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Mark Cattini’s Third Big Exit: Salesforce Acquires ClickSoftware for $1.35B

ClickSoftware VP of Product Pat Burns, an Autotask veteran
ClickSoftware VP of Product Pat Burns, an Autotask veteran
Mark Cattini, SVP of field service, Salesforce

Salesforce is acquiring field service management software provider ClickSoftware for $1.35 billion. Rumors about the deal have swirled off and on since January 2019.

This is ClickSoftware CEO Mark Cattini's third major M&A exit in roughly a decade. He previously led and sold MapInfo to Pitney Bowes for $408 million in 2007, and then led and sold Autotask to private equity in 2014 before a tuck-in deal with Datto arrived in 2017.

Cattini exited Autotask when the Datto deal was announced, and then joined ClickSoftware as CEO in February 2018. Not long after, Autotask veteran Pat Burns joined the company as senior VP of product in April 2018.

Salesforce Acquires Click Software: Field Service Management Strategy

Fast forward to present day. The Salesforce-ClickSoftware deal will further blend Salesforce's Field Service Lightning platform with ClickSoftware offerings to "lead the way to the future of field service," the two companies said. The duo has partnered since Field Service Lightning launched in 2016.

In a prepared statement about the deal, Bill Patterson, EVP and GM of Salesforce Service Cloud, said:

“Delivering exceptional field service is an increasingly important priority for companies across industries with more than 70 percent of customer service leaders making significant investments to transform their mobile workforce. Our acquisition of ClickSoftware will not only accelerate the growth of Service Cloud, but drive further innovation with Field Service Lightning to better meet the needs of our customers. We are thrilled to welcome the ClickSoftware team to Salesforce.”

Added Cattini:

“Our mission has been clear since the beginning—to be the global leader in field service management and deliver significant value to our customers. Joining Salesforce provides a tremendous opportunity to accelerate this vision As a part of Salesforce, we will be able to innovate faster, enabling our joint customers to deliver even better experiences to their customers. This is an exciting milestone, and I look forward to what we’ll deliver to our respective customers as one company after close.”

The acquisition is expected to close during Salesforce's fiscal quarter ending October 31, 2019, the company indicated in an SEC filing.

Mark Cattini: The Magic SaaS Touch?

Cattini has a knack for focusing and accelerating SaaS businesses in ways that other executives often overlook.

One prime example: Autotask largely competed head-on against ConnectWise in the PSA (professional services automation) software market through 2010 or so. At the time, much of the showdown involved MSP-centric user groups in North America.

Autotask certainly enjoyed momentum in that period, but the business accelerated significantly once Cattini arrived as CEO in December 2010. His strategy involved extending Autotask beyond its Microsoft-centric code for true cloud and cross-platform browser functionality. Also, his software and product teams -- with strong influence from Pat Burns -- localized Autotask's code for multiple international markets, giving the company a jump on ConnectWise in multiple countries.

Private Equity firm Vista Equity Partners acquired Autotask in 2014, and then tucked the company into Datto in 2017. For its part, ConnectWise also maintained strong growth and was acquired by Thoma Bravo in early 2019.

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.