We had some questions, and as expected, our Chief Technologist for EMEA, Simon Townsend, had some answers.
As a product expert with Ivanti, your travels frequently take you to conferences and expos, meetings / presentations with customers and prospects, product advisory councils, meetings with industry analysts and the media, etc. What’s recently transpired and what’s on the horizon for you over the next six to eight weeks?
Interchange 2017 in Las Vegas took place May 8 through 11, which included the Product Advisory Council before the conference got underway. I very much enjoyed seeing all the Ivanti folks and spending time talking with our customers about their current environments, some cool technology, and how we can all do more with less.
Since returning from Vegas, I either was or will be involved with Interchange tours in other parts of the world—London, Holland, Germany, France, and Australia – spreading the news and updates from the main Vegas event.
Narrowing down to just one of the items in your answer to question #1, what was your purpose for being there and what did you hope to accomplish?
The Interchange events represent a great opportunity to help everyone really start to understand our mission and vision. The Ivanti rebrand had been planned for some time and in January of this year, the business released the new name to market. It was a massive task and took hundreds of people to pull it off. I love the new name, but now that the rebranding has taken place, the real work starts. Articulating who we are, what we stand for, and what we do for IT and businesses is my main reason for attending the Interchange events. I’m ready to tell the world about Ivanti.
Which way are the industry winds blowing?
In Europe, a new data protection law will hit the EU in May 2018. This new law is a hot topic at the moment and people have 12 months to prepare and make any changes to ensure they are compliant. This new legislation needs a change in people, processes, and technology. Protecting data is made more difficult with the increase in ransomware attacks, a more mobile workforce, and an ever-changing computing platform.
Across the globe, IT is also looking at how it can spend more time on digital transformation and innovation to help drive, not support, the business. Many organizations I’m working with are looking to simplify and automate much of what they do, freeing up more time to spend on those new areas of IT that can transform the business.
Cloud continues to be a hot topic, with SaaS continuing to grow and more workloads moving to both IaaS and PaaS. Moving virtualized desktops to the cloud is also a large topic of conversation for Citrix and VMware customers alike. The opportunity to move desktop workloads to the cloud is an interesting and big change. Cloud also changes things when it comes to ITAM and SAM. This change in how assets are managed and licensed is going to drive a need to better understand and predict costs. Compliance will be a big part of this.
In end-user computing, Windows 10 and Office 365 continue to be popular. Compared to 12 months ago, most businesses have now started to look at planning or adopting Windows 10.
Google is the one to watch—moving Android apps to the Chrome OS could prove popular for some businesses, too.
What’s your one key takeaway surrounding the future of Ivanti in the market space you’re primarily involved with? Where do you foresee both the challenges and opportunities for the company?
Unified endpoint management and security is the area I’m most involved with. Users are more mobile than ever and they have more than one device. What’s more, devices are updating and continually changing. Delivering a performant, familiar, productive, and yet SECURE environment across these devices is hard—and that’s where we can help.
Ivanti has an amazing set of security solutions. We also have some powerful unified endpoint management technology. And yes, ITAM and service management do pretty damn well, too. Considered independently, these solutions are powerful, yet together they are game changing. Combining our solutions starts to break down the silos that have existed across the business and IT for too long. Combined we don’t just secure desktops or manage Windows devices—we start to automate, modernize, and optimize IT to such a point that digital transformation can become a reality.
What was your professional journey like to get you where you are today? What were some of the unexpected hurdles and some of the unexpected benefits?
Solution selling and technical sales has been, and still is, at the heart of everything I do. My career started in sales engineering (Pre Sales). It’s the best job someone that loves IT could have. Being a technical role, you need to understand the bits and bytes, but you’re also in sales, so you need to be commercially astute. You get to meet so many great people, demonstrate so much great technology, and yet demonstrate and sell business benefits. It’s the perfect balance.
After being an SE, the logical step was to grow and manage a team of sales engineers. Many of the highlights in my career come from those days—coaching and managing like-minded sales engineers, helping grow our own business and brand, and deploying technology across the globe.
Some time ago, my experience placed me into a product management role. This was a real challenge and real change for me. I had to learn to deal with different types of people, pressures, systems, and processes. Much of this was new to me and yet it taught me so much. Up until this point I had always been field-based—selling and demonstrating the technology. However, this move into product management took me into a world of developing software and balancing requirements with deliverables. It gave me an appreciation and a view I hadn’t considered until then.
After managing product roadmaps, pricing, messaging, and product releases, my return to the field a couple of years ago ultimately became the best job of them all. I’m perfectly positioned between the internal product teams and the external customers and partners. The role requires two-way communication and translation, helping both Ivanti and our customers do more.
If you were stranded on a desert island with a CD player, what are the top three music CD’s you’d want with you?
Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection, and Lionel Richie’s Greatest Hits.