In late 2002, LANDesk was pushed out of the nest by its former parent, Intel. Since then, the desktop-management software vendor says, it has flapped to 40% yearly revenue growthand says patch management software has provided a good part of the lift.
One downside? As an independent company, LANDesk now seems “tied more to cash flow,” says Brad Carpenter, senior information systems analyst with Lane County, Ore. In his view, the company charges for features that previously would have been incorporated into the core LANDesk Management Suite. For example, it sells LANDesk Security Suitewhich includes Patch Managerfor a list price of $59 per computer, separate from the full desktop management package, listed at $89.
However, Carpenter adds, Patch Manager has been “worth every penny.” The tool has cut his time to patch 1,550 desktops by 75%, from 16 hours per week to four. “They’ve built a really world-class patch management tool,” he says.
Dave Taylor, LANDesk’s vice president of marketing, says splitting from Intel has let the company invest more in R&D. He wouldn’t provide specific figures but notes, for example, that LANDesk has a team of 65 engineers in Beijing who test patches all day.
The extra engineering effort shows, says Jan Chojnacki, desktop engineering lead at video game publisher Electronic Arts Canada. LANDesk sometimes issues fixes for Windows vulnerabilities to customers before even Microsoft itself does, he says. “They’re very proactive, and you know their patch updates will deploy correctly,” Chojnacki says.
But Electronic Arts still uses Microsoft’s Windows Server Update Services for some of its 3,000 machines “because LANDesk’s patching can be intrusive,” Chojnacki says. Some employees have “freaked out” when the LANDesk agent software pops up a prompt to reboot the machine after applying a patch. The Microsoft patching tool doesn’t offer as much control as LANDesk’s but is “more accepted because it’s part of the operating system,” he says.
On the other hand, some customers that already use LANDesk’s desktop management suite find Patch Manager the best option, because it uses existing computer configuration data and screens. “It runs like the rest of LANDesk,” says Spencer Kartchner, network manager at Swire Coca-Cola USA. “It’s one less thing I have to manage.”
Revenue, 2004: $65.0M (Hoover’s est.)
Revenue breakdown by geography: 49% North America; 51% international
Investors: Intel, Vector Capital, vSpring Capital
Total funding: Not disclosed
Acer, Dell, Gateway, Hitachi, IBM, Lenovo, NEC, Symantec, Toshiba, Unisys
South Jordan, Utah (HQ); Reading, U.K.; Tokyo; Beijing
Financial services: Raymond James Financial, Wells Fargo
Food service: Aramark
Government: City of Chicago, U.S. Army
Manufacturing: Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Sharp Electronics
Media: Bertelsmann, Chicago Tribune
Pharmaceutical: Bayer, Merck