Igloo navigating ‘sophisticated’ clients as it tries to go global

San Antonio, TXIgloo Software wants to go global with its intranet software solution platform and cater to a growing audience that CEO Dan Latendre says is “more sophisticated” and wants more functions out of their digital workspace.

During his keynote speech on Sept. 12, Latendre said the organization is continuously working to get new solutions out to its clients that range from AT&T, Signa, Shaw Communications Inc., RBC, Hulu, among others.

“We have to integrate services to create solutions,” Latendre said to an audience of over 400 at the ICE conference. “This is not a customer/vendor relationship. If we work together, learn together and innovate together we can shape the digital age.

“We are expanding internationally, opening data centers around the world, in the U.S., Europe, in Canada, in Asia. Why are we doing that? Our customer base is becoming global, our customers are more sophisticated and they want improved security and performance and local data residency of their content,” he said.

That same day Igloo launched a partnership with Lucidworks, a company that helps build search-driven solutions, to provide clients AI-driven search capabilities for its clients. It also launched Networked Enterprises for its partnerships with companies that are globally based.

Networked Enterprises are a way to organize intranet hubs for large firms that have regional offices and a central headquarters that need to be connected.

But whatever changes are coming for the intranet solution space, Latendre said during an interview that at the core for Igloo is how it works with its partners to give solutions.

“It’s our job to partner with our customers because it’s a journey…the first step for us is really trying to figure out what their business challenges are and the next few things are if we can match those challenges with our software and services,” he said.

The company was founded about 10 years ago when Latendre said he was retired and felt he wanted to innovate more and change the way people worked in the digital space.

“I felt like we needed to skip software-as-a-service and go to straight to solution-as-a-service,” he said, and to keep the company fresh and new always is through asking customers what they want so that Igloo can try to incorporate that in software iterations.

Mike Hicks, vice-president of marketing and strategy at Igloo, said during an interview Igloo operates a global partner program and has a select number of channel partners to get access to the network of clients that need intranet software solutions.

Hicks said it also helps that Igloo is partnered with Microsoft Canada, which also gives Igloo access to the Microsoft reseller network.

This is the second year Igloo has partnered with Microsoft Canada and its ongoing collaboration will give clients the option to have Igloo’s intranet software hosted on Microsoft Azure in Canada and Europe. That service will be available in the near future, Igloo said in a Sept. 12 press release.

But Hicks said it can be challenging to get the attention of resellers and to tell them how important or unique a product is compared to what is already available.

“In a traditional channel model that can be complex” because Hicks says there are two types of intranet clients.

He explains that the two include “greenfield clients” that don’t have a destination but they have a collection of tools, and the “brownfield” legacy intranet replacement market, where clients that understand the tool but the destination is not meeting their needs or has failed.

“We stand out in the sense of we aren’t trying to recreate the thing that has failed, we have designed this solution portfolio so that we can change the game and now make customers successful by actually solving the problem,” he said.

Alan Lepofsky, vice-president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, said what sets Igloo apart from others is that it’s filling in for a niche audience that continues to grow.

“Companies have Sharepoint, companies have Jive, Igloo, and others in that space are filling a niche in a couple of areas. As some of the vendors are decreasing in popularity, Igloo is filling in their shoes, but they also form that faster, more focused, more integrated layer than a Sharepoint or Google sites do,” Lepofsky said.

He added that in the five to six years that he’s been paying attention to Igloo, what sets the company apart is its focus on design, going beyond colour scheme and banner design, but in the way clients interact with each other.

“Igloo has been very focused on companies that have a lot of content and they have a lot of people, and there are conversations going on, so how do we make sure it’s not just more crap lost in the ether?

“I think Igloo has always done a nice job of saying whether it’s having to divide information or categorize information or the way it’s displayed, companies that use Igloo don’t feel that overload or that inability to find out what they are looking for,” he said.

Lepofsky said if Igloo wants to grow more it has to realize that it’s about “being more than an intranet platform” for clients.

“What can be built on top of it? What can be integrated? The more partnerships, the more products an Igloo user can see inside of [their platform] that’s going to perpetuate what they’re doing,” he said, adding the move to have Networked Enterprises was a smart example of this growth.

Igloo also launched Marketplace, a website that allows users to shop for features that can be added on to their Igloo platform.

Lepofsky said it was clear that there is a market for more clients wanting intranet solutions since more products and features are being announced.

“More important than just a checklist of features, you look for momentum,” Lepofsky says. And on a regular basis he gets a number of inquiries about Igloo.

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Shruti Shekar
Shruti Shekar
Shruti Shekar is a video producer and reporter for IT World Canada. She was formerly a political reporter at The Hill Times and was based in Ottawa. Her beats included political culture, lobbying, telecom and technology, and the diplomatic community. She was also was the editor of The Lobby Monitor, and a reporter at The Wire Report; two trade publications that are part of The Hill Times. She received a MA in journalism from Western University and a double BA honours in communication studies and human rights from Carleton University. She was born in India, grew up mostly in Singapore and currently resides in Canada.

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