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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Elizabeth Cholawsky, General Manager of IT Support Product Line, Citrix (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Sep 13th 2012

Because Elizabeth had some exciting news to share with me during the course of our interview together regarding a recent acquisition that Citrix made, I decided to forgo my usual questions and focus instead on the company that was acquired and why Citrix thought it would be a good fit.

Sramana Mitra: Elizabeth, what have you acquired?

Elizabeth Cholawsky: We’re very happy to announce that we’ve acquired Beetil, which is a pure software-as-a-service service tech technology provider. It’s based in Wellington, New Zealand, and has been in the market for only a few years. It’s been quite successful, and its approach to service desk fits in with how we’re seeing the market shift in demand for that product. It’s very exciting.

SM: Would you tell me more about Beetil? It sounds like a very interesting company.

EC: We’ve been looking in this space for a while now because of the trends that you and I just talked about with the increase in all the activity, primarily fostered by mobile work styles. IT just gets overwhelmed. Having an integrated way to track and report on changes is becoming a real demand in our customer and prospect bases. We started looking at the whole market in detail, at companies that were on Gartner’s short list of companies to watch as well as companies like Freshdesk, which we looked at also.

We were looking for a company that occupied a complex space and understood the value of being a cloud-based tool. If you look at the messaging on the Beetil website today, you’ll see that it’s all about taking a complex and what could be an expensive proposition for a company, that of implementing a service desk, down to something cost-effective and even fun. The IT guys can spend all day long in a service desk product, so it’s got to have some interest to them. But the Beetil product covers the whole range of ITIL best practices, all the way from incident tracking through to change and release tracking, as well as asset and inventorying in the tickets and then great reporting and a great UI. We think we’ve got a real diamond there that we think can add a critical piece to what people are looking for with the GoToAssist product.

SM: Very interesting. What kind of revenue threshold had Beetil reached before Citrix snapped it up?

EC: We’re not talking about any of that, especially with a public company. We can’t disclose that kind of detailed information on a product line. Beetil’s been out selling in the market for a couple of years now and has around 100 customers. It has an SMB base, but its customers range up to some very large ones. You can see that on Beetil’s website. The customer growth has been impressive. The company’s been growing primarily through word of mouth. It’s just been through people telling other people in the industry that Beetil’s gained the traction that it has.

SM: How did Beetil come onto your radar, since it’s a New Zealand company?

EC: Through search, using keywords like “service desk” that will turn up companies like Beetil and others. But Gartner follows it off and on, on its list of companies that are notable to watch. We discovered that along the way and thought it was an interesting company.

SM: Do you have anything to add in terms of what we can expect to see in terms of integration? Did the company remain in New Zealand? How do you plan to integrate this?

EC: I think the most interesting thing to think about is how it’s going to be integrated with our solution. There’s a lot to talk about there. You can imagine that this is day one of the integration, so our plan is to really put our heads together and the developers together before we come out with some things that will be on the market and that we’ll be able to discuss in detail. So, [maybe] later in September 2012 or early October we’ll be able to provide a lot more detail about the integration of the product and also the strategy behind it, how we’re going sell, price points, and all of those things.

SM: How many people does the company have?

EC: We’re not disclosing that right now. Beetil has about 100 customers, it’s been selling for a couple of years. The site will give you a lot of details about the feature function of the product and the price points that the company’s been selling at.

SM: I’m trying to gauge … where is Beetil selling to?

EC: The product itself has been built from an easy use perspective and being sold online. That attracts a lot of SMB companies, but it’s aptly meeting the needs of some large customers. Nordstrom’s is a customer that has used the product extensively as well as ITV in the U.K. That’s the other thing that I think you might be interested in. The traction that Beetil has gotten is worldwide. So, it’s kind of a third, a third, a third: a third North America, a third in the rest of the world, and a third in Europe. That’s with a product that’s only in English today. People find it and start using it and adopting it more broadly in their companies.

SM: What does this do to your view of the cloud service desk market that we had the lengthy discussion on earlier?

EC: We think there’s a lot of opportunity there as people realize the benefit they get from a pure cloud-based play and making something easier to use.

SM: I was asking more from a competitive landscape point of view. You have a reasonably complete solution. Salesforce.com has a reasonably complete sales solution. Any others that you see in that space? Service Now and what others?

EC: Service Now, and BMC with the RemedyForce product is an interesting player. There’s a lot of room, though. The size of the market is in the billions of dollars. There’s a lot of room for a different product in there. And there are going to be some companies like Service Now that seem focused on the enterprise play. I suspect BMC will do the same thing. We’ll be in the same market but coming up with different value propositions than those companies.

SM: All right. Well, congratulations. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

EC: Thank you very much.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Elizabeth Cholawsky, General Manager of IT Support Product Line, Citrix
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