Earlier this year, we looked at the role of R&D and acquisitions in product innovation. Since then, we have met several vendors who continue to make strategic and tactical acquisitions, including VMware, Red Hat and Minacs. Another company to have boosted its portfolio through acquisitions is Quest Software. It supplies software tools for application management, database management, Windows management, virtualization management, and IT management across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Quest was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California. During the year ending 31 December 2011, the company earned US$858 million in global revenue. It has approximately 3,500 employees and operates in 23 countries with 60 offices.
Since 1998 Quest has acquired over 25 companies; over 10 of these have been within the past two years. Most recently, Quest purchased:
- Bluefolder in February 2012 to offer MSPs an end-to-end Technology Platform to improve business operations and profitability
- VKernel in November 2011 for virtualized infrastructure operations management
- ChangeBASE in October 2011 to automate Microsoft application and platform compatibility issues when upgrading
- Symlabs in June 2011 for directory services and identity management software
- RemoteScan in May 2011 for scanning and imaging device connection software
The company also has an investment program called the “Quest Innovation Accelerator” where it provides venture capital funds to start-ups. Thus far it has invested in 12 companies, and over half of these develop solutions and software for Cloud Computing.
Portfolio targeted at aggregators
Managed service providers (MSPs) represent an important customer segment for Quest. It has focused on creating an end-to-end MSP business management solution that will provide robust remote monitoring and management (RMM) functionality together with professional services automation (PSA) capability. Quest’s goal is to be seen by MSPs as a technology provider that can improve business operations and profitability for its MSP customers. Quest’s software portfolio now consists of ChangeAuditor, NetVault, Toad, Foglight, Quest One Identity Management, and Quest One Quick Connect product families. The company’s solutions today are marketed in the following categories:
- Administration & Automation
- Data Protection
- Development & Optimization
- Identity & Access Management
- Migration & Consolidation
- Performance Monitoring
Focus on operational excellence for support and services
Quest also offers support and services for its products and solutions. Architecture assessment, deployment & configuration and end-user training are a few examples of its professional services offerings. In addition to traditional support, Quest also provides a Support Portal with access to a Knowledge Base; downloads; documentation and online tracking of open support requests. Quest offers three levels of Support: Standard, Business Critical and Premier.
Early in 2011 Quest opened a Shared Services Center in Cork, Ireland. Quest’s Cork operational functions include support renewals representatives, inside sales, software development and back office functions such as order processing, accounting and HR. The facility is a key international service center for the firm’s growth worldwide and in the future the company is looking to have Research & Development (R&D) capabilities in Cork.
Quest’s business decisions since the 2008 downturn have been exemplary. It has identified fast growth customer segments, understood pressing requirements and plugged gaps in its portfolio. The company’s resource allocation approach to handle administration workload associated with customer contracts demonstrates its respect for customer preferences. We see many vendors automating this process and expecting customers to self-serve, only to discover renewal rates plunge. We will continue to monitor Quest’s progress as it closes in on the $1billion revenue milestone, probably as a private company again.
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