Kaseya CEO: “We lost our way”

Kaseya Logo

New Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola has admitted the software vendor failed to market itself effectively in the past, leading to uncertainty among its Managed Service Provider (MSP) customer base.

Speaking to Channel Pro, Voccola (pictured) says that while the software vendor continues to swell its ranks with MSP customers, the firm made mistakes when communicating with customers.

“We absolutely lost our way in terms of communicating with the MSP market. I’ve talked to customers, press, analysts and just about every employee in the company, and the universal message is clear: people don’t know what the heck we’re doing,” he comments.

Voccola says that since taking the reins at the software company last month he has fielded a number of questions over the company’s commitment to MSPs, as well as the company’s future.

“I was floored,” he says. “I realised we’d made some marketing mistakes; some blatant things that organisations should not do. We weren’t aggressive in forcing the market to know what we’re doing. For example, the fact we spend more on R&D than a lot of our customers do in revenue.

“We’ve spent well north of $30m in the last 12 months on R&D….Our revenue base is 95 percent MSP – we’ve added hundreds of new MSP customers in the last six months alone. No-one knows that.”

Voccola is adamant that the vendor proactively helps its customers grow their businesses, pointing to Kaseya’s customer success programme, which it has had in place for seven years and was recently updated with $4m investment in additional features.

“It is an absolutely redefined programme…that not only involves product engineering support, but also the account management organisation so for the first time you’ve got much-more joined up customer, even into finance, billing,” explains Spencer Young, vice president, Kaseya international.

Mud slinging

Voccola has also promised to defend the company from false allegations that he claims originate with rival software firms.

“It comes from is lazy marketing and lazy selling on behalf of certain companies, because as market leader we’re there to be punished,” comments Young, who admits Kaseya should have done more to defend itself against the accusations.

“We have renewal rates in excess of 95 percent in the UK; that’s not a company that is haemorrhaging customers or losing significant revenues,” he says. “The growth that we’re seeing in the MSP market is record levels – the last two quarters it’s been record levels – 25 percent growth in additional revenue in existing customers.”

Says Voccola: “There’s a school of thought that says ‘take the high ground’ and is someone says something bad about you, you turn the other cheek – we took that to an extreme. We’re were a little arrogant in thinking, ‘we’re Kaseya, we don’t have to address this.’

Voccola singles out rival LabTech, which he says sent an email claiming to have taken 500 of Kaseya’s customers in the US. “I’m like, ‘is that true?’ I looked into it and it’s mathematically impossible. It’s from a sales organisation that wants more market share.

“There’s a hundred examples of things I’ve discovered in my month here – fabricated customers going into our community site and stating untruths. It’s been unfortunate.”

He continues: “But instead of coming out and saying ‘XYZ lied, the statement’s not true, here are the facts…’ we thought, ‘no-one’s going to believe it anyway. You know what? People believe stuff like that.”

Cloudy rumours

Voccola was also keen to address rumours that Kaseya was looking to force customers to a cloud-only solution. While 70 percent of new customers opt for the cloud version of Kaseya’s IT management software, he states: “To be 100,000 percent clear, there is no intention to go away from on-premise, and there is no plan to force migrate people to some futuristic cloud platform, for people who don’t want to go to the cloud. I’ve had people say this to me. There will be feature-parity for the on-premise and the cloud offering; we are not going to go away from that because it doesn’t make sense to go away from that.”

He adds: “Do we find more and more customers want a cloud offering? Absolutely. [But] a substantial number of our customers are on-premise. How can we be an ethical company if we said we’re going to force you to run your business differently? What a dumb commercial decision. It’s absolutely not the case.”

The CEO says that in the future, instead of coming out swinging at any accusations by its rivals, Kaseya will “come out blocking, defending. We’re going to state the truth.”

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.