’ve got a distinctive offering in the A/NZ market. We work with businesses like Citrix and Microsoft around VDI and Windows 7 migration. We aim to make it easier and more effective to deploy Windows 7 and VDI implementation and customers are now recognising that. We’ve had recent success on large opportunities and as a result from that, we have seen more growth based on the back of those existing opportunities and people have come aboard with us.
HO: What are some of the challenges the company has faced in the user virtualisation space?
MB: Because we are the major player in this region, there are no other players delivering the message of user virtualisation to the market. That in itself is a challenge. When you’re the major player in the market, people are a little bit sceptical sometimes in understanding where the competition is and when you don’t have any in the space, they sit back and think “well, why not”. So, we have to create that market awareness ourselves.
The other one is that Citrix and Microsoft are now becoming more aware of our value to them in the VDI and Windows 7 type migration. But, it’s been an education process for them during my six to seven months here.
One other challenge is that we are growing so fast that I can’t keep up with the professional services. So, I need to find partners that can supplement my professional services team to deploy our technology into customers. That’s a challenge for me but an opportunity for the partner channel. For those organisations out there that are looking at building their professional services in a fast growing area, we’re looking for partners with the capabilities of doing it.
A couple have taken that up – businesses such as Fujitsu and Accenture. We’re now starting to see businesses like Dimension Data, Data #3 and Datacom (the three Ds) engaging with us more proactively on opportunities because they can see the benefits to the professional services team in additional services revenue. If I was sitting up a channel organisation today, I certainly would consider partnering with a company like AppSense as I would be able to build up my professional services very quickly. AppSense is focused on selling licenses more so than building its professional services team so it would prefer to work with partners to deploy.
HO: What do your channel strategies involve for 2012?
MB: Our first one is to maintain and grow the existing relationships we have with Thales Australia, Accenture Australia and Asia and Fujitsu Australia and Asia. In addition to that, we intend to have them shadow us in particular opportunities, training them and getting them up to speed. We also are looking to include a bunch of focused, smaller partners based regionally who have technical capabilities, expertise and relationships with certain customers such as Oobe.
HO: What other growth plans do you have for the next six to 12 months?
MB: We intend to maintain the level of growth at least at the same rate, if not greater. We have been given a very clear direction to achieve these growth goals in the region. The company, globally, is looking to Australia to be one of the fastest growing regions in the world. With the advent of Asia coming on board, they see that that’s a trend that can continue.
As our first point of focus, we will be looking at developing the Singapore office in Asia and with that comes South Asia.