Avast Software has announced the appointment of Kevin Chapman as SVP & GM of SMB at Avast Software. The ex-Symantec exec takes over the position at a key time, to guide Avast’s commercial operation in the wake of the absorption of AVG.
The company’s recent managerial history in the SMB space has had some turbulence. Most of Avast’s commercial business came from AVG, which replaced its leader in this space earlier this year. His replacement, in turn, left when AVG was acquired by Avast. Avast’s SMB leader left in January, and Glenn Taylor, Avast’s Chief Strategy Officer, took over those duties. Since the AVG business was added, he has had responsibility for the whole space.
“I have been running SMB on an interim basis,” Taylor said. “Kevin will take it on full time, and I’ll return to a strategy role.”
Chapman spent a large chunk of his career at Symantec, where he worked from 1997 to 2015, principally on the Norton side, but also in other roles which included channel responsibility in Europe.
“Kevin is based in the U.K., and has a wide background in security and the channel.” Taylor stated. “I know him from when we were both at Symantec. He brings a wealth of experience that will have quick return. It’s a pretty exciting time for SMB within Avast.”
The basic strategic direction of Avast’s SMB unit has already been set – a move which had to be made out of the gate because the two companies’ business models were fundamentally different. Avast had replaced a more traditional commercial endpoint product sold by the channel with the freemium model which built up their massive consumer business. That was always something of a hard sell for the channel. AVG’s commercial business was much larger than Avast’s. The legacy AVG business has a significant MSP component, stemming from its entry into the RMM space in 2013 with the acquisition of Level Platforms, with the idea being to develop synergies between the RMM platform and AVG security software. Because the old AVG business is so much larger, its model will be the focus going forward, and the RMM emphasis will continue.
The details of the roadmap by which the company’s three product lines – AVG, Avast and Norman Safeground – which AVG earlier acquired and continued to sell separately, won’t be announced until 2017.
“We are working on bringing Avast and the legacy world together, and should be able to share the details of that in the early Q1 time frame,” Taylor said. “We will have two primary product sets, around security and RMM. The RMM product set is pretty straightforward. On the security side, the plan is to bring the best of all those solutions together, to provide an enhanced experience in one, more robust, solution.”
“In the SMB space, which is very channel centric, partners want three things,” Chapman said. “They want a great solution technically. They want a fair, profitable model to work from. They also want a vendor to be easy to do business with. I’ll be focusing on those three things. As we combine the product and technology from AVG and Avast, we will simplify processes so partners can deal with it consistently, easily and reliably.”
Avast intends to expand the size of its channel through this process.
“We want to do more business through our existing partner network, and we want to find new partners to bring us into spaces where we don’t have a presence today,” Taylor said.