Boston-based Ipswitch was founded in 1991 and is still a private company, which general manager Ennio Carboni says allows it more freedom than it would enjoy under shareholders.
The tech firm is probably one of the few in existence happy to admit it isn't inventing anything from scratch.
Instead it works by targeting products it believes it can create a better version of, producing a solution that is scalable for small or very large businesses, the needs of which are not met by the big four.
Ipswitch is proud of punching above its weight by taking on that big four with its own products. Its solutions for network management, secure file transfer and messaging go head to head with those of IBM, CA Technologies, HP and BMC Software.
Carboni tells CBR: "Our business model is to go into existing markets and disrupt them. I want existing markets where they're large enough where my engineering team can basically redesign solutions and provide them to customers of all sizes who are using stuff that's too expensive and complicated or so big they can't use it."
Most of Ipswitch's business is done inside the US, but 35% of its revenue comes from outside North America.
Finance, manufacturing, and healthcare are all big markets for the firm, whose clients include Nestle and Volkswagen. The US army even uses its key product, WhatsUp Gold, in parachutable, remote-controlled vehicles to help them complete their tasks.
Key product - WhatsUp Gold
The network monitoring and management solution is used to monitor networks, servers, VOIP, applications and wireless devices from a single dashboard.
The company says its software discovers and maps the IT infrastructure, rapidly isolates root cause of complex issues, customises an IT environment and creates action policies for automatic repairs.
The product has just had an upgrade to version 16.2 to include new features like integration with wireless network technologies from Meru Networks and Ruckus, as well as Cisco wireless access points and Cisco Nexus switches.
How can Ipswitch's product offering survive in the context of cloud and virtualisation?
Easily, claims Carboni. "I see a large migration to the cloud or virtualised networks, but there's an importance that the backbone network in the corporation is up and running," he says.
"Our core continues to be strong and we will continue to focus there."
In fact, he sees virtualisation as another opportunity for the firm.
"Our view is we need to do a better job of managing that environment so what we'll see is an expansion in network reliability and performance of virtualisation."
The future for the company
The web-based applications sector is somewhere else Ipswitch sees potential. Carboni explains that with the proliferation of web-based software, more and more people are relying on IT to solve various problems with the applications.
"We have hired more than 60 people in the last 12 months to beef up our R&D facilities to get to market with solutions for this area," he says.
Another market predicted by Carboni to grow in importance is video and VoIP services. "I don't see any of the vendors doing anything particularly well in that at the moment," states Carboni.
He thinks larger scale facilities across every vertical have had problems with a reliance on IP-based technologies and are actually reverting back to traditional phone systems, meaning there is a gap in the market for an innovative solution.
Ipswitch is now investing in IP SLA (IP service level agreements, which generate time-based performance data) after seeing a surge in the trend of more and more customers using video.
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