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New BTI CEO's Mandate: 'Scale the Business'

Mitch Wagner

As new CEO Colin Doherty takes the reins at data transport infrastructure vendor BTI Systems, his mandate is simple: Ramp up revenues.

"The mandate I have is to grow the footprint of customers and grow the top line," Doherty told Light Reading in a phone interview Thursday, after BTI Systems Inc. announced earlier this week he was taking charge of the company. "It's to scale the business. I've been involved in scaling business globally before." (See BTI Names Former Arbor Boss as CEO.)

Doherty was most recently CEO of network security system specialist Arbor Networks , and was at the helm when that company was acquired by Danaher Corp. group company Tektronix Communications. Prior to that he worked at a variety of vendors, including Mangrove Systems and Nortel Networks, so he has plenty of experience in the communications technology industry, the networking sector, Tier 1 global carriers, data center operators, cloud operators, and the market for data center connectivity.

It's a growing market -- traffic volumes for cloud service providers are set to grow at an annual rate of 35% between 2012 and 2017, according to the statistics at Doherty's fingertips.

BTI CEO Colin Doherty

BTI is a privately held company with $60 million funding, including a $27 million round that closed in December. It makes hardware and software for connecting metro data centers and was among the first transport infrastructure vendors to develop support for SDN. Recent customer wins include Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), Digital Realty Trust Inc. , and top-tier carriers. The company introduced Intelligent Cloud Connect, its SDN-ready data center interconnect platform, in early 2013. (See BTI Raises Cash, Embraces SDN.)

Doherty doesn't plan changes to the company strategy -- he is totally focused on growth, particularly internationally. The company now relies primarily on direct sales, but has some partner relationships, primarily in Asia/Pacific. It also has a strong OEM relationship with Fujitsu, which private-labels packet optical equipment from BTI. The company will lean more heavily on partners for international sales.

What about an IPO (a recurring rumor with BTI -- see Is BTI Heading for an IPO?) or an acquisition by a bigger company (a natural exit strategy for a niche vendor like BTI)? Doherty skirts past those questions. "I'm looking to make the company more successful in the top line, and increase the stable of customers. That's the short-order direction. As we get that under our belts, we'll see what direction to take us."

Doherty is Scottish by birth. He grew up outside St. Andrews, where golf was invented. "I happen to believe that haggis is a delicacy," he confessed. "It needs some marketing support, but I'm a big fan of haggis."

It tastes better than it looks. Then again, it would have to. (Source: Kim Traynor)
It tastes better than it looks. Then again, it would have to.
(Source: Kim Traynor)

He has lived in London and Miami and currently resides in Newton, Mass., a suburb of Boston. He's been in the US since 1991, and his accent seemed entirely American to my ears -- although Doherty says his burr returns when he talks with BTI CTO Robert Keys, a fellow Scot who hails from Glasgow. (That makes Keys a Glaswegian: I'm just throwing that in there because it's a cool word.)

When not working, Doherty spends a lot of time on lacrosse and soccer pitches with his two teenage boys. He also, of course, plays golf.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.

Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/14/2014 | 4:58:21 PM
DOShea - As long as BTI is experiencing healthy growth, it can resist unwanted acquisition attempts. 

Keyword is "unwanted." BTI may not be shopping itself around but might find itself agreeable if someone knocks on the door with big enough bags of money. 
User Rank: Blogger
4/13/2014 | 3:36:49 PM
With so much else on the agenda (international growth, haggis marketing, etc.), it sounds like the speculation about an IPO can be put to bed for now. Still wonder if a bigger vendor will force BTI to face the acquisition question before too long.
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
4/13/2014 | 3:26:32 AM
Everything will be in the cloud
" . . . traffic volumes for cloud service providers are set to grow at an annual rate of 35% between 2012 and 2017, according to the statistics at Doherty's fingertips." 

Yes, here from Cisco, the White Paper is very clear about the impressive cloud trends: 

Global cloud traffic:

Annual global cloud IP traffic will reach 5.3 zettabytes by the end of 2017. By 2017, global cloud IP traffic will reach 443 exabytes per month (up from 98 exabytes per month in 2012).

• Global cloud IP traffic will increase nearly 4.5-fold over the next 5 years. Overall, cloud IP traffic will grow at a CAGR of 35 percent from 2012 to 2017.

• Global cloud IP traffic will account for more than two-thirds of total data center traffic by 2017.


Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
4/13/2014 | 2:27:42 AM
"I happen to believe that haggis is a delicacy," he confessed. "It needs some marketing support, but I'm a big fan of haggis."

Haggis is one of those things that I prefer not trying. Luckily, you can now find vegetarian Haggis that can be served to vegetarians at the Burns Night supper. Of course, for traditional Haggis lovers the vegetarian Haggis is not a Haggis at all. :D 

Mitch, Doherty says the Haggis needs some marketing support; was he referring to marketing support in the US? If so, this would be easy to do by making the works of Robert Burns known. Then, those who like Burns' poetry might develop a curiosity and taste for the Haggis. :) 

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