Autotask Names Mark Cattini CEO; More Executive Hires Coming

Autotask, the professional services automation (PSA) specialist, has named Mark Cattini (pictured) as CEO. But that doesn't mean Autotask Founder and former CEO Bob Godgart is heading for the exit. Indeed, Godgart says he personally recruited Cattini to Autotask. Now, Godgart shifts to a new position (Chief Visionary Officer) to focus on innovation, while Cattini focuses on growing Autotask's business. The new roles are part of an ongoing executive team expansion at Autotask. Here's the scoop, plus FastChat Videos with Godgart and Cattini, and MSPmentor's analysis.

Here's the situation: Although privately held, Autotask should generate about $20 million or so in revenues for 2010, according to a March 2010 article in the Albany Business Review. All of that revenue comes from a SaaS business model (see related TalkinCloud article: Can Autotask Deliver big SaaS Growth?)

Godgart thinks recruiting Mark Cattini as CEO is a key move that will deliver growth. Cattini previously oversaw business units within Pitney Bowes that generated roughly $200 million in annual revenues. In 2007, Cattini was CEO of MapInfo, which Pitney Bowes acquired for $408 million. More recently, Cattini was CEO of Awareness Inc., a social media software company in Massachusetts.

Meet Mark Cattini

What makes Cattini tick and why did he join Autotask? He provides some answers in this FastChat Video:

Officially, Cattini joined Autotask earlier this month as CEO. A public news announcement is expected today (December 17, 2010). But this is more than an isolated CEO change. Autotask has been investing in talent lately. Senior VP of Global Sales Kevin Donovan joined the company a few months ago. Autotask is expected to hire its first CFO (Chief Financial Officer) within the next few weeks. And more talent moves could be coming soon.

I asked Cattini point-blank if he and the potential CFO hire would prep Autotask for a near-term company sale. Cattini said that wasn't the case, and he's committed to work with Godgart to grow Autotask's assets, revenues and customer base for the long-haul. Cattini offered the usual qualifier, saying that it's impossible to predict if or when unsolicited takeover offers surface. But throughout our conversation, Cattini expressed a long-term view for Autotask.

Where Can Autotask Innovate?

Meanwhile, Godgart seems eager to roll up his sleeves and focus on R&D. He shares those thoughts and explains why Autotask hired Cattini in this FastChat Video:

The Biggest Rival of All: Non-Adopters

Together, Cattini and Godgart hope to solve a riddle that has plagued the overall managed services market. It goes something like this:
From 2008 to mid-2009, Autotask and ConnectWise seemed to be locked in a war to recruit customers (MSPs) away from one another. But the mindset within both ConnectWise and Autotask seems to have evolved over the past year or two.

By acquiring VARStreet earlier this year, Autotask believes it can attract a broader customer base -- all types of resellers that need to more effectively source IT products for customers. Meanwhile, ConnectWise Capital (an investment arm of ConnectWise) has pushed into hardware as a service (CharTec) and remote monitoring and management (LabTech Software). Instead of talking about rivals during media briefings, ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini seems focused on protecting MSPs and VARs from cloud computing vendors that want to sell direct to end-customers.

My point is this: ConnectWise and Autotask still compete aggressively with one another and with Tigerpaw Software. It's fierce competition. But I think executive leaders across the managed services industry are taking a step back from the MSP niche and striving to think bigger. Much bigger. Bellini and Jennine Edwards, director of ConnectWise Community, are busy building IT Nation. Cattini and Godgart are searching for ways to engage the entire IT channel. And RMM (remote monitoring and management) software companies are pushing in new directions.

The Autotask CEO Change

During an interview at Autotask's East Greenbush, N.Y., headquarters, Cattini and Godgart seemed at ease working with one another. Godgart refers to Cattini as a "professional CEO" who will focus on day-to-day growth strategies, freeing up Godgart to focus on innovation. It sounds simple enough. But can Godgart really let go of the day-to-day responsibilities within a company he launched a decade ago? We'll be watching for answers.

Meanwhile, Cattini says he joined Autotask for a number of reasons -- chief among them: the culture, the growth prospects and the customer engagements. Plus, the location certainly didn't hurt. Cattini had been commuting from Albany, N.Y., to his previous job in Massachusetts. Joining Autotask, which is located near Albany, eliminates that commute.

Preparing for 2011

With an eye toward long-term growth, plenty of MSP-centric software companies are making executive moves ahead of the New Year. In addition to the changes at Autotask:
And more moves could be coming in the next week or two... (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

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