IGEL North America CEO Ayres looks to disrupt end user computing market

IGEL kicked off its first North American customer event in North America emphasizing their goal of disrupting the end user space through their 100 per cent channel strategy.

Jed Ayres onstage at IGEL DISRUPT

AUSTIN – At the dawn of the latest industrial revolution, the time is ripe for massive disruption of the end user computing space – and IGEL, a German-based thin client and endpoint management software wants to be at the vanguard of that change. That was the messaging the company presented at their first North American DISRUPT end user computing forum here.

“Back in July 2015 at Cisco Live, Cisco’s then-CEO John Chambers said to an audience of 15,000 people that 40 per cent of them would be out of business in 10 years, and that only 70 per cent would even attempt to make an attempt at digital transformation,” Ayres told the audience in his opening keynote. “His message was clear – either you disrupt or you get disrupted. Our goal is to disrupt, and not to be disrupted.”

With the disruption evident in the industry as the world enters a new wave of industrial transformation, that opportunity to disrupt is strong, Ayres said. He stressed that breakthroughs like driverless cars, robotic exoskeletons, cancer cures using immunotherapy, and possibly even space colonization, many things recently thought impossible will be feasible in a hyperconnected mobile world.

“What’s happening at the edge with end user computing also has very immense possibilities,” Ayres said. “We really can be disruptive and change this industry in extremely positive ways.”

Ayres stressed that the Disrupt theme of the event emphasizes this ability to radically impact an industry with a new service or product that changes the entire game.

“Some thought it was an audacious idea for a little company to throw this kind of event,” Ayres said. “A lot of people thought this was a crazy idea. But there is a lot of interest in the space, and a lot of energy about what’s happening around the edge.”

Ayres noted that the event had attracted 35 sponsors at the event, conforming IGEL as a leader in this space.

“We did a show in Germany a couple weeks ago in Bremen, our global headquarters,” he said. “The event sold out and filled five hotels. There were over 600 people there, about half of them from IGEL.”  Another event in Australia is next on the agenda.

Ayres said that while IGEL in Germany is seen as primarily as a hardware company, and a lot of people in North America think of IGEL in North America as a thin client hardware vendor, the decision was made to showcase the IGEL story in North America in a different way, around software.

“When we started 20 years ago, the time was not ready for a software solution, so the emphasis was on its being in the hardware,” said Heiko Gloge, IGEL’s founder and CEO. The software was always critical for them, however.

“Software is definitely our secret,” Ayres said. “In 2017, our software growth globally in units was up 66 per cent globally over 2016. The U.S. is leading the charge in this space. In 2017, we had a 348 per cent growth in software units. In the U.S., we walk in and lead with software.”

Ayres said that IGEL has added almost 50 people in North America since his arrival two years ago. In addition to the San Francisco headquarters, which he said was enormously valuable in impacting the way that people look at IGEL, they have seven regional teams based across North America, including one in Canada that was just formally announced today.

IGEL has had a 100 per cent channel strategy from the beginning, and Ayres said that IGEL has been able to significantly strengthen itself by adding some of the best end-user computing partners in North America.

“Partners deliver value-add which we can never deliver,” Gloge said.

IGEL’s North American strategy is based on growth in three markets.

“One is based on innovation in the traditional VDI space, and we are  slipping into some very large deals,” Ayres said. “Secondly, we are seeing more interest in the DaaS space and the OPEX model. Third, and the one with the biggest TAM [Total Addressable Market], is the Internet of Things. We are already successful in retail and health care there, and are working on additional IoT prototypes. We would love to sit down with partners around IoT and have brainstorming sessions.”