The increase in big deals bringing in larger customers is a key reason behind the appointment of Brad Richards as IGEL's first Chief Customer Officer.
At the Microsoft Inspire event where they are in attendance this week, IGEL announced extremely strong triple digit growth over the past year. They are also emphasizing that they are capitalizing on this surge with the addition of multiple net-new additions to the executive team to further drive growth, especially around the major public clouds.
“When I considered taking this job three years ago, people told me not to,” said Jed Ayres, who joined German-headquartered IGEL in the spring of 2016 as President and CEO of IGEL North America, and has since added the global CMO role as well. “I was told that IGEL is a German company that sells commodity hardware in a dying industry – VDI. But it’s software, it’s Linux, the German part has been a gift, and Microsoft and Amazon have brought new life to the category. Us being agnostic lets us take advantage of it all.”
When Ayres came to IGEL the company was primarily a thin client hardware company, which boasted a great warranty on its products. It still has the hardware, and the long-term warranty, but the software part of the business has grown dramatically, to the point where the company now brands itself as making an edge OS for cloud workspaces. While, globally, IGEL’s hardware business is still larger than software, in North America the software business has passed the hardware.
The software growth has driven the growth numbers over the last year. Software revenue growth in North America increased by 147 per cent year-over-year, with a 142 per cent growth in total hardware and software-defined endpoint units shipped. IGEL’s global revenue for the first half of 2019 grew 47 per cent year-over-year.
“In addition, that 142 per cent growth from a unit perspective covers the period up to the end of June 30,” Ayres noted. Last week, we sold 85 per cent of that number in the first week of the quarter through one big deal with a large retailer. In the last ten days, we closed the biggest two deals in the history of the company.
“Part of our challenge remains being a relative unknown against two huge companies, but our value proposition is so tremendous,” Ayres said. “VMware is growing at double digits and Citrix single digits. We are growing at triple digits in North America. We are sitting on the most relevant piece of technology in this industry right now. As we put investments into sales and marketing, people are just blown away. It’s great for us with our beautiful piece of IT in a Linux OS, and we have the best of anybody out there.”
Ayres said that IGEL offers four vectors in their value proposition.
“First, don’t throw computers away,” he said. “Repurpose them with IGEL and deliver Windows 10, and save millions in not having to buy expensive endpoints. Second, get significant operational savings once you own us. Third is security. Everyone is frightened of ransomware and malware with Windows, and we eliminate that. The fourth is performance. We need to work better than PCs so people don’t revolt, and we do. We fix problems without any tuning.”
Public cloud growth is critical, and a top IGEL priority, and their relationship with Microsoft around Windows Virtual Desktop is the linchpin of this. Ayres said that IGEL benefits from two trends. One is the move towards Linux in end user computing architecture over the last three years, but the other is the massive expansion forecast of the number of people deploying Windows through this architecture, encouraged by Microsoft.
“In the past, cost has been a drawback for VDI, but we hear from Gartner they expect a 50 per cent reduction in the price to consume VDI now that Microsoft has said that this is the preferred way to deploy Windows 10,” Ayres stated. “In the same way that Vmware took share from Citrix by offering Workspace One licenses free in a package, Microsoft will do the same to Citrix and VMware, by telling customers that their enterprise licenses give them access to Windows Virtual Desktop. A 50 per cent reduction of price will mean tens of millions of new seats. It’s an amazing trajectory which three years ago even I didn’t see coming.”
The executive additions are part of a strategy to continue driving momentum as IGEL reaches this key inflection point of growth. This includes the appointment of their first Chief Customer Officer.
“As we become truly a software company, we are building out our customer success organization,” Ayres said. “We are now selling to very large enterprises where our OS is being used for Tier Zero mission-critical. They want to be able to talk to us 24 hours a day. Some want a dedicated resource.”
Ayres emphasized that the importance of the position is indicated by IGEL’s moving their Chief Sales Officer to it.
“Simon Richards has been here for 15 years, and was Chief Sales Officer, and has now embarked on a new mission as Chief Customer Officer, to oversee the things we do after we sell – onboarding, training, and renewals,” Ayres said. “This role gets a senior level executive that represents its importance.” Brad Tompkins has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer to replace him.
Simon Clephan, IGEL’s VP of Business Development and Strategic Alliances, has had multiple new senior level additions to his team.
“We are building out a team of truly senior industry veterans on the business development team to help Simon at this inflexion point towards cloud-delivered workspaces,” Ayres indicated.
Casey Cheyne fills one of these new positions as Vice President, Cloud Partnerships, in charge of IGEL’s strategic alliances and cloud ecosystem partner expansion in the Azure, Amazon and Google Clouds. He has worked at Microsoft, Teradici, and most recently Google. where he was a business development leader for Google Cloud.
“Hauling a guy out of Google to work for a company many people have never heard of was no small feat, so the title was important,” Ayres said. “He reports to Simon. He knows everyone at Google and has worked on their application virtualization products. Because he works from Redmond, he also helps us partner more effectively with Amazon and Microsoft.”
Jim Airdo, who like many of the new hires has an Appsense pedigree, in common with Ayres, had run channels for FSLogix before their recent acquisition by Microsoft, and is another new member of Clephan’s team.
“In addition to the Microsoft connection, Jim has a long history with Citrix and is based in Ft. Lauderdale,” Ayres said. He also joins the IGEL strategic alliances team to assist in driving IGEL relationships with Microsoft, Citrix and key lighthouse accounts around Windows Virtual Desktop.”
Another new addition to Clephan’s team is Irfan Khurshid as Global Vice President, Advanced Services.
“He will handle technical resource management and training,” Ayres said. “IGEL is now doing large, close to eight-figure deals, which also drag services with them, and none of those services will be delivered direct.”
In addition, Daniel Hoffman joins IGEL as Vice President, Presales Engineering, replacing Jeff Feige who moves over to run the 24/7 customer support team in San Francisco. And in Europe, Bernd Sengpiehl joins IGEL as global CIO, where he is tasked with uplevelling the entire back office. More junior hires have also increased the account management, channel sales, presales engineering, and technical architect and training teams, with the sales, pre-sales and technical training team growing by 21 per cent over the past six months.