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Veeam Sets The Stage For Act II

Veeam has confidently moved to center stage to begin what it calls its Act II with a series of announcements at its annual VeeamON conference, held entirely online this year.

“It is a bigger focus on enterprise. That’s where we have to go. That’s where our competition is,” said Bill Largent, CEO Veeam. Largent was promoted into the CEO role as part of the $5 billion acquisition of Veeam by Insight Partners in March 2020.

Veeam has expanded its product offerings to support more enterprise features, including support for NetApp ONTAP snapshots, orchestration and testing of business continuity/disaster recovery; backup, recovery, and eDiscovery of documents and files inside Microsoft Teams; and support for low-cost archive tier storage in AWS Glacier Deep Archive and Microsoft Azure Blog Storage Archive Tier. It has also expanded support for its Instant Recovery feature to support Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases.

Veeam had attempted a fairly aggressive move towards the enterprise previously, but didn’t quite garner the success it had hoped for in the time it allowed itself. I see this as more an issue of trying to reposition too quickly from its existing strong position in SMB and Commercial. Establishing credibility with an enterprise audience takes time.

Veeam has now done a lot of the groundwork to make more credible claims to be an enterprise-suitable option, though more work remains, much of it internal to the company. Simultaneously appealing to multiple different market segments—SMB, Commercial, and Enterprise—is a difficult if not impossible task, and one I raised with co-founder, and then-CEO, Ratmir Timashev back in 2015.

Largent seems to be carefully tweaking Veeam’s structure to support this multi-segment approach, trying to delicately manage the tradeoffs without losing the inherent Veeaminess that the existing customer base of over 375,000 customers has come to know and love.

“It may split at the go-to-market strategy level soon,” said Largent. “We’ve got great input from our solutions architects and our product managers to keep the product coming up together as one, but I do see go-to-market separating inside Veeam.”

The story from Veeam is very much about internal realignment of operational details to support the strategy, which highlights Largent’s experience as Executive Vice President (EVP), Operations prior to taking on the CEO position. Supporting the change to portable licensing required difficult internal changes but they were necessary to achieve the outcome, according to Largent.

“It was an ugly process, but we knew we had to go with that route,” Largent said. “We wanted to be first to get there and we wanted customers to like it. It may have hurt profitability, but that really hasn’t been our focus. Our focus historically has always been market share, make a customer happy, get a customer.”

Largent outlined several areas of change, including moving to a more cloud-like continuous release cycle instead of periodic large releases, broadening and deepening relationships with global systems integrators, and starting to make acquisitions rather than focusing on building things internally.

He also foreshadowed a potential IPO.

“Is [there] a public offering in the future? I think that’s a majority position versus a minority position,” he said, “Simply because it sets Veeam up for the right thing to do, and to get a currency, meaning shares in the public marketplace, that will be helpful.”

Now that would be an S1 I’d very much like to read.

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