Things are getting interesting at Symantec. This week the company announced that at the board’s request the CEO, Enrique Salem, had left the company. His replacement is Steve Bennett, who was the chairman of the company. The fundamental reason is that Symantec lost about 19% of its value in terms of its stock price in the last three years (since Salem replaced the prior CEO John Thompson.) In the last quarter alone, profit dropped by 9.5%.
From a backup perspective, Bennett was pretty clear, to wit
“We have a problem in the Backup Exec area,” Bennett said on a conference call today to discuss the Symantec CEO change and the company’s earnings. “We’re really focused on sorting that out.”
The CFO of Symantec, James Beer, was even more detailed and said it would take 6-9 months to fix Backup Exec.
“Let me spend a moment on an area where we didn’t execute to our high standard on a new product launch,” Beer said. “While we delivered a much improved user interface for Backup Exec, we excluded specific functionality that customers still required. As such, we have now re-instated this functionality to further simplify the backup process. We expect it will take two to three quarters to get Backup Exec back on track.”
Dave Raffo in his article then went one step further:
“Beer didn’t say what functionality Symantec brought back, but the vendor did add the option for a job-centric view in Backup Exec 2012 this month. Symantec originally changed to a server-centric view in the upgrade but customers complained that they couldn’t see their jobs without the Job Monitor that was included in previous versions. To fix that, Symantec added a Job Monitor tab for viewing the status of all backup managed by a Backup Exec server in Backup Exec 2012.”
Look – it’s difficult changing a user interface. Just this week, one of Unitrends’ great customer and supporters wrote me about an extra click we inserted in release 6.3 for a particular use case – and we’re working on reclaiming that click for him! (Note: It was inserted to make the product easier to use – and it does – but great companies have to get beyond the “or” and embrace the “and” – so we’re going to figure out how to do both (and quickly.)) But I think that Symantec’s ills in backup go deeper than the user interface – and when Bennett talks about an extended “listening tour” – I think about how lucky I am to work somewhere so much more agile than that. Unitrends is far from perfect – but I know that the folks here push hard on every issue in the quest to delight customers.
In the meantime, if you’re a Backup Exec customer who isn’t happy with your backup product, I can guarantee you that you won’t find anyone else willing to work harder for your business – give us a call (or try us for FREE now).