|By Xenia von Wedel||
|March 13, 2014 01:59 PM EDT||
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is AUCONET all about and what do you do?
Frank Winter: Thank you for speaking with me and allowing me to share some information about Auconet. Auconet is the next-generation IT Operations Management company delivering the global-enterprise-grade Business Infrastructure Control Solution - BICS. BICS is well suited for global enterprises with large complex heterogeneous networks. Further, BICS is the only next-generation solution that can secure, control, and manage business infrastructure on a massive scale.
Tell us what's new at AUCONET?
Winter: We ... just opened our Silicon Valley offices and are significantly expanding our US team and market presence. We are showcasing the Auconet Business Infrastructure Control Solution (BICS) platform.
BICS continuously discovers, secures, manages, and centrally controls every network device, port, and endpoint, in complex, heterogeneous IT infrastructures, each with hundreds of thousands of endpoints. Auconet BICS enables global enterprises to seamlessly and efficiently solve today's BYOD and tomorrow's ‘Internet of Everything' challenges.
I would say the biggest challenge, and opportunity, is expanding awareness of Auconet BICS and its benefits in the US and Global market.
Who is your target audience and how do you intend to reach them?
Winter: We are proud to work with the Global 1000 and have over 100 customers in transportation and logistics, finance, industrial, retail, manufacturing and utilities sectors. Auconet BICS is designed for the enterprise and proven by long-term installations. We are trusted by top-tier Global firms, including BASF, Siemens, and Deutsche Bahn.
Our customer relationships are particularly strong in Europe, but Auconet is not yet as well known in the North American market. Raising awareness, with CIOs and IT professionals, of the immediate impact and value BICS has to offer, is our primary challenge and opportunity.
Building on our success, and to address this challenge and opportunity, we recently moved our headquarters to the Silicon Valley. Further, we continue to expand our management team and staff with highly experienced US-based sales, marketing, partnerships and support personnel. Auconet is committed to the US-market and we are actively expanding our partnerships and sales relationships.
I'd be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends...
Winter: Networks are becoming increasingly complex and heterogeneous, CIOs and enterprise IT organization face increasingly complex challenges:
o companies merge and acquire new technologies making monolithic networks untenable
o changes in workforce utilization; customer, vendor and internal data use demands continue increase complexity of managing dynamic, responsive, secure network
o requirements are increasing along with need to be responsive and adapt to; market, business, application and use case demands
o BYOD is raising enterprise network security
- Even as next generation technologies and requirements are implemented in the network, ongoing management and protection of legacy and industrial systems become more, not less, important.
o Need for a solution that brings existing devices and networks under control will reduce ongoing management costs of those mission critical assets and protect the larger network from exposure.
- Convergence of Security and ITOM is coming:
o As the industry moves in this direction, having a solution stack that is responsive to both needs and is seamlessly integrated will be a key differentiator.
o Managing business infrastructure and network security from a common platform will be the goal - selecting a solution early that is designed with this reality in mind and an easy migration path will separate the leaders from the pack.
- ITOM systems from the legacy providers are relying on technology from the last century and haven't kept up with the advantages of current technology. Companies built on leading-edge technologies are poised to replace them to master the upcoming challenges of BYOD and the Internet of Everything.
What is the viral aspect of your product?
Winter: BICS is not viral in the sense of a social media app. The BICS platform is the basis of our product offering. We offer BICS as a multi-tenant cloud, on-premises physical or virtual appliance.
Our customers can leverage some, or all, of BICS functionality, based on their needs and use cases. We believe the best approach is a fully integrated solution with the entire BICS platform.
It IS viral in the demand with all Global 1000 companies and large enterprises for new technology to manage, control, and secure all the heterogeneous elements of the coming challenges of the
Internet of Everything.
Winter: We sell directly to Global 1000 enterprises. We are developing a channels program.
Auconet, Inc. provides next generation Business Infrastructure Control solutions for Global 1000-grade IT Operations Management (ITOM). Auconet BICS - Business Infrastructure Control Solution - is a streamlined multi-tenant, cloud or on-premises platform that quickly and seamlessly enables Global 1000 enterprises with real-time visibility, persistent monitoring, and automated, optimized control across all network device vendors' solutions - past, present and future - and connected (wireless or wired) endpoints. BICS easily scales to manage hundreds of thousands of network elements from a single, central console. Auconet is a member of the Trusted Computing Group and is a recognized vendor within the Gartner Magic Quadrant for NAC in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Auconet is headquartered in San Francisco, CA with EU sales, support, and research and development offices in Berlin, Germany. For more information visit: www.auconet.com
What's the business model? How will you make money?
Winter: Our product is sold directly and through partners. We offer flexible enterprise licensing terms and annual maintenance agreements. BICS is also available with an annual subscription.
The Auconet solution is very flexible and supports a broad range of needs within the enterprise. Pricing is determined by how each enterprise chooses to deploy the solution, the size of the network, and amount of inventory being managed. It is very affordable and competitively priced for Global 1000-level software.
Who are your competitors?
Winter: For security - the network hardware vendors - like Cisco and Juniper - but they manage only their own networks products. BICS works with all network devices in heterogeneous environments today, tomorrow and in the future.
Within the IT Operations Management (ITOM) category our competitors are the "Big 4" IBM, CA, HP and BMC (which cover 80% ITOM market) and all provide platforms based on technology from the last century.
How do you differentiate from your competitors?
Winter: If you have a look at the Gartner magic quadrant, you'd think we should compete with these vendors. But we only really compete with the hardware vendors as I mentioned above. The other NAC vendors provide only a tool-based approaches. Our infrastructure approach is much broader and provides a complete ITOM solution with an integrated approach with real-time visibility, persistent monitoring and automated and optimized control for the management of hundreds of thousands of heterogeneous network devices, ports and endpoints, all from a central console and database.
Auconet BICS extends well beyond traditional NAC offerings to provide comprehensive, persistent, network control for all network devices, ports and endpoints. BICS is vendor- and version-agnostic, able to control all devices from all manufacturers, including all legacy devices.
In the ITOM sector, unlike the legacy four vendors which introduced their products in the last century, BICS was originally introduced to the market in 2007 and was built using modern technology to address multi-vendor environments. This streamlined approach reduces IT expense and delivers exceptional TCO.
Tell me about the story of the company's founding?
Winter: I founded Auconet in Berlin, Germany
- In 2005 we started as I saw a critical need in the market for an effective network management solution for servicing business infrastructures. We built BICS to be flexible, vendor and version-agnostic, not what a particular hardware vendor or legacy consulting arm wants to push. Further, as we are not burdened with legacy code or bolt-on acquisitions, we designed and continue to innovate BICS focusing on next generation technologies and solving current and future challenges natively.
- In 2007 we launched our solution which is the basis of BICS.
Where to buy your product?
Are you targeting a first VC round? If yes when and what will you use the funds for? How much money is being sought?
Winter: It does seem this is a common question in Silicon Valley circles. Auconet was and is self funded and bootstrapped. We have grown organically. To date, we have not accepted any venture or outside equity partners.
Market size being pursued:
The IT Operations Management (ITOM) Market is projected to be over $25B by 2017 and the NAC Security market is projected to be $750M by 2015.
Gartner says that Generation 4 ITOM will focus on integrated service delivery suites, which provide true, functional level integration, enabling an integrated suite - similar to how ERP works in the Enterprise. Auconet is already providing this next generation approach.
Is the company profitable?
Winter: As we are privately held we don't disclose this information. However, Auconet has been a profitable company from the start and its revenue continues to grow.