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December 9, 2013

Bomgar on leading the remote control software market

Joel Bomgar, CEO and founder of Bomgar, tells CBR how the company is on the forefront of providing technical support to mobiles and other handheld devices.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Joel Bomgar, CEO and founder of remote support specialist Bomgar, set up the Mississippi-based company in 2003. Since then, Bomgar has grown its workforce to 280 people, providing technical support for 8,000 organisations in 65 countries from any device or platform wherever they are.

Can you talk us through some of the risks posed by remote access?

Anytime one computer is connecting to another computer, you of course have to worry about what someone else can see on a computer screen or what file they can download. So what we’ve built into our product is security to make sure, for example that every remote technical support session, is fully recorded. So you have a full video recording of the entire session. You know who was in control of the key board and mouse at each point in the session. You know which files they looked at. You know which settings they changed.

Do you provide any other solution besides the Bomgar Remote Support Solution?

Ten years ago when I started the company, it was clear to me that nobody focused on providing a solution that was really ideal for this market. Other products in this market tend to be products that were designed for online meetings or online collaboration. You could technically use these products for online support because it will allow you to see someone else’s computer screen, but that’s not really what the product is designed for. And that’s why our focus has always been computer technical support technology and really getting that right and putting enough time, resources and energy in it where it meets all the needs of any type of organisation regardless of how large all of their needs are.

You hold the largest revenue share among companies with a 1,000 employees and your revenue grew by more than 34% last year. What do you put this down to?

There are other technologies that let computers connect to each other but they’re geared towards small and medium businesses (SMEs), not large support organisations that could have hundreds or even thousands of computer technical support people simultaneously. Also, the other products on the market do not take into account the needs of security. Virtually all the other technologies on the market require a company to use someone else’s data centre to host the technology, which from a security perspective is much safer if you have that in your own control and in your own data centre.

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We’re also on the forefront of providing technical support to mobile devices, which is a hot portion of the marketplace. And then just really trying to provide the ideal solution to those organisations, in our case something that they can actually own, and that they can control that’s within their scope of control.

What challenges have you been faced with in your ten years of operation?

In the old days, it was probably as easy as one Windows connecting to another Windows computer. As the market expands, you have people using Windows, Macs, Linux, Windows Mobile, Android, phones and tablets.

So one of the largest challenges is making sure that it could allow any type of product or platform connect to any other product or platform. For example, you can be using an Android Samsung tablet, but actually doing the remote technical support of a Linux server and our product will let you do any platform to any other platform with all the function and capability built in.

And on top of that….trying to build something that works not only on every platform but can allow technical support representatives all over the world to collaborate and connect with each other’s systems or connect to systems that are having issues, be able to that all in an incredibly secure way as you can imagine is technologically daunting.

How do you find competing with the bigger companies like Citrix?

The biggest differentiator is that our product is something that the company can buy and own. All of our large competitors only will allow you to rent their technology over the internet. So every technical support session you do has to pass through their data centre and their servers. What we’ve seen of course, with everybody worried about spying and snooping, most large organisations really do not want a sensitive computer screen sharing data across the internet to somebody else’s server. So I think our biggest differentiator is when we sell our product to one of our 8,000 customers that we’ve sold to already, we don’t have access to any of the data that they’re using. It doesn’t come through us, it’s not stored on us or our server.

How are you planning to develop your product in light of IDC’s report advising vendors to extend capabilities including mobility chat and accessibility?

We want to provide all of the capabilities that are currently available on Windows and Macintosh and desktop operating systems, we want to extend all of those capabilities to mobile devices. The mobile market place is evolving so quickly, for example Samsung recently opened up their operating system to allow full remote control of its phones and tablets. So we immediately extended our product, where you can actually do full remote control and view the screen, to Samsung tablets and phones. Now you can effectively use your mouse as a touch screen cursor on a tablet on the other side of the world.

Have you already started doing that? Any other future plans?

We have a lot in store for mobile devices, tablets and phones and how computer technical support representatives provide for those because that’s relatively new thing. People have been providing technical support to computer systems for a long time but now you have all of these people showing up with their own phones and their own tablets expecting IT departments to provide the same technical support for those devices that they’ve always supported to their laptop perhaps. That’s something that we want to make sure our product enables them to do whether or not they’re using a device that was issued by the company or the organisation, they can provide the exact same level of technical support. A lot of our future capabilities are around that as well.

Do you ever plan on tackling IoT market?

We see not only smart phones getting smarter and dumb phones getting smarter but essentially any internet connection device ultimately, at some point, needing tech support. There are a lot of companies working on the whole IoT. But there’s not a lot of innovation other than us for asking the question of what do you do when something that’s part of IoT can’t connect to the Internet, is not working properly.

So we want our product to be able to support anything that has a microprocessor, anything that’s got an internet connection, anything that has a user interface or otherwise.

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