Channel technologies, IT management, MSP

Kaseya Reality Check: Part 2

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Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola
CEO Fred Voccola

When Kaseya announced several business milestones earlier this month, ChannelE2E wrote a Kaseya turnaround reality check and also pursued an interview with CEO Fred Voccola. Fast forward a few days. We've since spoken with Voccola and Chief Customer Officer Alex Cuevas. Here's what we heard, along with ChannelE2E's perspectives.

On the one hand, Kaseya wants to communicate that it's more than an RMM (remote monitoring and management) software company. Kaseya's revenue streams back up that claim. But on the other hand, Kaseya also wants to simplify its messaging -- getting back to basics and back in front of MSPs (managed services providers).

Quite a lot has apparently changed since Voccola arrived as CEO in July 2o15 and Chief Customer Officer Alex Cuevas joined in August 2015. The duo -- and the broader Kaseya -- have been working overtime to mend fences with MSPs that felt the company either (A) lost its way or (B) went soft on innovation or (C) had poor customer support in recent years.

Kaseya: Signs of Progress

There are signs of progress. Kaseya has launched global partner and customer advisory councils, and Voccola in November confirmed that Kaseya is growing again.

Voccola knows Kaseya is most closely associated with its VSA platform. But he wants MSPs to see the bigger Kaseya picture. The company generates about $100 million in annual revenues, with $60 million to $65 million or so coming from VSA. Where does the rest come from? "We have a complete IT solution -- a complete infrastructure solution set -- that addresses what an MSP needs," he asserts.

VSA is one big piece of the solution. And Kaseya "took its lumps, learned some lessons and rejuvenated" that piece of the business, he says. But don't overlook the other pieces of the MSP software puzzle -- including identity as a service, unified monitoring and Office 365 management. There, he points to Kaseya offerings like AuthAnvil, Traverse and 365 Command. Demand and consumption of those products, "have been exploding," Voccola asserts.

"We believe we have the full stack of what an MSP needs to compete," he adds. "Especially as you go into vertical markets, from a simple dental practice to more complex customer sets" where compliance is front-of-mind.

If you look at Kaseya's latest sales, the data seems to reinforce Voccola's points about product diversity. About 55 to 60 percent of the sales involved VSA for RMM (remote monitoring and management) services. But 80 percent of the deals involved VSA and additional Kaseya solutions. Other deals involved one or more specific Kaseya offerings outside of VSA.

For instance, the company has added more than 200 MSPs to its 365 Command user base in recent months, he says. That toolset, Voccola says, helps to reduce end-customer churn as businesses move from on-premises Exchange and Microsoft Office toward cloud-based Office 365 services, he says.

Of course, Kaseya faces plenty of competition on each of its product fronts, where numerous companies now offer identity management, network-level monitoring and cloud management tools for Office 365 and more.

Global Customer Service, MSP Face Time

Roughly 5o percent of Kaseya's revenues come from outside the United States. And every executive within the company is now required to meet with a specific number of MSPs per month. "Not just the big MSPs," says Voccola. "We're meeting MSP customers of all sizes to make sure we have conversations about where the market is going, while gathering viewpoints from all customer sizes."

Alex Cuevas

That's where Chief Customer Officer Alex Cuevas enters the picture. In recent months, he has helped the company to "standardize" its cadence with MSPs -- developing best practices for customer outreach, touch points, net promoter scores, communities, in-person meetings, and more.

Asked to describe the biggest Kaseya changes in recent months, Cuevas offers a simple answer: "We're listening. I can guarantee, at least since I've been here, he's now in our DNA to listen." That penchant to listen has inspired Cuevas to travel worldwide -- meeting MSPs in New York, Ireland and New Zealand (among other locations) in recent months. "When you meet face to face, you gather the right intelligence on how to service them even better," he asserts.

Kaseya: Looking Ahead, And Looking Back

So what's ahead? To reiterate, Kaseya wants to keep things simple. Voccola, for instance, once to drive home the point that a complete MSP solution involves more than RMM and PSA. Again, he points to the cloud, identity management and unified management tools that Kaseya also offers. He also wants to make sure the MSP World knows exactly how Kaseya can help them to grow their businesses.

ChannelE2E's reaction? Generally speaking, it sounds like the company has made progress stabilizing its business, listening to MSPs and diversifying its revenue streams in recent months.

But there's plenty more work to be done. I don't blame any single leader or owner for Kaseya losing its way between 2012 or so through early 2015 or so. A perfect storm of challenges -- coupled with poor transitional leadership -- caused some of Kaseya's installed base to seek greener pastures in recent years.

Think of it this way:

  • 2010-2012: First, Kaseya's original founders had to overhaul (A) the company's software and (B) the company's licensing model for cloud computing and subscription-based pricing. Those were huge endeavors. Then, those owners had to fend off aggressive pricing and R&D from surprise rivals like ConnectWise, which invested in LabTech Software in 2010.
  • 2012-2014: Here, Kaseya's original owners were shopping the company to potential suitors, with Insight Venture Partners acquiring the business in 2013. That led to a CEO change and more product acquisitions. Frankly, it was too much change -- ownership, leadership, employees, product diversity -- too soon. Further complicating matters, a midmarket corporate IT push further strained Kaseya's relationships with some MSPs.
  • 2015: A CEO change,  and a major focus on customer support arrives.

Bottom line: The media (myself included) often paints companies as "all good" or "all bad." Kaseya was never all good. It was never all bad. But quality and focus certainly dipped in recent years as leaders, employees and business plans came and went. Over the past three months or so, there are signs that Kaseya's overall health -- and commitment to MSPs -- have improved.

Oh, and one more public service announcement: I suspect another move is coming... pretty... soon... apparently.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.