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After Dell Software Group sale, One Identity reinvents its go-to-market

Executives from One Identity, which operates under Quest Software, discuss the company's renewed focus on the channel.

One Identity, an identity and access management company, is laying the groundwork for a new channel strategy following Quest Software's spin-out from Dell.

Since Quest Software was acquired by Dell in 2012 for $2.4 billion, One Identity, which operates under Quest, has undergone significant changes, evolving from a Quest product into a standalone brand. This past year, Dell sold off the Dell Software Group to private equity firm Francisco Partners and hedge fund manager Elliott Management, which in November established Quest as an independent company. It was also decided that One Identity would grow as a new business unit within Quest. On Nov. 29, One Identity launched its first product since the Dell Software Group divestment, Connect for Cloud, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product to govern identities in cloud applications.

John Milburn, president and general manager, and Jackson Shaw, senior director of product management, both at One Identity, spoke with SearchITChannel this month about the Dell spin-out and One Identity's independent vision.

What are the benefits of being an independent company?

John Milburn: This is an exciting time for us going back to a focused software company. But it is important to reiterate that the Dell experience wasn't necessarily bad. And candidly, I think we learned a lot. The Dell brand name certainly helped us in many parts of the organization, and this particular business, the One Identity business, actually grew pretty significantly in the four years that we were part of Dell.

That being said, now that we are spinning out of Dell, the fact that we have had the success that we've had ... we are looking forward to continuing and driving that momentum. We are a happy part of the Quest Software family ... but because of our success and because of the slight difference between our target buyer, our go-to-market [strategy] and some of the rest of Quest, we have decided to market under the name One Identity.

What's One Identity's roadmap post-Dell Software Group?

Milburn: The roadmap hasn't necessarily changed. ... Our goal is absolutely to be the No. 1 identity and security business for enterprise customers across the globe. That hasn't changed, and we believe we have a clear line of sight to getting that.

As it relates to the technology and the roadmap, our focus is around helping our customers remain secure as they go through their own digital transformations. Every customer that we talk to is being forced to change the way they look at things. ... That obviously means supporting more cloud delivery models and cloud from a management perspective so our customers are going to hybrid environments as rapidly as they can. Our portfolio is following suit. Where it makes sense, our portfolio will extend from an on-premises perspective to help quickly add on cloud assets from a protection-related point of view. And where it also makes sense, we'll be adding several SaaS ... solutions this year as we continue to expand the portfolio, and the use cases we support more and more frequently will be doing that from a SaaS-delivery perspective.

Being separate out of Dell gives us the ability to go back to where we were going in Quest, [which] was to get that leverage from ... the partner community.
John Milburnpresident and general manager, One Identity

Outside the technology ... we're changing our go-to-market to be [friendlier] to the partner community -- in this case, primarily SIs [systems integrators] but certainly some value-added resellers, as well, that are critical for solving these problems for customers. For a very, very long time, we have been primarily a direct salesforce, and obviously this takes time to make these changes. We started to make the changes last year. Next year, we'll make even more changes to ensure that, to our licensed sellers out there, they are incentivized to make sure that we have a services partner in the loop at the time the sales cycle starts.

Milburn also noted that One Identity is focusing on making its products easier to use for business users.

Why did One Identity launch Connect for Cloud?

Jackson Shaw: The main thing that we discovered over the last three, four years -- certainly the last year and a half ... is that so many customers have so many SaaS properties that they want to connect to. A few years ago, from an identity-management perspective and a governance perspective, most companies were focused on their on-premises systems, but with the rise of shadow IT and departments doing their own things in a SaaS world, and then IT building out more and more either SaaS properties of their own or purchasing SaaS solutions, we've had many customers come to us requesting to integrate with other SaaS properties.

How has independence impacted your channel strategy?

Milburn: One of the dubious assumptions that was made when we were integrated into Dell was that our leverage would be the Dell hardware salesforce ... and that would be our channel, go-to-market and our ability to get leverage. It turned out that wasn't necessarily ... the right assumption. So being separate out of Dell gives us the ability to go back to where we were going in Quest, [which] was to get that leverage from ... a partner community. It's one of our main focuses going into this year and how we compensate the sales teams, making sure deals are being driven through that channel.

We are taking part in the larger Quest Partner Circle program. ... Our growth will come from the channel, and as we continue to drive this, I think you'll see more and more out of [the] Quest Partner Circle and the One Identity flavor of that.

Shaw: Moving forward, we have to rely on the channel to help build our business, more than any direct sales that we've done in the past. So from my perspective, it's going to be exciting times for us. From a products perspective ... I hear ... more and more from partners about how they want to participate with us and how they want to build on top of our solutions. And it's something we're building into our product plans.

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