GoDaddy’s Growth From Niche Registrar To Multibillion-Dollar Cloud-Services Business

April 04, 2016
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by Peter High, published on Forbes


Arne Josefsberg has held a number of technology executive positions in his career. He spent 26 years at Microsoft developing the company’s data center and cloud infrastructure, dating back to the original MSN team and continuing up through Office 365 online service. He spent time as the Chief Technology Officer at ServiceNow. A bit more than two years ago, he joined GoDaddy as its chief infrastructure officer and chief information officer — an important role for the company as it expanded from a US-centric domain registrar to a multi-national cloud-services company for small businesses. During his tenure, the company’s revenue has grown nearly 50 percent to $1.6 billion.

This CIO-plus role that Josefsberg has is part “classic IT,” as he calls it, and part driver of the development of a “globally scalable cloud infrastructure that is high performance and secure that delivers services to our small business customers.” Though his mandate and purview is broader than that of the average CIO, the way he thinks about his role offers insights to all CIOs as they strive to add greater levels of value to their company’s and to the company’s customers.

(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the 29th interview in the CIO-plus series. To read the prior 28 with CIO-pluses from the likes of Boeing, Verizon, P&G, and Walgreens, among others, please click this link. To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)

Peter High: I thought we would begin with a background on GoDaddy’s business. I have no doubt a number of people will know it from its provocative Super Bowl commercials, which is certainly the first place that I heard about the organization. It has clearly grown a great deal since its early days. Could you take a moment to provide an overview of the business?

Arne Josefsberg: I joined GoDaddy almost two years ago. GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain registrar. It is what we were known for, and that is where the business started twelve plus years ago. What some people do not understand now is that we have expanded our product suite quite a bit over the years. Domain registry continues to be a big part of our business, but we also do hosting for small businesses – everything from managed WordPress to dedicated hosting – a broad suite of hosting services. We have a website builder that is super easy for the non-technical audience to quickly build a website. We have also started to build various productivity tools for small businesses, search engine optimization tools to make their websites more resonant and visible in the market. We also added a GoDaddy bookkeeping application.

Our vision is to be the enabler for small business. Our focus is exclusively on small business. We count well over thirteen million customers globally and have grown pretty fast. It is an exciting area, and is quite inspiring. Our mission is to help the little guy be successful running and managing the business by providing accessible and cost efficient technology for them to get online. What I found super exciting is that we have thirteen million customers, but if you look at the market globally, we believe that there is in the range of two hundred and twenty million small businesses around the world. Many of them are not even online today, but clearly that is where the world is going. You have to have a website to present your business and interact with your customers.

We also think there is a circular trend from a business world dominated by large enterprises (big conglomerates) and we think that is breaking down to much more entrepreneurial smaller companies. We want to enforce and enhance that trend, and arm the small business with the kind of tools, websites, and domains that can help them get online without having an IT organization. We are about leveling the playing field between the little guy and the larger companies.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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