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ManageEngine: How it can help Malaysian Businesses

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

On 1 September 2021, Enterprise IT News (EITN) had a virtual interview with Arun Kumar, Regional Director for ManageEngine, a suite of software, applications and solutions which lets businesses Monitor, manage, and secure their IT infrastructure with enterprise-grade solutions built from the ground up.

During the interview, we sought to find out more about what ManageEngine does and how it has and can help Malaysian businesses.

Arun Kumar begins by introducing himself and ManageEngine.

Arun Kumar: I’m the Regional Director for ManageEngine, division of Zoho Corporation. I take care of UK, Europe and Asia Pacific markets for business development and channel partner managing channel partner management for managing the division of Zoho Corporation.

I am currently based out of our research and development (R&D) headquarters (Chennai) in India. Zoho corporation is the parent company. We have three major divisions – WebNMS, ManageEngine and Zoho.

We are in the business since 1996. Back then, one of the core products we had was WebNMS (Network Management System). And the second division is ManageEngine. And the third one is Zoho.

One of the core and main important products we had into the market was WebNMS, which is a network management platform, specifically focused towards large telecom vendors like Nokia, Siemens or Motorola Ericsson. So basically, they take the platform, customize the product, to monitor and manage their specific devices, and bundle it as part of the offering to their end customers. That’s where we started the business way back a couple of decades ago.

Today, WebNMS has been changed to an IoT technology. When I say IoT platform, anything in terms of non IoT device management, let’s say cell tower monitoring, ATM machines, monitoring our Smart City management, or power management. These are the things that WebNMS technology as an IoT platform does the management and monitoring.

The second division which I work for is ManageEngine, which offers over 50 products in IT infrastructure management.

There are six major verticals management in place today, under IT infrastructure management.

First vertical we take care of is IT Service Management, which is more towards managing employees and assets they use in the organization. That is one vertical we play with.

Second is IT operations management, which is where your core monitoring and management capabilities for business-critical devices like your server, network devices, like your routers, switches, applications, comes into picture.

Third is endpoint management, which is into management and security of your endpoint devices, like your laptops, desktops, mobile devices, more into patch management, remote control software asset management, vulnerability management, mobile device management and all.

Fourth vertical we play into Windows Active Directory and identity access management. So, which is more into managing your users in terms of management auditing reporting perspective.

Fifth vertical we play into security, where we offer products and ESA privileged password management and all.

And the last vertical, we play in ManageEngine is into business analytics. Business analytics software from ManageEngine works out of the box within ManageEngine products in terms of giving dashboards or reports on the data, as well as it works with third party applications as well.

Third division is Zoho.com which offers over 50 plus applications on the cloud. If you want to run a business operation, we offer end to end cloud products. On the front end, it could be a CRM software, or a customer support software, or a marketing automation tool, or on the back end products for your HR, finance, accounts, inventory, or products to talk between teams in terms of collaboration, we have the whole suite of products under Zoho.

Zoho offers over 50 plus applications completely on the cloud. ManageEngine offers over 50 plus products, both on premise as well as on the cloud. We have around 60 million users using our Zoho suite of products across the globe. ManageEngine has around 200,000 customers using our products.

We are a global organization having the R&D HQ based out of India. The global HQ is based out of USA. We do have operations at regional level. We have an office in Singapore, Australia, Japan, China, Europe and Latin America as well.

EITN: With regards to ManageEngine in particular, do you target any specific industry segment? For example, are you going for the big enterprises or SMEs or government?

Arun Kumar: ManageEngine is industry agnostic. Any organization, which has the IT infrastructure, and they wan to do the monitoring and management, they are our potential customers. We cater to all verticals, be it government, or banking and finance, or education or healthcare, or retail, all of them are potential ManageEngine customers.

EITN: What has ManageEngine done / can do specially to help Malaysian customers such as government enterprises including SMEs to digitalize? In which industry / verticals are our customers in Malaysia into?

Arun Kumar: ManageEngine has been in the business since 2002. Back then, enterprise customers at the time, had multiple products, to manage their IT infrastructure, from different vendors.

