A decade after launching Autotask, former CEO Bob Godgart wrapped up his final day at the company today. Although Godgart remains chairman of the PSA software provider, he no longer has a day-to-day role at Autotask. Here's the update and some perspectives on Godgart's legacy in the managed services market.
Out on FaceBook, Godgart offered up the following statement earlier today:
"Wow - retirement day is here! For the last 10 years, I put everything into making Autotask a successful market leader. Now it's time for a break while I play Chairman for Autotask & CompTIA. We couldn’t have made it this far without the support I’ve have had. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you. With fond memories and visions of success, let’s continue to build a great Community!"
Helping to Build an IndustryNow, just the facts. Godgart launched Autotask in an Albany mansion roughly a decade ago. Autotask ultimately created 200 jobs. Over the past five years or so, PSA (professional services automation) software and RMM (remote monitoring and management) software emerged as the Word and Excel of the managed services market. Together, PSA and RMM gave aspiring MSPs the one-two punch they needed to proactively manage customers networks for recurring monthly revenues. Autotask certainly benefited from the PSA trend. In an interview with an Albany newspaper in 2010, Godgart said the company was pushing toward roughly $20 million in annual revenues.
Of course, technology companies need adversaries. Microsoft has Apple. IBM has HP. And in the PSA market, Autotask and ConnectWise have been fierce rivals in recent years. Yes, MSPmentor has been guilty of stirring the pot from time to time. But ultimately, we just reported the facts... ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini and Autotask's Godgart were fierce competitors. Bellini likened it to Sundays in the NFL... stating that healthy competition ultimately benefited everyone in the stands. In this case the benefactors were VARs and MSPs turning to ConnectWise, Autotask, Tigerpaw Software and other PSA solutions.
More recently,ConnectWise and Autotask have spent less time talking about each other in the market. And Godgart is spending more time focused on his other role... chairman of CompTIA -- the Computing Technology Industry Association.
Silent ExitDuring the Autotask Community Live conference last week in Miami, many attendees didn't realize that Godgart was fully stepping away from the company. But Godgart confirmed the news multiple times. During a sit-down at the conference, I asked Godgart to recap some of his personal highs and lows at Autotask.
Early on, he said, the financial pressures took their toll. Godgart says he personally opened his checkbook in March 2001 to help get Autotask going. During the early years, he added, Autotask was the "Noah's Ark" of software. "We had 100 customers in 50 different markets; we had two of everyone," recalls Godgart. But gradually, Autotask spotted the opportunity to focus entirely on IT automation. By 2004, Autotask raised venture capital and was headed for the channel, Godgart recalls.
Among the highs, Godgart says, was recruiting key talent into Autotask -- especially in the past year. "We worked really hard to get [Senior VP of Global Sales] Kevin [Donovan] and [CFO] Vince [Zumbo]. But the one I'm most proud of, other than [CEO] Mark [Cattini] was getting [Senior VP Jay] McBain."
How long will Godgart remain Autotask's chairman? "I'll be there as long as I'm asked to be there," said Godgart to me last week.
And what's his next day-to-day business move? There's some speculation Godgart may launch some sort of social business media company for the channel. But Godgart declined to discuss the speculation, preferring to keep the spotlight on the Autotask Community Live conference during our interview.
Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.