Oldest Startups On The Block

In the process of kicking off a new season of awards judge duty, starting with Techtrailblazers, which focuses on start-ups (and upstarts).

Got me thinking – just what IS a start-up company? Ok – so there are definitions within even Techtrailblazers itself as competitions are based upon rules, and rules dictate strict definitions, so there’s no way around this (for the record, or mp3, I believe the entry conditions are a company no more than six years old?). BUT – what if you’re one of the many vendors that has been around the block once (or more) already and has reinvented itself, so it is effectively a start-up, just a mature one, like someone who revisits university in the 50s to do a different degree? So, a mature start-up!

For example, I was speaking recently with a US vendor who fits that very description – Vector Networks, which effectively refocused with the acquisition of its Vizor IT assets management software. The software manages the complete asset lifecycle, from network discovery and inventory data acquisition through to purchase, warranty and maintenance data. This, in itself, is effectively a reinvention of the original asset management systems of the early 90s on the back of networks first being deployed en masse. And in combining this with software management and service desk, it moves the game on from the original Landesk (itself reinvented and now part of Ivanti) product and its ilk that I was testing as long ago as ’91 (when Intel acquired that original Landesk incarnation).

And then there’s the next step in the process, as defined by the newly created SysSecOps category. A recent report from Technology Research outlined the concept of SysSecOps – that is to say combining systems and security operations into a single IT profile or categorisation. And it makes total sense as it’s all about visibility and follows the aforementioned mantra – if you don’t know what your systems are running – basically what is happening on an ongoing basis – then how can you possibly secure users, their data and applications?

I’ve just finished a test report on said approach for Ziften and the concept definitely works. Now, getting back to the original point here, Ziften is technically a start-up from the awards definition (founded 2011 I believe). So does that mean that essentially Vector should be competing against Ziften on a start-up playing field far more level that Yeovil Town’s old pitch? Most definitely, but it requires an IT rethink/reinvention of terminology and, as we all know, IT is very good at that -)