The core challenge they had is in terms of complexity, making these products work together to give a holistic view on what’s happening on their network. That is ManageEngine’s vision. We started with ManageEngine, in terms of having multiple products built on the same framework. So that customers can have simple products and deploy, at the same time, have a contextual and seamless integration across these products, so that they know exactly what’s happening on their IT infrastructure.

The vision we had, or the team we had, was to align your IT towards business. This the driving factor for ManageEngine. But if you roll back today, in 2020, or 2021, I would say that two coming in terms of lot of cloud technology.

EITN: When you had these many products based on the same framework, when you said that, does it mean that ManageEngine actually tried to replace the products with whatever products that they were using with ManageEngine product, that do the same thing, rather than to say be like, a middleware orchestrating between the say SAP, and something else by someone else?

Arun Kumar: ManageEngine has close to 45 plus products, but it’s categorized into six major verticals. Endpoint management, network and server management, security. Usually what has happened in the past is customers will have different products to monitor and manage these requirements. But what ManageEngine typically brought, as the value on the table is, we built all these products from scratch, not through any acquisitions or merger. That is under the same framework, we build different products. So, it’s all done by us into well, so which gives that benefit to customer in terms of having a seamless integration on these products. So that they can manage the entire IT operations and look at a holistic level on what’s happening either on the applications or on the server or on the end user devices or on the data or on the security. So, that is exactly what I meant in terms of seamless and contextual integration.

If you look today, whereas in terms of the IT, so the IT is no more only managing the infrastructure, they are more aligned towards business, particularly with the cloud technology coming in. Your data is not only within your infrastructure, you have some of your business critical applications on premise and you have lot of the data hosted on the public cloud. Your employees are split across multiple locations, and they can access the data even in their mobile phone. The priority of IT teams has completely changed from monitoring these devices to giving access to these data, making sure it is available for business to run and at the same time they also have a ensure it is secure and they mitigate both internal and external threats. So that transformation of IT has gone more towards business digital transformation.

And this is exactly where ManageEngine product comes into picture. Because we offer a whole suite of products, which gives you a clear visibility, both in terms of managing the data, monitoring the devices at the same time, keeping it simple. And not only that, so where exactly we step in, in terms of assisting our customers through this digital transformation is one very important parameter is we help organizations to automate a lot of the repetitive tasks in IT management, thereby bringing in more efficiency.

And this is exactly where ManageEngine product comes into picture. Because we offer a whole suite of products, which gives you a clear visibility, both in terms of managing the data, monitoring the devices at the same time, keeping it simple

Secondly, we ensure the availability of data is managed and also secure in terms of any cyber attacks. And three, more importantly, in terms of local government regulations, or any third-party audit compliances, like HIPAA, or Sox, or PCI, or GDPR. Organizations have to be complying to these audit regulators to ensure their data is secure, their customers data is also secured at the same time, businesses run in their digital transformation. This is exactly where managing in place today, in terms of monitoring management, security and compliance, at the same time, driving automation for enterprise customers, so that they have a more efficient IT team to run the business.

Coming back in terms of the Malaysian market. Malaysia is very, very important and strategic market for us in Southeast Asia. We have close to 750 customers using our ManageEngine suite of products within Malaysia. Like I said earlier while we are industry agnostic, we play across multiple customers, our predominant customers in Malaysia from government, banking and finance.

We do also have in other verticals, right. We also have a lot of managed service providers using our products. We do have customers in retail.

EITN: You also have customers in retail?

Arun Kumar: If you look at the Malaysian market, more than 60% to 70% of our customers are from enterprise segment. But today with the digital transformation happening, thanks to the government push in terms of adopting digital transformation in SMB business and startups.

We could see in the last couple of years, our customer acquisitions and growth in SME space have really increased. Our cloud suite of products is growing at more than 75% in Malaysia, particularly among the SME market and our new customer acquisitions have gone up by 40% in Malaysia for SME businesses.

EITN: These Malaysian SMEs, what type of industry verticals would they be in?

Arun Kumar: Again, it is very broad, not specific to any vertical. It’s so it’s again, a combination of everything is what we could see on the table. It’s a mix of manufacturing, healthcare, tourism, or even in terms of retail, it’s spread across.

