You're better known in the industry as the ex-CTO of CA. Tell us more about your three decade long career and your journey till kaseya.
Gupta: My journey has been interesting. I started as a programmer in the 80's. I handled marketing when I was in CA in the 90s for the product called Unicenter. It did well, so did my marketing career in CA. I did worldwide marketing for CA in late 90s. I also ended up running strategy for CA in between before becoming its CTO. I later ran mergers and acquisitions for CA, during which time CA acquired 18 companies. But I always wanted to run my company and got an opportunity to serve as the CEO of Fatwire, a web content management company. The shift to social media was just starting. It got really successful and Oracle bought over that company in 2011. I stayed with them for 10 months and left. I took some time off and got back to software space in end of 2012. That was when the new Kaseya investors were looking at having a new person to head the company.<p><a href="http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=77D2FD47-DF0C-5148-FDC846F72E93F5DE" style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Also read: IT spending and budgets will continue to decrease: Kaseya</span></a>
What has changed since you took over the reins?
Gupta: A number of things have changed. We have a new management team. Besides, Kaseya's development methodology earlier was the regular 'water-fall' strategy with long product cycles. Sometimes we took two years to deliver a new release. Post the changes, we decided to implement agile methodology for development. We are now committed to delivering three releases every year. The engineering team has responded wonderfully. We released the VSA 6.5 in end of January. The 7.0 version is due in end of May. We will have another release in September. We are now able to communicate with our customers and show them our product roadmap and provide them a 'three release' visibility. We have implemented a brand new customer service and support infrastructure. I believe that customer experience is paramount for an enterprise software company like ours. We doubled our effort on customer service and support and as a result, the number of trouble tickets we receive on a monthly basis had dropped 50 percent. We also improved our focus toward cloud business. Today, 20 percent of our entire customer base is on cloud model. Interestingly, in the last 6 months, we added more than 500 customers and almost 60 percent of them chose our cloud offering.So, as a technologist, you have certainly given more priority to innovation and product development. But you also approved some acquisitions. What was the rationale?
Gupta: It is important to innovate and get ahead of the curve. But if the company has missed on something, it's better to fill that gap quickly. Kaseya's vision is to be a holistic management solution for the mid-market, that's offered through the cloud. One of the components that was missing in this 'holistic' vision was the management of public and hybrid cloud infrastructures. <a href="http://www.kaseya.com/resources/press-releases/en/pr-20130709-kaseya-acquires-zyrion" how we acquired Zyrion</a>. The next thing was mobile. We saw mobile coming, and we did build an MDM solution. But MDM works well when the device is owned by the corporate. But BYOD meant that we need to take a different approach to corporate data. So the acquisition of Rover App enabled us to have containerized approach to MDM. We also wanted capabilities around managing SaaS apps and went on to acquire 365 Command for managing Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions. We have already hit a million mail boxes with this product.
Kaseya's promises to offer a solution that can manage the entire infrastructure and IT operations, including cloud, on-premise, hybrid, virtualized and distributed environments, from one place. Sounds too good to be true. How are you going to make this possible?
Gupta: Today, we have not integrated all our products. There is a single integrated console for the public, private and hybrid cloud management from the <a href="http://www.kaseya.com/resources/media-mentions/en/mm-20131009-2-kaseya-now-lets-msps-offer-single-pane-infrastructure-monitoring" portfolio</a>. We also have a single console for internal server and client management. The BYOD still is a separate console. That's going to get integrated very soon. The 365 Command again is separate. So today we have four different consoles, the first two being the biggest consoles. We will integrate all the four.But how will you approach the interoperability factor? We must not forget that interoperability in cloud especially is a distant reality.
Gupta: It works with the popular platforms. For instance, one of our customers asked whether we would manage their Windows CE devices. We said, 'we can, but we won't'. The reason is even Microsoft has stopped supporting windows CE. They had 300,000 windows CE devices. That will be a great opportunity for us from a sales perspective. But it does not make strategic sense to us. So we do the popular end points, public cloud infrastructures, virtualization technologies and so on. We would be supporting the top three in all these environments and some from the next three. The matrix is a bit complex actually. The other thing is we are not planning to sell it to the largest enterprises. Our focus is mid-market companies, which by definition have less heterogeneity. We think if we support the top 3 to 5 platforms in all environments, a mid-size company will certainly see huge value in the product. Besides, our platform is built on open architecture. So the customers can always integrate it with whichever platform they want, even if we don't do it for them.So heterogeneity complexity is the only reason why you don't want go after large enterprises? Gupta: It is one of the reasons. Besides, most of these companies already have a bunch management tools. It is difficult to convince them to replace all of that for a whole new holistic management suite. It's possible to integrate our product with other management products. But they don't really talk to each other well. Each company has its own release and competing offerings. So, integrating non-competing technologies is easy. However, a mid-market company that grows out and become large is a great customer for us, because they are already on the holistic management path. The large enterprises on the other hand struggle with this.From a RMM company, Kaseya now transformed itself into an automation company. Why such a change?
Gupta: RMM will continue to be important, but that is not enough. Business users are not really concerned about what in IT is working and what is not working. They want to improve productivity. This means that the problem of IT management is a holistic automation problem. It's not just about silos of devices, servers, or network. And this was a transition that was ignited by the founding team. The new team was able to successfully take it forward.Kaseya's growth had slowed down after 2010. Were you able to re-accelerate the growth after challenging couple of years? Gupta: The scenario now is good. We had two good quarters. I know it's not good enough, because I am looking at a long term plan. In 5-10 years, we want to be USD 1 billion enterprise Software Company. As I said, we added more than 500 new customers in the second half of the fiscal. Our subscription bookings were up more than 50 percent. The cloud model and agile development methods allow us to be much more relevant in the market place. That's the key foundation of our growth. We now have a very focused sales effort. Besides, we are focused on growing our cloud subscription business. That's is our long term vision for the company. The world is or at least our market is going to move to the cloud. We are also trying to improve upon our marketing efforts. I think our marketing was not as good as it could have been.
How are you planning to improve your mindshare among the end-user community, considering you mostly sold to MSPs in the past? Gupta: MSPs are still very important to us and we want them to understand that they can start offering higher levels of services to customers. We also are trying to reach out directly to customers. Our marketing program now focuses on CIOs and IT directors. We are also improving our focus on channels in markets like India, to reach out to customers.Will you be having someone on board to head the India operations? It has been more than two years since your previous country manger exited. Gupta: We are not looking at having one person who heads all aspects of the company. The engineering team here, for instance, reports to the global CTO directly. Similarly, the sales team reports to the head of sales. So India won't have a single head role in that sense. That will make the India entity a company by itself. It's a geography which is critical to the company. We don't have a single head role even in markets like US. Having said that, we have a very strong leadership team in India with people responsible for the growth of various divisions namely services, development and SaaS business. I don't see that structure changing in India.
Radhika Nallayam is special correspondent for ComputerWorld India. Send your feedback to email@example.com. Follow Radhika on Twitter at @radhikanallayam.