LANDesk Software CEO talks up 'end user in' strategy

It's the best way to manage today's mobile and diverse computing environment, says Steve Daly

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For Steve Daly, CEO of LANDesk Software, success in managing and securing your IT environment is all a matter of perspective. Daly believes that LANDesk's strategy of managing from the "end user in" -- as opposed to the traditional "data center out" approach -- gives the company a big edge in controlling an increasingly mobile and diverse computing environment. LANDesk, which was launched in 1985 and has been part of Intel Corp., Avocent and Emerson Electric, was acquired by investment firm Thoma Bravo LLC in 2010.

In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Daly talked to IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant about how Thoma Bravo is fueling LANDesk's expansion, the "Big Bang" that IT shops are facing and why, despite their desire to so, many IT organizations aren't ready to automate operations.

Explain the company mission and key elements of the LANDesk product line. We try to help IT gain control of their end user environments. There's a lot of talk in the industry about things related to the data center and there are a lot of big companies trying to solve those problems. But what we've recognized is that a lot of the problems start out at end point devices, the things that are out there in the wild. Our mission is to help IT get control of those devices.

We do that in three areas. One is around what we call systems management. We give them a view of what's out there -- all of those assets, the software that's running out there, what they're trying to do with those assets -- through our systems management tools. Then we help them secure it all in the wild. And then we give IT the service management tools that allow them to put more power in the hands of the end users to solve problems for themselves.

You compete against some pretty big management and security companies. How do you differentiate yourself? First of all, when we go out there, we talk about end point. We talk about the end user environment. We don't come in with a big grand strategy about how we're going to automate your cloud infrastructure and all of that kind of stuff. It really is a focus on that end point, an endpoint-in sort of a management strategy.

If you're looking at this from the data center out, it's a failed model for management. Because if you think about it, you have these end points and you have these users out here, and part of the time they're looking back into your data center. They're trying to do stuff back inside the corporate firewall. Part of the time they're connecting to a public infrastructure that you know about, such as using Salesforce.com. But a big part of the time they are connecting to a public infrastructure and you have no idea what they're doing.

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