Business continuity, Midmarket, Content, Storage

Commvault CEO Vows Return to Growth, SaaS Backup for Partners

Commvault CEO Sanjay Mirchandani offered a business and partner progress report during the data protection company's Q1 fiscal 2020 earnings call today.

Sanjay Mirchandani, CEO, Commvault
Commvault CEO Sanjay Mirchandani.

Although Commvault's latest revenue and earnings results were short of Wall Street's expectations, Mirchandani says the data protection company is making progress with:

  • simplified and improved execution;
  • new executive hires in key roles;
  • a newly launched partner program; and
  • a forthcoming SaaS-based, partner-delivered data protection platform that will reach beta testing in August 2019.

Still, Mirchandani conceded: "We’re not pleased with our Q1 results. Rather than making excuses we're going to talk about our progress to-date and why we believe our future is bright. As we stressed on our last call, we have work to do and you will hear on this call that we have taken decisive actions, and believe we are making the right steps to lay the foundation for growth."

Commvault: Getting the Right People On the Bus, In the Right Seats

Mirchandani pointed to multiple hires and existing team members -- including:

  • Chief Revenue Officer Riccardo Di Blasio;
  • VP of Customer Success Sandra Hamilton;
  • SVP of New Business Incubation Rob Kaloustian; and
  • VP of Products Ranga Rajagopalan.

On the simplification front, VP Gary Merrill is driving an operation’s team to improve Commvault's tools and analytical capabilities; sales and forecasting processes; partner enablement portal; and internal employee experience, Mirchandani said.

"Simplifying how we do business with our customers and partners will enable us to unlock the full potential of our solutions and increase the value of our customer relationships," Mirchandani adde.

Commvault: Multi-Cloud Is Here, SaaS Service Coming

On the technology front, Commvault customers now manage more than 600 petabytes in the cloud, up from  500 petabytes last quarter. The effort now extends across Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the CEO noted.

The company continues to double down on a hyperscale appliance and various software to protect data on-premises, in a hybrid way, and across multi-cloud environments.

Next up, Commvault will launch a SaaS offering that will allow partners to provision and back up customer systems within minutes,  Mirchandani asserted. The SaaS backup platform, sold exclusively through partners, will reach beta testing in August 2019, he said.

Mirchandani also pointed to a newly launched, simplified partner program -- which debuted in July 2019. "In closing, we expect by dramatically improving our execution, optimizing our program, and continually enhancing our customer experience, Commvault will be the vendor of choice for our customers and partners both today and in the future," he asserted.

Commvault Business Transformation Faces Challenges

Still, Commvault's latest financial results show that the business transformation won't be easy. For its Q1 of fiscal 2020, Commvault reported:

  • Revenue of $162.2 million, down sharply from $176.2 million in the corresponding quarter last year.
  • A net loss of $6.8 million, smaller than the $8.5 million net loss in the corresponding quarter last year.

The results were weaker than Wall Street expected, and Commvault shares declined 11 percent on the news.

The weak showing comes roughly one week after rival Carbonite disclosed business challenges in its own cloud data protection business as well as a search for a new CEO.

Commvault's Key Business Challenges

Among the challenges facing Commvault: The company was late to cloud- and MSP-delivered data protection services. Moreover, a Commvault CEO search to find and hire Mirchandani took far longer than Wall Street pundits expected.

During that CEO search period, numerous rivals gained data protection and secondary storage momentum in the enterprise, on public clouds and in the SMB market. Many of those rivals are either private equity owned or venture backed, which means they can focus on growth without necessarily worrying about profit figures as a top priority each month.

The company has faced new and disruptive competition on multiple fronts from well-funded, privately held names like CohesityDattoDruvaRubrik and Veeam, just to name a few.

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.