There's a changing of the guard at NewsGator. JB Holston is moving up to Chairman of the Board and ifridge & Company founder Daniel Kraft is taking his place as President and CEO.
There's Nothing Wrong With NewsGator
NewsGator is one of the most well-known SharePoint partners and has over 4 million paid subscribers to its Social Sites enterprise collaboration product. It is also one of the few products that is tightly integrated with the SharePoint platform -- there's no standalone version here (unless you count Tomoye).
Even with Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer, NewsGator isn't running scared. Holston told me in an interview that he doesn't see Yammer as a threat to Social Sites. And Microsoft is clear that it isn't a threat. If anything, the Yammer acquisition is a clear indication of the importance of social software in the workplace and NewsGator has already announced it will integrate with the internal collaboration service.
But NewsGator has a lot more than Yammer integration on deck as we saw in the recent release of Social Sites 3.0. The new Lookout dashboard follows the "Metro" interface and offers a customizable interface for Social Sites users. Along with Lookout, NewsGator also announced its ability to work with SharePoint 2013 when it's eventually adopted and a number of vertical solutions for Social Sites, including manufacturing, financial services, retail/consumer packaged goods and telecommunications.
What a New NewsGator CEO Will Bring
Here's the scoop on Daniel Kraft:
- 20+ years in the industry
- Founder of ifridge & Company, a consulting firm I actually hadn't heard of before I met Elise Segar of the newly formed Digital Clarity Group
- Active board member of netmedianer
- Previously Senior VP of Corporate Strategy at OpenText
- Previously President & CEO of RedDot Solutions
Hard to argue with that bio.
According to NewsGator investor and board member Brad Field (who is Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital):
Since JB first approached me with this idea a few months ago, I’ve been delighted to get to know Daniel. His energy, vision, and record of success will help catapult an already great company through its next stage of development. I look forward to continuing this amazing journey with Daniel, JB and the rest of the Board.”
It does appear that Kraft gets this social workplace market. We may have been talking about enterprise and social collaboration for a while now, but we are just getting started with understanding how to best implement these technologies to make business -- and its employees -- more effective and more successful at what they do.
Kraft has now officially taken over global operations of NewsGator (hmm, maybe JB was looking to take the rest of the summer off?) and he will work with the existing executive management team, so while he may have a lot to learn about NewsGator, he has a seasoned team beside him to get him up to speed quickly.
While I wish Kraft all the best in his new position, I'm sad to see JB Holston take on a new role in the company (if it means I won't have the opportunity to talk to him again). Having spoken with him on a number of occasions, Holston is nothing short of a very intelligent person with a keen understanding of how social business is changing the world we know. He has taken NewsGator from a company that managed RSS feeds to a global, multi-million dollar high ranking SharePoint partner and we can all learn something from that.