New Kaseya CEO Pledges To Fix MSP Shortcomings

New Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola told CRN he is committed to fixing beleaguered relationships with the company's prized MSP partners.

"We are 100,000 percent committed to being the vendor of choice in the MSP market. Period. End of discussion," said Voccola, who took the helm of the Boston-based company Monday.

Voccola, who was previously president and general manager of the Brand Networks division at Yodle -- a New York maker of a distributed marketing automation platform -- replaces former CEO Yogesh Gupta.

Gupta, who will be taking a position as chairman of the board, was the CEO of the cloud-based IT management software provider for the past two years. Under his watch, a number of MSP partners became frustrated with the slow pace of development of the Kaseya platform and the lack of communication from the software provider.

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During his tenure, Gupta oversaw significant business growth and product innovation, including the company’s move to an Agile development model (leading to three product releases per year) and the acquisitions of Scorpion Software, RoverApps and Zyrion, the company said. Kasaya also boosted its cloud business under Gupta, with 70 percent of its new customers last year purchasing its cloud software, contributing to subscription growth of almost 40 percent year over year, according to the company. Kaseya said it also grew its global channel business 40 percent year over year in 2014.

Voccola, for his part, said he believes "Kaseya lost its way," with MSP partners in the past several years. He said he will actively reach out for "input" from MSPs.

Kaseya has invested tens of millions of dollars into the MSP market in the past two years, Voccola said. However, he said, the company has "kept our head in the sand about it" instead of engaging partners. He acknowledged that a lack of communication has led to "a negative perception" with MSPs. "That is going to change massively," he said.

Voccola admitted Kaseya lost much of its traction by not communicating well enough with MSP partners. "Frankly, we haven't over-communicated to our customer base and the markets that we serve what we are doing and why," he said. "That is going to change real quick."

To accomplish that, Voccola said, Kaseya will be rolling out new products in the very near future that will "fundamentally change the experience that an MSP has in providing solutions to their customers." Those products will tie into the new customer success organization that has been rolled out, an area the company is "really investing in."

On top of that, Voccola said, Kaseya will soon launch a new, massive outreach program and an industry relationship program that has yet to be named. The bottom line, Voccola said, is that MSPs are going to see a new Kaseya and a "tremendous community effort" around its MSP partners.

Scott Brown, president of Canton, Ill.-based TimbukTech, a former Kaseya advisory board member, said the change is too little, too late, at least for him. One month ago, Brown said he and a number of other frustrated Kaseya partners moved their business to LabTech, a rival platform provider. The switch came after Kaseya dismantled its advisory board last September.

Brown said he felt that Kaseya had "made it clear" that MSPs were not a priority by consistently missing deadlines and operating with a lack of transparency.

"After over nine years, we decided it was time to get off the platform," Brown said. "I hope the new guy does better."

Voccola said he is determined to make sure that all MSPs know that Kaseya is working "for them and with them." He promised to better understand the needs of MSPs and make sure that everything the company does is "properly marketed, messaged and delivered so they know what we are doing and why."

Before Yodle, he was president at Nolio, an enterprise app deployment and management software maker, acquired by Computer Associates in 2013. Before that he served as co-founder, president and CEO of Trust Technology Corp., sold to FGI Global in 2012, and as co-founder and COO of Identify Software, a $60 million company sold in 2006 to BMC Software, where he then served as vice president of worldwide sales and services until 2009.

Voccola, who drove 100 percent sales growth at Nolio, said he has no intention of selling Kaseya. Instead, he said he is looking forward to changing the Kaseya culture in order to strengthen relationships with MSPs. "I think an IPO is a more likely outcome for this business than a sale," he said.

"Business is simple," he said. "We have customers and we need to make products that our customers want to use."