Published February 19, 2008
Volume 16, Number 2

For FrontRange, Life Is More Challenging After the Turnaround  
Enterprise software company is “more than just a pleasant workplace”

CEO Michael McCloskey has seen the company double in size
since taking the helm.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

New Hacienda tenant FrontRange Solutions is sitting on some very attractive performance numbers. In the first six months of the new fiscal year, the software provider made as much money as it did in all of last year. Gross revenue is approaching $130 million, and profit, $20 million.

But it wasn’t always this way. After the burst of the dot-com bubble, the company was losing $25 million a year. Current Chief Executive Officer Michael McCloskey was on the board during that time. A veteran of multiple high-tech start-ups, McCloskey already had IPOs at Kana Communications, Genesys Telecom, and Network Appliance to his credit. His fellow FrontRange board members tapped this wealth of experience when they asked him to come up with options for improving the state of the company. McCloskey saw two choices: “We could sell, but it wouldn’t be worth that much, or we could roll the dice and try to build something,” he recalls.

The board rallied behind option number two. Both luck and skill accompanied the gamble. “Times were tough in the beginning,” McCloskey remembers. “We had to make a lot of negative decisions to get on a positive track,” but by virtue of working the plan and reworking the technology FrontRange got its groove back. The employee base has since almost doubled, from 375 then to just over 700 now, and so has annual revenue, zooming from $65 million to about $130 million today.

The company’s product families include IT Service Management with standards-based modules; Customer Relationship Management; Communication Management including IP Contact Center for reduced telephony costs and increased agent productivity, streamlined customer service, and communications; and Infrastructure Management, which provides the ability to optimize the full lifecycle of a company’s assets.

“Our products are aimed at increasing the productivity of employees and the availability of core IT systems,” McCloskey explains. “Four to five years ago we rebuilt our technology, targeting the mid-market, companies in the $100 million to several billion dollar range. These are more distributed enterprises, and our products fit well in that area. Legacy products are large and complex, but ours tend to be more affordable and more powerful from a solutions point of view.”

Perhaps surprisingly, McCloskey has found innovating more challenging than steering the company out of the doldrums. “The turnaround phase is one of the easier times,” he reflects, elaborating,“It’s harder to build something than to stop the bleeding. There are always new challenges,” he observes. Not surprisingly, the post-turnaround climate is more gratifying. “It’s a lot more fun. Our employees are highly motivated, so when you walk through our building, you see smiles and feel the good energy. People feel part of something that’s more than just a pleasant workplace.”

Asked about the future, McCloskey can’t pass up the opportunity to mention that, with its healthy expansion, FrontRange Solutions has openings in software development and marketing. “We’re hiring in these areas,” he concludes.


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