Magazine article New Zealand Management

Riding the Technology Wave: Success and Secrecy

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Riding the Technology Wave: Success and Secrecy

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Born out of a Waikato University research project, Endace has conquered the world of network monitoring and hardware acceleration, with a firm technological base supported by ongoing product and sales innovation. Robert Smith visits Endace's South Auckland office and discovers that despite supplying its products and services to some of the world's largest companies, groups and governments, it can't always reveal the scale of its success.

At a time when monitoring the flow of data surging through some of the world's biggest communication hubs has never been more important, New Zealand company Endace is at the forefront of the technological wave. Originally a research project at Waikato University, the company was created in 2001 on the back of its Data Acquisition and Generation (DAG) cards and has since grown to become a world leader in network traffic monitoring technology.

It now has a growing customer base of blue chip corporates, top-tier telcos, friendly government agencies and financial institutions. They use Endace products and knowledge to analyse 100 percent of the traffic that passes through their networks, ensuring confidence in service performance, information security and regulatory compliance, without any slowdown in the system. Endace has recently signed a major deal with global news and information giant Reuters to provide a solution that will monitor and track down network problems and bottlenecks for its customers. But with these networks forming part of some of the most sensitive commercial information and government intelligence gathering systems in the world, CEO Mike Riley says many of its customers will not publicly reveal their links to Endace.

"These customers are really after the best of the best, so that's what we have to offer. One side effect of that is that they will not promote the fact they are using our technology due to commercial and intelligence sensitivities, and we end up making multimillion-dollar deals we just can't talk about.

"So it's great when we do get the opportunity to promote our association with a company, as has happened with the Reuters deal. We have got a lot of attention in London from that deal, and it's been nice to be able to talk about it."

Despite the necessary secrecy, Endace has still built a solid reputation, winning several key awards, including last year's Deloitte Emerging Enterprise Award at the Top 200 Awards and the NZTE ICT Exporter of the Year title. In 2005 it became the first New Zealand company to list on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market. Riley says this has helped raise the international profile, although it has also proven a challenge for a small, growing company which aims to be flexible and nimble, while growing at its own pace.

That growth has not been a problem for Endace recently. The company has enjoyed five consecutive years of income and profit growth, but its business has really taken off in the past 18 months, thanks to the launch of its NinjaProbe and NinjaBox range of appliances and platforms, and a move towards offering a complete solution, rather than just the DAG card product.

"That has been our focus and the basis for everything over the past year and a half," says Riley. "Rather than just selling the DAG cards and leaving it at that, we now provide the entire service, and that has helped the whole company climb up the value chain.

"When we were just selling the cards, it was sometimes hard to push on to a sale, but offering a whole product means you really are selling a complete solution. Once you start doing that, you find you are talking to more senior people in the company and explaining the benefits of monitoring directly to them. It really makes us feel like a world-class solution provider instead of simply a speciality technology company.

"It's actually quite remarkable how quickly we've got to the point where we can go in to see our customers, walk in and say we have the ability to offer a service which will capture every packet on the wire, and they know we can deliver what we promise. …

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