Ed Daihl, Accela’s CEO, is stepping down from his role after about a year for personal reasons.
But he still has a stake in the company. Literally — he’s an investor. He’ll be sticking around as an adviser as Mark Jung, the company board’s executive director, takes on leadership. The company is searching for a new permanent CEO and has already begun interviews.
And Daihl says he’s excited to see where the company’s going. His move comes the day the company begins a big new corporate partnership whose contours form the path Accela has been treading for a while now: Toward the cloud, and a more cooperative existence with the larger tech world.
The partnership is with Microsoft. In the infrastructure-platform-software structure that defines cloud technology, Microsoft Azure will be the cloud on which the Accela platform sits, and the applications that spring from that platform will both come from Accela and third-party developers via APIs.
Accela still has its own data centers, and customers can still choose them. But going forward — and most of the company’s new customers have been cloud deployments, Daihl notes — Azure will be the main infrastructure supporting Accela.
“That partnership begins, really, in earnest today, the beginning of the fiscal year,” Jung said. “That partnership really has no end [date].”
Daihl’s tenure as CEO was, if short, action-packed. The company was sold to the private equity firm Berkshire Partners in a massive deal. It launched a Center of Expertise to help customers with challenging regulatory problems. It started edging into the applications space with commercial-off-the-shelf solutions meant to help government tackle marijuana, short-term rentals, planning and building.
“We’ve actually started coming out with products, which is new to us, rather than [just] having this framework,” Daihl said.
It also started a more aggressive international expansion, with new customer support operations in Dublin, Ireland, and Amman, Jordan, and a growing staff in Salt Lake City. As it pursues more government clients overseas, Jung said those centers, as well as the partnership with the global giant that is Microsoft, will help.
“We need to be set up to have development, cloud operations and customer support worldwide so we can follow the sun,” he said.
Internally, Daihl rolled out a five-year strategy for the company — called the seven pillars — that remains in place. They were aimed at benchmarking Accela as a cloud company against other cloud companies in various areas and then improving on those benchmarks.
“The best is yet ahead of Accela,” Daihl said.