Channel chat: Humble beginnings
15 May 2014 | 0
When most people think of AVG, they probably think of free antivirus software. Formed in the Czech Republic in 1991, the company has grown to a $400 million turnover business with 177 million users and more than 600 employees. Originally called Grisoft, it was renamed AVG Technologies after its popular free antivirus product in February 2008.
Since 2006, AVG has acquired a number of companies, the most recent of which was remote monitoring and management software company LPI Level Platforms in June 2013.
Venessa Chin, director of global sales operations, believes that the company’s history origins as a start-up and the assimilation of a number of companies with an extensive background in the SMB market stands it in good stead to the small and medium business market which constitutes a large part of the Irish market.
“Our management team has a wide knowledge and experience in SMB, many owned their own companies before being acquired by AVG, so they’re coming from that background,” she says.
Chin has a lot of experience at AVG herself, having started at the company in 2006 and progressed through management roles in the vendor’s call centre, sales and operations.
While AVG has had partners in the Irish market since 2007, Chin admits that it “hasn’t shown them the love” as much as it could have. One of her priorities since taking on the global sales role is to change that situation. Although the vendor has only 20 partners here at the moment, “a couple of our top earning partners for the UK and Ireland are actually from Ireland”, she reveals.
Chin wants to get the AVG brand more widely adopted in Ireland and make it more visible in the market. The company does not have a presence of its own here but she believes that this isn’t a problem because it is “just a flight away” from partners if there is an issue. “Not having feet on the ground hasn’t proven to be an issue,” she insists. “If partners require our services, we can be on the next flight to them.”
AVG prides itself on its partner engagement, Chin adds. “We have a very partner-focused model,” she states. “We invest in and acquire services that are focused on developing our partners.” She lists a number of “key benefits” that AVG provides to partners. The vendor has an accelerated recruitment and partner education process with free technical onsite support and training. “Other vendors would charge for it or do it via webinars,” Chin claims.
Another difference is that AVG “listens to our partners. We give them the scope to shape the future of the services that are critical to the success of their business. We listen to their feedback for what’s missing from the services we’re offering. Having the impact of being able to have partners come back and say ‘you listened to us’, that’s made a difference for us,” she adds. “It shows we’re doing something right.”
She says the AVG acquisition of LPI has expanded the company’s portfolio into remote management and monitoring based on an open ecosystem which allows partners using products from competitors to have full visibility of those solutions. “It allows them to have a more proactive response,” Chin claims. “A number of competitors are offering a similar solution but the feedback we get is that they’re not as open”.