Just when I got used to calling them RES instead of R. E. S.…
Word came yesterday that Ivanti has acquired RES Software in a move that could be either surprising or expected, depending on which angle you're viewing from. On one hand, the thought of RES and AppSense breathing the same air after nearly two decades of duking it out (both companies were formed in 1999, or, as I like to say, back in the 1900's). On the other hand, when you look at the bigger picture and consider all the other areas that Ivanti deals in, you can see that a struggling RES is a perfect fit.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though 451 Research indicates that they were essentially a carbon copy of the terms of the AppSense acquisition. Come to think of it, terms of that deal weren't announced either, so maybe that's where the similarities end. Whatever the terms were, RES and AppSense were in similar situations at the time of the acquisition–decent products with useful features, but with slow growth in a relatively stale market.
A little background
It wasn't long ago that AppSense and RES were dire enemies locked in a never-ending boxing match for mindshare of the User Environment Management market. Both products were extremely capable, but while AppSense had a large following on both sides of the Atlantic, RES never really caught on in the US despite their best efforts. For a while during AppSense's foray into mobility, RES (along with other competitors) was able to carve out a bit of AppSense's market share, but AppSense was able to right the ship before losing their grip altogether.
While both companies focused on User Environment Management (or User Workspace Management, or whatever we're calling it now), AppSense decided to also focus on corporate data and security while RES moved towards automation and compliance. This key difference between the companies is why they can coexist under one roof today, because while there may be some housekeeping to do with regards to the overall Ivanti UWM offering, Ivanti itself has added a completely new capability that aligns nicely with the other, non-UWM products that they currently offer.
Plus, since AppSense and RES had separate customer bases (it's hard to find a company that used both at the same time), Ivanti automatically has an influx of new customers. RES also had a large, dedicated channel that will surely come in handy.
Ivanti going forward
Looking at the information Ivanti released around the acquisition, it's clear that automation is important to them. RES ONE Automation is a very nice product, and serves as a sort of backbone for the other products in the RES ONE Enterprise suite. For example, admins have the ability to streamline otherwise complicated tasks into simple workflows. Users can have a self-service portal for certain things (like increasing the size of their mailboxes or installing applications), while admins can create workflows to, say, automate the onboarding or offboarding of an employee or contractor.
Today, those processes can take a significant amount of time from multiple departments if done manually, and RES has put a lot of resources into making a product that can streamline the entire operation down to a few clicks. In short, RES ONE Automation allows you to create workflows that pull together disparate systems on-premises and in the cloud to accomplish tasks automatically and save lots of time.
So how does this fit into Ivanti? Are they simply entering the automation business now?
Surely it will be business as usual for the time being, but when you consider that Ivanti now sells products in the Security, Reporting & Analytics, Asset Management, Mobility, Service Management, and User Environment Management areas, not to mention all the different things HEAT can do, you can start to see that what RES brings to the table might just be the backbone that pulls it all together.
Ivanti wants to add automation as a way of eliminating management silos within IT departments. They also want to make it easier to integrate their products with customers' existing, non-Ivanti, systems–something that RES is already good at doing. When you also factor in the security, compliance, and identity products that RES makes and how those fit in with what Ivanti already does, it all lines up nicely.
The bottom line here is that this is a really smart move by Ivanti, and I'm excited to see where they go with it. Plus, considering that two of my favorite Product Managers (Ivanti's VP of Product Management Jon Rolls, formerly of AppSense) and Pete Downing (currently RES' Director of Product Management, but he was the PM for Provisioning Services back in his Citrix days) are together under one roof, I'll have a lot to talk about the next time I see them.