• United States
by Tim Wilson

Symantec/ON Technology merger missing professional services element

Nov 05, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Delving into the marriage between Symantec and ON Technology

Symantec last week acquired ON Technology in a $100 million deal that will significantly expand Symantec’s ability to compete in the desktop management and provisioning space. To make the merger fly, however, Symantec will have to quickly build or develop a key capability that is not among its current strengths: professional services and outsourcing.

Symantec, which is widely known for its desktop anti-virus software as well as PC troubleshooting tools such as Norton Utilities and Ghost, has been a player in the enterprise desktop management space for years. Its packaged software is a part of many corporate desktop environments, and is standard issue in many PC support initiatives.

Thus far, however, Symantec’s enterprise IT services are limited to the security arena. The company does vulnerability assessments and security audits, as well as some security architecture design and consulting. For the most part, it has been focused on helping users deploy and take advantage of the capabilities of its security software.

With the addition of ON Technology, however, Symantec will have to swiftly expand those services. ON Technology offers a broad range of desktop management functionality, including automated discovery, software distribution, operating system migration, software usage tracking and license management. ON Technology is clearly a player in the emerging desktop provisioning space, in which IT organizations are automating the process of making moves, adds and changes to their PC and mobile environments.

The marriage of Symantec’s offerings – which are strong on security and local desktop administration – with ON Technology’s desktop management capabilities is a match made in IT heaven. Using ON Technology’s underlying technology, Symantec can immediately become a player in large enterprises that are still looking for the tools they need to manage and secure their desktops. The combined product lines will give enterprises all the resources they need to build a strong infrastructure for managing end users, PCs and mobile devices.

However, neither Symantec nor ON Technology are particularly strong in professional services, and this presents a near-term problem for the combined company. To implement a holistic desktop management environment – complete with security, user identity, patch and license management, and software deployment – enterprises will need strong consulting services.

Today, most enterprises handle their desktop management tasks in “silos” of functionality – the security people handle virus control, the software distribution people handle new application deployment, the local administrator handles troubleshooting and maintenance. But according to EMA research, most enterprises want to move out of the “silo” model and into a more integrated desktop management environment that enables them to establish a smooth workflow among these different tasks.

To achieve this workflow, IT organizations will need not only integrated desktop management products, but consulting services that enable them to do the integration in their own environments. This integration may require broad professional services that can help users evaluate their current technology, implement new technology, and create an integrated environment out of both old and new. Thus far, neither ON Technology nor Symantec offers such broad professional services.

In order to be successful in building and developing enterprise desktop management architectures, the combined Symantec/ON Technology company will not only need to quickly create integrated products, but also the consulting services required to implement them. Look for the combined company to announce new, expanded professional services capabilities – or a partnership with a major integration services provider – in the very near future.