Altiris: The Complete PackageBy Brian P. Watson | Posted 2007-02-28 Print
Customers praise the software vendor for its broad offerings.
Customers of Altiris, the asset management software provider based in Lindon, Utah, population 9,500, praise the vendor's software as the best in its class—though at least one voiced worry that the firm might be a target for acquisition.
Omnicom, the New York advertising conglomerate, opened one of its marketing firms, OMD, in 2002. At the time, the company needed a way to track technology assets and the lease contracts tied to them. Deploying software to employees as the company continued to grow was also a top priority.
Until then, the firm kept track of hardware and software using Excel spreadsheets, a setup that was "less than ideal, obviously," according to chief information officer Kenneth Corriveau.
Altiris' Asset, Client and Server Management suites met Corriveau's requirements. Now, the firm's staffers run reports and instantly find computers or servers by an identification number, along with its software and service details.
This helps Corriveau and his team save money in dealing with their leasing firm. In the past, if they couldn't locate a computer or device, they'd have to pay the equivalent to the firm. Now, Corriveau says, they can track every device, never letting one get away, which cut their extra payments to the leasing firm by 100%.
Forrester ranks Altiris as a top-five vendor in the space, noting its success particularly with midsize firms. But it's not just for the small-to-medium business market; the vendor's software offerings—including asset, configuration, server and help-desk management modules—have appealed to companies large and small.
One on the larger end is Steelcase, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based office furniture maker with 13,000 employees worldwide. Steelcase went with Altiris in 2004, at what Steve Harmon, group manager for the firm's information-technology service center, calls the height of Sarbanes-Oxley "paranoia." Harmon says Steelcase needed to improve its compliance monitoring and patch management policies while streamlining its desktop and imaging procedures across the globe.
Harmon says Altiris won a competitive proof-of-concept test because of its flexibility and price (Steelcase paid about $125,000, including first-year maintenance). Another selling point was that ITS Communications, an Altiris implementation partner, was also based in Grand Rapids.
Harmon says the biggest advantage to Altiris is the reach of its products; Steelcase currently employs the vendor's inventory and reporting, patch management, software distribution, transfer and software license remediation tools. No other vendor, he points out, matched that breadth of offerings.
Harmon says he tells Altiris that he's more than happy with the company's product line as is, and likes the small-company feel. "But the minute you sell to IBM or CA or someone else," he adds, "I don't want that."
Corriveau, however, doesn't see the company being acquired in the near future. "They've made it this far," he says. "Anyway, some of the people that might have acquired them have started building out their own products."
Dave Johnson, market segment manager for service and asset management for Altiris, says such fears, in general, are valid, especially when dealing with a company of Altiris' size. "I think it's always a concern with any vendor that's smaller and has good products," he says. Nonetheless, Johnson reports no gossip around the office hallways about a potential transaction and says no deal is in the works.
* For first nine months, ended Sept. 30, 2006. Fiscal year ends Dec. 31.
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