New Auvik CEO Doug Murray looks to broaden channel to address internal IT without losing focus on MSP base

Global expansion beyond North America is another key element of the strategy to take Auvik’s growth to the next level.

Doug Murray, Auvik’s new CEO

Network management software provider Auvik recently announced that Marc Morin, co-founder and CEO, would step down from the CEO role while continuing to serve on the Board of Directors. His replacement as CEO is Doug Murray, who had previously been the CEO of multi-cloud network security company Valtix and of SDN provider Big Switch Networks, which was acquired by Arista in 2020.

Morin’s move to the Board follows the company’s acquisition by equity firm Great Hill Partners in mid-2021, but Murray told ChannelBuzz the move was Morin’s idea.

“The situation in a handover like this from a founder CEO to an incoming one varies based on company dynamics,” he said. “In this case, this was well thought out and planned over the course of the past year. Marc brought the company to where it is today and negotiated the Great Hill relationship. He was also turning 60, and wanted to bring in the right person who would be a good long term fit. He worked closely with the closely with the Great Hill team and looked to people who in terms of growth and background and culture would be a good match. This was a very well thought-out  process. Now he’s on the Board and is quite active.”

Murray enters at a time when Auvik is doing very well, coming off a 40% growth year.

“The company was built as a network management company, and has been a fairly well-run machine that was laser focused on that,” he said. “Can we double and triple our business based solely on that? Absolutely. We do it by expanding how we go to market overall. Today, the vast majority of our business is in North America. One of the ways that we expand that is taking the business to Europe and Asia.”

Auvik also plans to broaden its channel more, as it moves beyond its initial focus on MSPs, to attract partners who sell to IT departments. They plan to add a channel program to better enable their broader partner set next year.

“We are now doing more with channel, and our new CRO, Bob Gault, is very channel-oriented,” Murray said. “Historically MSPs were the core of our foundation – and they still will be. It’s a different type of channel, but it’s still a channel. What we want to do is really augment that to get reach into the reach of end users who are not MSPs, like regional or even national VARs, who we weren’t playing with before. We also want to open doors with larger tech providers, although it’s definitely early days there. There’s clearly a market for us in that area. It will help us expand into areas like SLED, which we don’t sell into today. It’s a great opportunity and we are looking to get partners in that space, and establish thought leadership there over the course of the next year.”

Auvik has acquired three small companies in the last year, Saaslio, Boardgent, and MetaGeek, which have, in theory, the capability to expand the spaces in which they play, and bring them competition with the RMM/PSA providers who they have worked with in the past, as well as with SaaS management vendors. Murray said this was not really their intent however.

“We see them as a way to augment our channel today,” he indicated. “Saaslio, the most recent acquisition, is SaaS management, and will be used to assist with managing our SaaS applications, although we spent a lot of time looking at adjacent segments. We expect to add additional features going forward, some through smaller tuck-in acquisitions like these three, and some of which we will build ourselves.”

Strategic vendor partnerships aren’t as important in their Go-to-Market.

“That hasn’t been as significant in the broader sense,” Murray said. “We do integrations with companies like ServiceNow, and we manage about 700 vendors in our infrastructure. The ability to have that is important, but it has been more on the ISV side. Our expansion of Go-to-Market is focused on internal IT using  resellers.”

Murray said that multiple factors augur continued strong growth for Auvik.

“To Marc’s credit, one of the strengths of the company was how laser focused it was – on network management, on the MSP focus, on North America. Now it’s time to broaden all of that out and to take it to internal IT.  All of that comes together to create a growth machine where we can take the company over the next 3-5 years. We have added more than 100 people in 2022 despite the macroeconomic headwinds. Those issues make customers look for simplicity and automation, and ways to drive down costs. So for us it has been a very successful year.”

Murray said, in considering Auvik’s goals for the year ahead, that they expect continued success.

“I’m still the new guy, and I have been spending my first 90 days listening to both customers and our internal teams,” he indicated. “We have lofty goals in terms of growth. We want to take our three acquisitions and make sure they are integrated properly and roll them out next year. We want to build out our channel without losing sight of MSPs. I see the company continuing to grow at a 40% growth rate over 2023 and 2024, and I expect our headcount growth rate will continue.”