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An Interview with Brooks Borcherding, LiveAction CEO: ‘Our Focus for the Foreseeable Future is Around Execution on Our Strategy and to Grow Market Share’

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Our purpose is to be the de facto choice for network performance management in organizations with complex network environments.

In order to operate efficiently, companies are seeking ways to improve their business processes. Increasingly, companies are looking toward technology, such as enterprise systems, for solutions that improve their workflows and customer service process. Enterprise systems are large-scale software packages that are able to track and control all of the complex operations of a business. These systems are used as a central command hub to help automate the business and make reporting and decision making easier.

In light of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present LiveAction.

LiveAction is an enterprise software company that simplifies the network for IT organizations to deliver continuous insight, service assurance, and precise control of their network infrastructure. Its leading network performance and analytics platform, LiveNX, offers a deep understanding of networks and applies situational awareness to accelerate employee productivity and boost customer satisfaction.

LiveAction originated from a project for the U.S. Department of Defense. Its technology was used by the Marines as the primary network management platform to troubleshoot and support communication networks between the battlefield and headquarters.

Today, LiveAction is used by more than 900 enterprise customers.

LiveAction was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

Brooks Borcherding, LiveAction CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. There is nothing more important for a successful small business than a well-defined mission and vision statements. Can you explain your M&V statements in brief?

Our mission: Simplify network performance management for the most complex network environments in the world.

Our vision: To ensure NetOps professionals move at the speed of their connected business.

Explanation: LiveAction realizes network performance issues are business issues. When businesses encounter network performance issues, there is lost employee productivity, poor customer experience and even lost revenue.

Therefore, network performance troubleshooting and issue resolution must be fast, regardless of where incidents happen.

The growth of remote, WiFi, SD-WAN, and multi-cloud services has revolutionized modern, connected businesses, but the complexities created from these capabilities present growing challenges for NetOps. Many NetOps teams use over a dozen monitoring tools. Unfortunately, the numerous and disconnected legacy network monitoring tools used today only provide visibility into a slice of the network, creating network blind spots.

It’s essential to eliminate blind spots and keep businesses connected to the network. At best, using traditional network monitoring tools to make sense of the massive amount of data across the entire network is clumsy and time-consuming. At worst, the entire network can suffer from poor user experiences and damage your business. The longer it takes to solve network issues, the more risk created for the business.

LiveAction was created to simplify network performance management and eliminate network blinds spots, so network professionals can move at the speed of their connected business.

In a single, comprehensive platform, LiveAction achieves end-to-end visibility across the entire network, no matter how complex – giving brilliant visibility into networked applications across multi-vendor, multi-domain, and multi-cloud environments.

With patented visualization and analytics, initially developed to aid the U.S. Department of Defense in the operation of its networks, LiveAction empowers NetOps professionals with the situational insights to quickly and easily investigate network performance issues, anywhere they happen – from the SD-WAN to data centers and even end-points and devices at remote branches.

Q. What are the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how do you overcome them?

The greatest challenge is delivering continual product innovations while also building a product that can scale. It’s one thing to create a product that delivers amazing visualizations of a small network, but being able to do that for the world’s largest and most complex enterprise networks – in a way that’s logical, simple to navigate, and scales over time – is a different matter entirely. We’ve been able to excel at both innovation and elegance at scale by maintaining an intense focus on customer needs and building one of the best R&D teams in the business.

Q. What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?

The most influential factor was identifying a market need and obsessing on the delivery of the most innovative and elegant solution to visualize complex modern networks. No one else in the market delivers the value or experience we do for network operations teams, and we’re obsessed as a company to ensure we continue to differentiate our solutions.

Q. Tell us about the products LiveAction offers.

LiveAction has three primary products: LiveNX, LiveSP and OmniPeek. Initially developed to aid the U.S. Department of Defense in the operation of its networks, LiveNX is built around innovative visualizations, real-time big data analytics and deep control of routers and switches for unparalleled network performance monitoring and diagnostics. LiveNX accelerates troubleshooting with its QoS control, application-aware and WAN functionality, developed through engineering partnerships with Cisco Systems and broadened to support 107 different network technology vendors. LiveSP was initially developed by Living Objects, a French software development firm, which was a spin-off of a global telecommunications provider. In this platform, the focus is on multi-tenancy, fast reporting and customizable dashboards. OmniPeek is the leading packing inspection and analytics solutions developed by Savvius and acquired by LiveAction in 2018.

Q. What other leaders do you look up to, and why?

There are three primary leaders that come to mind: Steve Jobs for his obsession with innovation and user experience; John Chambers for his focus on customer-centric cultures and the “don’t lose alone” mentality; and Jeff Bezos for his ability to enter and dominate established markets.

Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Work smart. There are always more ways to spend your time than time available in the day. You need to determine what’s most important and prioritize.

Q. What do you think is the most memorable moment in your career?

I was fortunate to host customers at Parliament at Westminster. It was truly stunning and memorable from a personal and professional perspective.

Q. What are your future focus areas?

Following the acquisition of Savvius late last year, we believe our unique ability to bring network flow data, packet data, WiFi data, and virtually any other data into a single visual analytics platform is transformational for NetOps. This solution provides NetOps with a single platform to proactively identify and quickly resolve network issues across the entire network – from SD WAN core to the network edge. Our focus for the foreseeable future is around execution on our strategy and to grow market share.

Moreover, our purpose is to be the de facto choice for network performance management in organizations with complex network environments.

Brooks Borcherding: An Entrepreneur at Heart

Brooks Borcherding is the CEO of LiveAction. He was previously the Chief Revenue Officer at Datto, a global provider of backup, recovery and business continuity solutions. At Datto, he led the company through two years of accelerating revenue growth and global expansion leading to a successful sale of the company at the end of 2017. Mr. Borcherding’s extensive experience in the networking, cloud, managed services and telecommunications industries includes director of field sales operations at Cisco where he drove the early market adoption of Cisco Unified Communications and Advanced Technologies solutions along with senior leadership positions at NaviSite, Avaya, Lucent Technologies, and Time Warner Cable. He also brings a depth of international experience from leading global teams and living in Europe for almost a decade.

Mr. Borcherding is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“No one else in the market delivers the value or experience we do for network operations teams, and we’re obsessed as a company to ensure we continue to differentiate our solutions.”