The adoption by SMEs is highly on the cloud suite of products. As the cloud suite of products make it very simple to use. There is no real maintenance or infrastructure spend because the hardware, the backend infrastructure, the product upgrades are taken by us and it’s quite simple to implement, configure and goes on the pay-as-you-go go yearly model as well.

So it’s one, it’s very easy to use. And secondly, it’s very lightweight in terms of maintenance, because the hardware, the application upgrade, the backend operations are completely driven by ManageEngine, its customer has to just sign up for the product, configuring it and starting using it right away.

There is no real maintenance or infrastructure spend because the hardware, the backend infrastructure, the product upgrades are taken by us and it’s quite simple to implement, configure and goes on the pay-as-you-go go yearly model as well.

EITN: Malaysians, including companies are being forced in a way to adapt quickly to IT. Now, what do you foresee might happen? What you will see might be the trend towards this digital library, especially towards the use of cloud for retail, commercial, and especially push online shopping. Or maybe you work from home? Will people start going back to the office after this COVID-19 pandemic hopefully peters out like the Spanish Flu did about 100 years ago or is sufficiently contained?

Arun Kumar: The cloud technology is not something new. It’s been there in the market for more than a decade now. And we could see that cloud adoption is gradually increasing day by day, across a lot of organizations, as the cloud in itself is getting more secure, and more scalable, and more cost effective.

While large enterprise organizations took the approach of taking the hybrid model, where they kept some of their business-critical applications within their infrastructure, so there always has been an adoption in terms of moving lot of the applications which are relevant to run the operations on the cloud. So that hybrid model adoption was very much there across enterprise, even before the pandemic.

SMB adoption on cloud is very straightforward, because usually SMBs, the IT teams are very lean. Their priority is always to run the business and grow and not really in terms of managing IT. So, cloud is a very easy and quick to adopt model for SMBs. There was always an adoption for cloud across SMEs. But then, the pandemic has really accelerated the pace on both enterprise as well as SMEs to move to the cloud.

I think most organizations still prefer to go with the work from home model, and might not open up immediately because with the pandemic, we’re not really sure when it will come to an end. I think this trend will continue for a while.

One main specific reason being the new working model where employees are remote, they don’t actually come to office, it’s a complete new normal. But at the same time, they also have to ensure business continuity as such goes on. This is exactly where the digital transformation accelerated the pace in this pandemic. At the end of the day, your employees have to be connected and have the access to the necessary data to serve the customers, right? So that is where exactly the cloud flexibility came into picture.

While this has really picked up pace in the last couple of years, I think this trend will continue, at least for the next two, three years. I think most organizations still prefer to go with the work from home model, and might not open up immediately because with the pandemic, we’re not really sure when it will come to an end. I think this trend will continue for a while.

SMB adoption on cloud is very straightforward, because usually SMBs, the IT teams are very lean

Secondly, while even if the pandemic comes to an end, things come back to normalcy, I think the cloud adoption will definitely continue, because it has its own benefit in terms of flexible cost model, easy maintenance, and at the same time, access data everywhere gives the huge benefit for organizations to run the business online. So that model will continue even after the pandemic as well.

EITN: Do you find people, who in some industries seem to be resistant to adopting these new technologies which can actually make them work faster, more efficiently, in Malaysia?

Arun Kumar: We have seen definitely, in the case of certain banking and financial institutions because of the regional and local regulations. For some of the core business applications, there is definitely a concern moving on to the cloud because of the audit complaints and local regulation rules, because the data privacy comes into picture.

There are answers to it in terms of having complaints by the cloud vendors in terms of taking on the necessary certifications, audit guidelines. So, the transition is gradually happening. But yes, there is little bit of concern for moving the business-critical applications on the cloud for banking and financing industry. But hopefully, with the regulators taking on the flexibility, after looking at the privacy, data protection laws, I think that trend will change a lot.

EITN: What about other industries, in the areas of say, retail? On the one hand, you have the big retailers in Malaysia, they will be people like Lazada, like Shopee, you know, Mudah.my, Lelong and a few others. They’re all selling online. And, but these are big boys, relatively big boys. But what about the smaller boys?

