It's been nearly a year since eFolder merged with Axcient and named Matt Nachtrab CEO. So how has the MSP-centric backup and disaster recovery (BDR) company been performing in the market? The anecdotal evidence shows eFolder gaining more momentum with MSPs, but there's more work to be done.
Although exact figures are undisclosed, MSP retention numbers and sales figures are "way up," according to Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Cummings. The first quarter of 2018, he adds, had a fantastic finish. And more channel initiatives will surface around Q3, adds VP of Worldwide Channels Jason Bystrak.
eFolder's Top Five Partner Priorities
The duo sat down with ChannelE2E during Ingram Micro Cloud Summit earlier this month near Miami, Florida. They arrived ready to talk strategy, execution and MSP engagement. Looking ahead, Nachtrab is rallying the company and its partner base around five key points, according to Bystrak. They include:
1. Rise Up: That's the overall rally cry. Everyone within the company is responsible for ensuring the world knows eFolder develops bulletproof IP solutions.
2. Increase Intimacy: Here, the goal is to work even more closely with MSPs and partners. An example involves hiring VP of MSP Best Practices Tom Watson, and strengthening relationships with such companies as ConnectWise and Ingram Micro -- and their associated partner bases. "Our spike in retention and growth have not been focused on selling," Bystrak says. "Instead, it's all about enabling." And eFolder has been hiring more folks to focus on those MSP enablement efforts, he adds.
2. Become One: eFolder has a lengthy list of products and services for MSPs. Instead of having multiple faces and voices, eFolder must work as a single company with a single voice -- across product development, sales, support and more -- as it works to empower all partners.
4. Become Known: "Everyone knows a bit about eFolder -- but perhaps not our full brand and image in the market," Bystrak concedes.
5. Increase Financial Health: Everyone is accountable for the profitable growth of eFolder, he adds.
Big Opportunities, Big Market, Big Competition
eFolder's five-point strategy arrives at a key time. Although the overall data protection market is growing, the rising tide won't lift all boats. Among the sectors worth watching:
- MSP Sector: Within the MSP-centric market, eFolder faces intense competition from such names as Datto and Barracuda MSP (the former Intronis). Also, MSP platform companies like Continuum, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP own and promote their own backup platforms.
- IT Channel: Across the broader IT channel, names like Acronis and StorageCraft are prepping partner initiatives for the second half of 2018.
- Midmarket and Enterprise: In the midmarket, Carbonite is preparing a disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) platform that will launch later this year. In the enterprise, Veeam is growing fast.
- Public Cloud Services: And in the public cloud sector, CloudBerry Lab is empowering MSPs to leverage AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and additional alternatives to safeguard customer data.
Amid all those moves, some data protection vendors are struggling to keep pace and/or evolve toward cloud-centric business models. In recent weeks, Commvault announced a reorganization, layoff plans, and a the search for a new CEO. Similarly, new Veritas CEO Greg Hughes is cutting staff and realigning the company around subscription services.
eFolder's Next Moves
Meanwhile, eFolder isn't resting on its laurels. Although the company's overall business pendulum is swinging in the right direction, "that's not enough," Bystrak concedes. "It's not enough to say you're partner centric. We have to walk the walk."
True to form, eFolder won't be walking alone. For instance, the company is rekindling a relationship with Ingram. That partnership, originally built by Axcient, went somewhat dormant when Axcient began focusing on midmarket end-customers in the 2016 timeframe or so. But the foundation for rapid success with eFolder and the Ingram partner base is there, according to Bystrak. And he should know. Before joining eFolder earlier this year, Bystrak spent his career at Ingram, where he helped to pioneer the distributor's cloud partnerships.
The company also has developed a product roadmap based on focus groups. And a partner advisory council is providing constant feedback to the company.
Private Equity Best Practices
eFolder is owned by K1, a private equity firm. Admittedly, some private equity firms micromanage their portfolio companies -- stripping out costs and boosting profits without properly investing in the business.
However, K1 manages to a different set of KPIs (key performance indicators), according to Cummings. Among the most important KPIs:
- Net promoter score (NPS) from customers.
- Customer and partner retention figures.
It sounds like eFolder's compensation plans are aligned specifically with those KPIs. And as those KPIs rise within any business, the result typically triggers growing revenues and profits for the overall company, Cummings says.
Of course, all business plans and teams evolve over time. Cummings, for instance, succeeded former CRO Adam Slutskin earlier this year. Slutskin exited the Denver-based firm in order to spend more time with family in Florida. He laid the foundation in 2017 for eFolder's sales momentum in early 2018. Cummings, meanwhile, has hit the ground running while bringing more of those K1 best practices into the halls of eFolder.
I suspect eFolder will pull back the curtain a bit more on its product and partner strategy at ConnectWise's event.