I was asked to share my views on the appointment of Satya Nadella as new Microsoft CEO with The Independent, The Evening Standard and The New Zealand Herald so I thought I'd take the opportunity to expand on what I told them here.
It doesn't come as too much of a surprise because he’s a known quantity within Microsoft circles and has a proven track record of success in previous roles. The Microsoft I’ve always known likes to promote from within. More than that, it sends a signal of where Microsoft sees the key battles being fought over the next five years or so.
Despite the success of Xbox, the acquisition of Nokia and other consumer-oriented initiatives, Microsoft's heartland is undoubtedly in the enterprise. Microsoft is in the early stages of a major shift from the provision of on-premise licensed software to subscription-based Cloud services. The die is cast in terms of the steady shift of enterprise IT investment into the Cloud so it makes sense that Microsoft embraces this shift. But what makes it even more critical is that the Cloud is in Google's DNA not yet Microsoft's.
So the stage is set for a monumental battle for the hearts, minds and dollars of the world's enterprise CIOs. Microsoft has the market share and the track record in serving this audience but Google is making inroads. For much of Microsoft and its partner network, this is a time of great creative change and opportunity.
Satya Nadella has shown that he’s able to grasp the nettles and drive the Cloud agenda at Microsoft. The stakes are high and Google, Apple and a raft of start-up organizations own significant Cloud mindshare now.
Will Microsoft succeed? We believe it’ll win with apps and back-end business services because such a huge percentage of the enterprise base has been well served by Microsoft's technologies over the years, and the first choice for most of these organizations will be to migrate to the Microsoft Cloud with as little disruption to end users as possible.
Will it succeed with devices? I think it’ll need to pick its battles. Microsoft used to have a clear lead on the end user operating system and to the extent that its future strategy might rely on recreating this scenario it’ll certainly have a tough fight. Future work surfaces will be a diverse set of devices and it’s hard to imagine Microsoft evicting iOS and Android from these markets. So I think the front-end operating systems are going to need to be less important to Microsoft and perhaps that’s something that comes more naturally to Satya Nadella than it might have to Steve Ballmer.
But it won't be easy. One of Microsoft's advantages has traditionally been its extensive network of partners, both in terms of channel and software vendors like Mimecast. It’s crucial, as Microsoft seeks to move its customer base to the Cloud, that it continues to partner in order to provide the best possible Cloud experience to demanding enterprise customers.
Certainly from our point of view we’re strongly backing the Microsoft horse and optimizing our services for Office 365, the company's Cloud version of Exchange. We’re looking to help customers and prospects build their short, mid and long-term plans to move all their email services to the Cloud.
Ultimately, Mr. Nadella's appointment is all about Microsoft's commitment to the Cloud. Given that Mimecast has been a catalyst for Cloud adoption since we started ten years ago, we’re very encouraged that Microsoft has appointed a CEO who shares our view on the future of IT.
[Tweet "Mimecast scores 4th annual @Deloitte ranking – revenue grew 526% over 5 years"]
On Tuesday night at an award ceremony in central London, Mimecast was recognized as a leader in the UK tech sector for the fourth consecutive year in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranking. Only one other firm has achieved this. So I hope you won’t mind me taking a moment to celebrate this.
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 is a respected ranking of the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK. The rankings are created by looking at percentage revenue growth of firms over five years. We’re proud that not only did we make the list this year with growth of 526 per cent, but this is our fourth consecutive year in the top 50.
To be ranked once is great recognition of the progress we’re making as a firm but we stand out for making the list four years in a row. This shows we’re leading the pack in our sustained performance in the UK tech sector. This reflects our commitment to ongoing innovation, the constant hard work of our team and the enthusiastic support we’re seeing for our technology and company from our customers, partners and investors. I’d like to thank them all.
We're having a busy week at Mimecast. Yesterday we hosted the UK Government’s Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise in Boston. Today we just heard that we’ve been selected for the UK’s Future Fifty, a fast-track scheme to support high-growth businesses like ours. It’s news that has already been reported in the likes of The Telegraph and I'm sure it will be a talking point in the industry as word gets out.
The list of firms in this first cohort of Future Fifty is an impressive who’s who of leading technology businesses in the UK. Future Fifty was launched in April by the Chancellor George Osborne and Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City UK.
Tech City UK, the organization behind the program, named its first 25 companies that they and their expert panel believe are amongst the most promising, high potential growth businesses. We're delighted to be one of them.
As I said yesterday in my meeting with the Minister, the UK tech sector is showing great promise. This list of 25 shining stars is impressive. Outside this group there is a wealth of talent and great innovation coming from the sector to fuel further growth and success in the future. There is a lot to celebrate in the UK tech sector right now. We're proud of the part we are playing in that story of course.
Today we welcomed some very important guests from the UK Government to our Boston office. Peter Campbell (CFO), Mark Bilbe (GM, North America) and I met with Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise, as well as other representatives of the government including Consul General Susie Kitchens from the British Consulate in Boston.
It was an honor to have them come and see us during their visit to Boston. We had a very informative and productive meeting. We briefed them in detail on Mimecast and our growth story. We also talked extensively about our experiences bringing our business to the U.S. We shared the lessons we have learned that we feel other British businesses, considering the U.S. as an export market, should know.
We are a proud British company and exporter of technology. The UK technology market has come a long way in the ten years we have been in business. A lot has been done by the UK Government and others to build, promote and grow technology education, skills and the commercial sector. There is a lot of talk and excitement in the UK, and now in the U.S. too, about the quality of ideas and firms coming out of the country. The pipeline of businesses across a wide range of internet, business, entertainment and media sectors is inspiring. It is no coincidence that many international investors and technology incubators are also investing heavily in the UK.
The future is looking considerably brighter than it did, even ten years ago when we founded Mimecast.
But to fulfill its real potential, these businesses need to continue innovating, growing, securing significant investment and then expand quickly internationally to turn themselves from domestic success stories into global leaders. All too often we have seen a lack of ambition or long term vision put the brakes on some of our more promising technology firms – they have run out of capital or sold up to established foreign businesses just when things have started to get interesting.
For this reason, we talked with our visitors about the importance of doing more to support and promote these mature businesses entering this critical next phase that decides if they are around for 15-20 years and not just five. They may have stopped being the shiny new start-up we hear so much about out of London’s Tech City or elsewhere, but they have matured to a point where they can make significant economic and employment impact.
We like to think Mimecast has played its part in blazing a trail for these new British technology firms. We had our tenth birthday this year. In that time we have grown significantly at home in the UK and now internationally. Our U.S. business in particular, has seen impressive growth since Mark moved from London back in 2008 to build our business here. I then joined him in 2011. We have expanded quickly from our HQ in Boston, opening offices now in Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco.
We are bringing cloud and software innovation, made in Britain, to arguably the world’s largest and most inventive technology market. We were proud to share the story of how far Mimecast has come, but there is plenty more opportunity and work for us to do.