Arun Kumar: When it comes to retail, the larger retailers find it very easy to move to digital transformation, because for them, it’s all business online. They need to ensure their websites are available, to ensure their applications running on the background, the data, everything plays a very important role. There is always an adoption for larger retail industry to use cloud and ManageEngine suite of products.

What is important for their organization, whether they wanted to keep it very local, or they wanted to move their business online. So that’s where the decision of adopting cloud sort of products comes into picture. The moment you see that there is a requirement for the organization to go into the cloud. Obviously, their IT being very lean. The first choice would always be the cloud suite of products for that.

EITN: Aside from retail, what do you think about other industries in Malaysia? For example, we have some of the bigger manufacturers and large Malaysian corporations and banks. They would probably have no problem embracing ManageEngine and cloud solutions. But what about the smaller manufacturers?

Arun Kumar: At a larger level, what we have seen is, once your organization grows big, let’s say more than 500 employees or 1000 employees. At that juncture is where it’s very important to bring products into place for easy management, automation, as well as availability.

Typically, your IT team comes into picture, one to manage devices, also to take care of your employees in terms of their own devices, as well as giving access to business-critical information

If it is a 50 or 100-employee company, we have a lot of free suite of products within ManageEngine as well, that many of the SME enterprises use today. But again, so products like ManageEngine definitely comes into picture when your organization has the requirement to manage these devices in terms of availability, performance, and also make sure it’s available for employees.

Typically, your IT team comes into picture, one to manage devices, also to take care of your employees in terms of their own devices, as well as giving access to business-critical information. So, one from a monitoring and management perspective, and two from giving the right data access, at the same time keeping it secure plays a very important role. So naturally, when organizations gradually scale as they grow, there is a requirement for managing and kind of products to ensure they adhere and implement the best practices.

EITN: Do you develop your own or do you use maybe one some of the available antivirus computer security that is on the market?

Arun Kumar: We don’t actually manufacture or provide any antivirus product. When it comes to security, we have a suite of products. The endpoint management are the devices used by the employees with a laptop or a mobile device. So basically, we help IT teams to do patching so that the system is secure. We also ensure if there is any vulnerability in the network, we identify, and we proactively notify the IT teams so that they can fix any gaps. And we also have products to take care of the browser security. So naturally, IT teams can do a complete audit on what are the websites, what are the access employees are going through. This is one part of proactive security management we do.

The second one would be your privileged access management. There could be lot of business-critical information, which will be hosted in the organization. And sometimes employees might need to access that as well. When you access, we ensure, we track we keep a Secure Gateway, and give only access when required to employees so that it can be completed. The third one would be on the log management solutions. Log management comes in where we’ll be able to track on what are the activities employees has been doing with their devices.

Containerization will actually start tracking the only business critical information, not your personal data.

With these three different solutions on the security, IT teams will have a clear visibility on what’s happening, who has done what, what changes has been made, a complete audit can be done. And in case if there is any deviation or if there is any violation or if there is any breach there will be a proactive notification given to the IT team so that they can ensure security’s taken care of.

EITN: For example, if a company, such as my employer, gave me a smartphone to access the system, and the system is being protected by ManageEngine, then you can maybe tell me what I can and cannot do with my device. But what if I’m using my own smartphone?

Arun Kumar: This is a technology called bring your own device. An employee’s mobile can be used for both accessing personal information as well as business information. When it comes to business information, obviously the employee has to log in using the credentials to access the required information. Sometimes they can also download business critical information or applications on their mobile devices have functionality called as containerization. Containerization will actually start tracking the only business critical information, not your personal data.

EITN: What size of company, or maybe revenue of turnover of the company would be able to afford ManageEngine?

Arun Kumar: While our products are quite affordable, simple to use, I would say anything more than 100 employees would be the right customer fit for ManageEngine. A company size of maybe more than 50 or even 100, I would say, more than 100 employee count could be the right customer for ManageEngine in suite of products. Anything less than 50, we offer completely free suite of products. They don’t need to pay anything, but they get all the products of ManageEngine completely free, if it’s going to be less than 50.

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