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Software focus spurs channel growth at IGEL

Endpoint OS specialist has seen its decision to split the hardware and software offerings deliver results, which could lead to a widening of its channel base

Endpoint OS specialist IGEL’s decision to split its hardware and software business last year has seen sales increase, creating opportunities to widen its channel base.

The firm has traditionally played in the thin client market with a hardware proposition, but noted the increasing trend of rising demand for its software and is shipping more of those units as customers look for options to sweat existing assets while maintaining security.

Last year saw 750,000 copies of IGEL’s OS shipped, a growth rate of 132% on the previous 12 months, and 500,000 of those were software sales, with the rest including the hardware.

Simon Townsend, chief marketing officer at IGEL, said that as the firm developed its software proposition, it became clear it could stand on its own as a product line.

“There are two main parts to the idea,” he said. “Number one is the operating system that runs. It’s a Linux-based, purpose-built operating system, and then there is a management platform that goes on top of that. When we went out and asked our customers ‘Why did you choose it over any of the competition?’, not only was it the hardware, which was built well, but it really came down to your operating system and the management platform that you’ve got were significantly superior.”

Townsend added: “At the start of 2019, we completely separated the software and the hardware out. The chassis and the hardware element of it became a second optional choice to any customer but, first and foremost, our customers have come to us and said they want to buy our operating system.”

As the business has changed, so has the potential make-up of IGEL’s channel and Townsend said that with partners, it was working through the move to a more software-centric organisation.

“We are going through maturity growth when it comes to the channel,” he said. “You have to remember that we’ve spent the first 15 years being a very hardware-centric organisation, with distribution taking stock and orders being fulfilled that way. We’re now much more software-focused, so we work far closer with our partners and our channel programme. Our latest channel programme was released last year, but it’s still very much in growth mode, particularly in northern Europe and the UK.”

The sort of partner that IGEL has worked with has usually been a Citrix or VMware specialist, but with Microsoft starting to push virtual desktops more, there are opportunities to work with a larger pool of resellers.

“We’ve got some fairly outrageous targets for growth this year,” said Townsend. “We’re investing in our own sales team, but have also invested in the channel programme. There are marketing funds and activities that we’re now doing with a number of partners and plan to do.

“But also, you know, looking at new partners, because there’s a whole host of Microsoft Cloud partners out there and Amazon cloud partners out there who perhaps don’t come from the Citrix or the VMware space they have been employed in Office 365 for many years, and now they’ve got an opportunity to do more in end-user compute as well.”

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