In light of AppSense.com going offline after the Ivanti rebrand, Chief Technologist for EMEA Simon Townsend gave us a glimpse into his time with AppSense. Here are some of his insights below.
Q: Talk about your history with AppSense. How long have you been with the company? How it has evolved over the years?
A: I officially joined on January 3, 2004, right after I had spent two weeks at the end of 2003 attending the AppSense Management Suite training course. As employee number 36, I joined a very small team as the only UK SE. The previous SE, Olli Sills, had just moved into product management. There was one person in technical support, one person running marketing, and five SE’s globally. No one knew who AppSense was let alone what we did.
We were in the process of detaching ourselves from our parent company, who was still providing joint services like IT and HR, yet we were successfully growing the business selling Performance Manager and Application Manager to Citrix customers. Back then, AppSense was blue and grey. The green didn’t exist and even Environment Manager had not yet been born or realized.
We were a small family of passionate people who worked hard and played hard. The U.S. only made up a small part of the business and DACH and the UK led in terms of revenue. We worked closely with Citrix and the majority of the Citrix platinum partners across the globe helping secure and improve user density in CTX environments.
We won opportunities at Barclays, RBS, Rabo bank, and UK NHS. The team grew quickly over the initial years up to around 200 people, at which time I was running the SE team at both an EMEA and global level for a while.
After some failed attempts, the U.S. market finally opened up for us and before long we had received additional investment from Goldman Sachs. The business continued to evolve and grow globally and Environment Manager became the No.1 profile management technology in the world.
We defined a term called User Virtualization and before long Citrix VMWare, Microsoft and others joined us in a market which became known as User Environment Management—the independent management of the user.
Over the years we became famous for our technology but also our partner and customer events. The AppSense University in the UK is still regarded by some as one of the best technical two-day vendor events annually.
Q: AppSense.com is officially a thing of the past. What does this mean to you personally?
A: The AppSense name has been with me since I was in my twenties. In that time, I got married, had children and developed my career over my years at AppSense. I have made many, many long-standing friends along the way and will always look back on the journey with very fond memories.
The website itself has been through various colors and branding—originally blue, then red, and finally green. Now with Ivanti, we are back with red (and I love the new brand and logo, by the way).
Our site has always been a great place to watch and learn about customer case studies. That’s one thing I hope we can carry over and continue. One area, however, we have always wanted to introduce and improve upon was around our community support. Being part of Ivanti gives us this for free and I am excited to see the DesktopNow products join the wider Ivanti community forums, etc.
Q: What are your emotions today?
A: A little sad to see the name go today, but more proud than anything else. Proud and also thankful to everyone I ever worked with who made it happen. Lots of great times and great memories. Just thinking about some of the people, teams, events, etc. brings a smile to my face. There are some stories I could tell. Who knows, maybe one day I will write a book (and that may worry some of my old friends).
Q: How vital are the traditional AppSense products in the current and future Ivanti portfolio?
A: I don’t even refer to them as AppSense products anymore. I have converted! The products have already changed names in my mind: Ivanti DesktopNow.
The suite of DesktopNow technologies are an essential part of the Ivanti portfolio. In a world where endpoint security is a massive challenge for IT and managing users across multiple, ever-changing devices is becoming a drain, DesktopNow, user and data management technologies join powerful patching, AV, device control, imaging, app packaging, automation, asset management and service management solutions.
Q: Anything that you personally want AppSense customers/partners to know?
A: Ivanti DesktopNow and DesktopNow Plus are the same comprehensive, highly scalable, powerful and relevant products they have always been. Many of the developers I started with in 2003/04 are still with the company today and those people still involved are as passionate and keen as they were back then.
They also join a company of 1700 people who have a great working culture and are also extremely passionate about what they do. While we have a strong roadmap for the DesktopNow products, our user management solutions today now form part of something much larger and much more relevant.
As we start to see a shift in IT taking place, and more organizations look to digitial transformation, IT needs to simplify, automate and secure the existing workspace far quicker and more efficiently than ever before. The combined offerings from AppSense, HEAT Software, LANDESK, Shavlik and others that now make up Ivanti allow IT to achieve this.
Combined we help organizations manage more technology, secure and patch endpoints, understand and manage their users expectations better and, (arguably in today’s world), most importantly, improve customer experience and drive net new revenues through digital transformation.
We have already seen and demonstrated the power of Ivanti Service Management tools when combined with the DesktopNow Suite and as another example, we now offer combined solutions to help prevent 85 percent of ransomware. This is just the start… let us come and talk to you about who we are and what we do…
Be sure to check out the first post in this series: