Business Member Interview – OpenIT
Updated: May 16, 2020
In the latest members newsletter, we feature one of our member companies.
Our committee member, and newly elected Boardmember, Paal Thorsen interviewed Eistein Fosli, who is the founder of Open iT, Inc.
Paal: Can you please share your elevator pitch of Open IT?
Eistein: Open iT helps companies around the globe reduce the cost and complexity of managing corporate IT assets. We focus on the effective use of IT resources by measuring and reporting how individuals or groups use applications, servers, cloud & SaaS services across enterprises. Open iT solutions allow better control in managing license resources by discovering and suspending not actively used applications and releasing the unused licenses to redeploy to active users. We deliver solutions to industries such as engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, defense, automotive, government, education, and electronics.
Paal: How did you end up in the US?
Eistein: Open iT was founded in Oslo, Norway. We quickly understood that in order to survive as a software company addressing problems not specific to the Norwegian market, we had to go abroad. After the initial sales of our software to Hydro, Equinor, and Telenor, we looked to the US market.
Paal: How many people are working for Open IT, and where are they located?
Eistein: We are today 138 employees in three different office locations in Houston, Oslo, and Lucena in the Philippines.
Paal: How does Open IT make money?
Eistein: Open IT’s revenue consists mainly of software, subscription, and strategic consulting, which enables customers to optimize their IT resource use (both cloud and on-prem), cut costs and waste, and improve their business processes.
Open iT team photo. Eistein Fosli is nr two from the left on the first row.
Paal: I read a term that you used which was new to me, what do you mean by “harvesting idle licenses”?
Eistein: Open iT discovers applications that have been idle for a set period of time by monitoring application events such as the keyboard, mouse, CPU, and I/O activities, and suspends based on set configurations. Licenses are harvested back to the license pool server so that other active users can use them
Paal: Anything new on the horizon?
Eistein: More emphasis on data and less on algorithm/software. Expanding our AI, machine learning, and Data Science team in Open iT. We are working very hard to stay ahead of all our competitors in this area, as it is pivotal to us that we remain best in class, through the innovative use of new technology.
Paal: How can NACC members benefit from getting to know Open IT?
Eistein: We are certainly willing to share our experience with how we entered the US market, which quickly became our most important market. They are welcome to reach out to me, and I will do my best to respond. Of course, we will also be happy to share with other companies how our customers get up to 30 times ROI.
Paal: Are there any Norwegian cultural qualities that you believe Open IT benefits from?
Eistein: Certainly. Our Norwegian culture, such as trust, integrity, sharing, are part of our
value statement and taught in our onboarding classes. We also emphasize the importance of direct and honest communication, a trait I believe I have got from Norway.
Paal: Why Houston, Why NACC?
Eistein: Our first customer was within Oil and Gas, and therefore Houston become the natural place to start our US operation. Today Aerospace and Auto industry are almost as big as Oil and Gas, but we have still found Houston to be a good location in order to cover the Americas; I think you can reach all major US cities in the lower 48 states within a four hours flight from Houston.
Paal: On a more personal note, where in Norway are you from?
Eistein: I am from Dalen in Telemark. However, my wife is from Stavanger, we married when we both lived in Oslo, and that is where I stared Open iT. We lived in Sola before moving to the US, where we still stay every summer.
Paal: Do you have any Norwegian businesspeople you admire? And why?
Eistein: Being from Telemark, I admire Sam Eyde, the founder of Norsk Hydro, the company that practically created the modern Telemark. I highly recommend his book: “Mitt liv og mitt livsverk”, from 1936. That book was an eye-opener to me.
Paal: Living in Houston, what do you miss about Norway?
Eistein: Since my family and I spend 6 to 8 weeks in Norway every year, escaping the hot and humid Houston summer, I cannot say I miss Norway much the rest of the year.
Thank you for taking the time to let NACC learn a bit about you and your company!