Autotask targets more international growth after early success

 After five years of success during which its international business has grown from 5 per cent of all new revenue to around 50 per cent, Autotask is not taking its eye off the ball, according to its SVP and GM of International Mark Banfield.

Autotask’s international business has “grown rapidly” in recent years, primarily taking place at its UK HQ in Richmond – which now has around 100 employees covering areas such as sales, services, support, consulting and HR. There is also now a development office in Amersham, an Amsterdam branch which is expected to “grow significantly in the next year” and offices in Munich, Sydney, Copenhagen and Beijing.

“We have got customers in about 90 countries: France Italy, Spain, South East Asia, Middle East,” Banfield explained, “but we haven’t actually focused on those markets that much yet. We’ve gone where managed services is more mature. Key geographies for us are the UK, Benelux is very strong, Nodics we sell into quite well, Germany, South Africa and Australia. I’d say they’re our top markets.” 

But Autotask isn’t ready to rest on its laurels just yet. Banfield expects the company to “continue on the same trend of putting offices closer to customers,” which is likely to initially include a Manchester branch and a sales and account manager presence in Copenhagen. He also spoke about taking an “opportunistic” approach, where the company will “look at opportunities as they come along.”

“When you think about it we’ve built a pretty big business in a fairly limited number of countries and there’s still the rest of the world to sell into. Let’s face it, everywhere uses IT and wherever there’s IT there are probably channel providers that need what we do.”

This was a notion echoed by the company’s President and CEO Mark Cattini, who spoke about “seeing an opportunity and moving quickly” in his opening keynote session at Autotask Community Live in Miami last week.

But, of course, there is plenty of strategy behind the expansion and a lot of it is down to the strong sense of community within the MSP market. “None of these guys are Vodafone, they’re small businesses and they’re built by entrepreneurs, therefore they tend to be very communal, they want to build relationships,” Banfield said.

“I think for us in the UK it really developed when we put the office in place because then we had a presence. That’s why I have this idea of, as we move forward, putting an office in Manchester. Maybe one day we have an office in the West Country, maybe we have an office in Ireland or Scotland. I can see us developing like that because as long as you keep the costs under control you can get close to customers and you can create more value and they can build their business better.”

Market maturity is also a factor, with Banfield describing the managed services industry as still being “an evolving concept in a lot of places.” For example, the UK and Benelux are both fairly mature markets, with Germany and the Nordics starting to catch up. In contrast, Southern Europe is still a long way behind, as managed services is “just not really a concept that’s caught on so well there. And I would say in all geographies that’s still a trend that’s happening in that people are moving from being re-sellers into more managed services and some of them are moving more rapidly and seeing that opportunity.”

So, in line with the theme of the event, it’s all about focusing on the customer and Autotask will certainly be hoping its international growth spurt continues.

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