Rajesh Ganesan, ManageEngine’s President, placed the company’s own substantial evolution within the evolution of the IT business as a whole, summing up how they got to where they are, and indicating where they are going.
TORONTO – On Wednesday, Indian enterprise IT management company ManageEngine kicked off their two day Toronto User Conference at the Hilton Toronto. With COVID having disrupted things, it is the first time the event has been held in Toronto in four years. Rajesh Ganesan, president of ManageEngine, updated the company’s progress and discussed where they see the future of work evolving.
ManageEngine is part of the same company as Zoho, and actually predates it, having had their first product come out in 2002, while Zoho’s came out first in 2005. The overarching company that owns them both was eventually named Zoho Corporation because Zoho had become the better known brand. The difference between them is that ManageEngine was focused on the IT organization while Zoho targeted business users in organizations.
“ManageEngine’s first product managed the health of the network, and when we encountered our first recession in 2001, we began to pivot to come up with products for IT teams,” Ganesan said. “That is where our IT Service Management came from, and it is still going strong. But in the last 10 years, with the movement to the cloud, you didn’t worry so much about the health of infrastructure. Customers needed a different kind of management, which was cybersecurity. We still sell to the CIO organization, but have added vulnerability management, automated patch management, and more recently ransomware and identity management around identity security and device security. We are still an IT management company, where we focus more on the IT aspect of security. We are not a full-blown cybersecurity vendor.”
Ganesan said that the move into security reflected a long-term investment strategy.
“I would love to say that we are always in a position to catch a trend early, but usually we react,” he said. “We are in the game for the long term, however. From 2002-2018, we had core products for IT service management and operations management, but we were also investing in endpoint management. It was not an instant success for us, but we knew it would have its relevance, and that took place in 2018-2019 with the pandemic, where managing and securing endpoints became a top priority. We didn’t predict that. But we do invest in products we believe will have relevance in the future, and do things like repurposing the business management platform from Zoho for our IT clients. These are investments we keep making, for success later.”
Ganesan said that the products themselves have become secondary to the experience.
“When I started in this business myself, I used to think and speak product,” he said. “Now I don’t, because our customers don’t. They are fire fighting all day. They want solutions to problems. A lot of our customers wouldn’t even want specific product names. We have 60 plus products, and it’s hard to keep track of all that.”
This is one way that the future of work has been constantly changing, which Ganesan said was a major reality of the last 3-4 years.
“Mobile adoption has risen significantly, with 97% of employees saying they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their career,” he said. “Teams are now more self organizing. Innovation has changed going from the top down to a more democratic approach. Expectations are now all around to do more complex and creative work. Resilience has become a strong business differentiator.”
This has changed the strategic position of IT.
“IT is now in a unique position to influence business in ways we never had before, as organizations transform into digital enterprises,” Ganesan stated. “We originally created simple tools like help desk for business. Then it became a suite of digital enterprises.”
Ganesan said that ManageEngine’s model is that going forward, organizations need to understand a model of the interaction between workforce, workplace, and workloads.
“Anyone in a digital business is part of the workforce, including contractors and partners,” he indicated. “Workplace now means working from wherever you are. Workloads are what gets done by your workforce from any workplace.”
The keys to success in this model are to provide a consistent experience across every digital medium, enable mobility without compromising in security, enhance productivity by removing barriers to work and respond to threats.
“We have a single platform to provide all of this,” Ganesan said. “The products are independent but we provide a single unified platform.” Endpoint Central provides that unified endpoint management and security solution.
One of ManageEngine’s goals this year is to get 100% of their portfolio available in the cloud. They are close to that now.
“All the ITSM and ITOPS are on the cloud, as is most of the security,” Ganesan said. “The only missing piece is Privilege Account Management on the cloud. About 85% is already on the cloud. While initially traction was very slow, the cloud is now growing much faster than on prem products – about 4x. People don’t want on-prem infrastructure growing in complexity.”
Canada plays a key role in driving all this forward.
“Canada is fourth for us globally in terms of customer revenue, with 30% year over year revenue growth in 2022,” Ganesan said. “It is a very strategic market for us.”
This growth led ManageEngine to launch data centres in Toronto and Montreal in February 2023, doubling its North American data capacity. Before this, Canadian customers had their data stored by United States data centres in Washington and Texas.
ManageEngine has a channel-centric Go-to-Market strategy, and while the Canadian channel was originally built up around the ITSM and ITOPS business, it is still the core of their channel.
“For now, we are going with the same set of partners,” said Sekar Subramanian, Regional Director, ManageEngine. “They fall into three groups. One is fulfillment partners who mainly sell boxes. Another is consultants who do lead generation. We only have on in Canada, but they have been with us for twelve years. The third group is SIs, with a focus on the global SIs. They started picking us up and pushed us where there was an opportunity.”
“We started with the big Indian SIs first, and have travelled with them across the world,” Ganesan noted.