Q&A with Lakeside Software:
A two-time client, and former Bain consultant, discusses the unique value Topline Strategy provides
David Keil had been a happy client of Topline Strategy before he was named CEO of Lakeside Software, a firm that helps IT teams monitor and optimize environments by focusing on the quantified end-user experience. Keil, a veteran of Bain & Company himself, had been impressed with the unique value proposition of Topline Strategy. That’s why he was in touch with Topline Strategy before he even started working at Lakeside.
We had a chance to discuss his experience with Topline Strategy, why he hired the firm, and the value that he received from both engagements.
Topline Strategy (“TS”): You had worked with Topline Strategy before you were named CEO at Lakeside Software (“Lakeside”). What was your earlier experience with Topline?
David Keil, CEO of Lakeside Software (“Keil”): I was recommended to Topline Strategy and engaged on a project with them when I was the COO of Tricentis back in 2019. We started a successful project then that led me to, again, pursue this similar type of project with Lakeside a few months ago.
TS: What did Topline Strategy do for Tricentis?
Keil: Topline Strategy provided a broad market study of current customers, partners, and competitor customers to give us broad feedback across our multiple products, with an emphasis on two that were our core products. We also used Topline Strategy to understand the market’s perception of our strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
TS: How was Topline Strategy different than the other consulting firms you had worked with?
Keil: Well, I started my career at Bain & Company after college and after business school, so I certainly have that experience as a frame of reference. I’ve also worked with some boutique market research firms over the years. What I found with Topline Strategy and what I’ve appreciated is the expertise in enterprise software and B2B software that has allowed for a much more granular and effective approach to understanding the issues both at Tricentis and at Lakeside. Topline Strategy understood the key strategic and market issues that needed to be fleshed out, quickly and with clarity.
TS: You hired Topline Strategy right after you got through the door at Lakeside or maybe even before you joined. If that’s correct, why did you bring them in right away? What was the reason for hiring them?
Keil: I was desirous to learn more about how the external market felt about Lakeside. I felt that if I was going to jump into this new area that was a new market for me that I wanted to make sure I could get a comprehensive understanding of the current state of the company as quickly as possible.
TS: Did you feel you got your money’s worth out of the engagement?
Keil: We utilized and leveraged the recommendations and the insights very directly around our product roadmap. We have made some big decisions relative to prioritizing certain areas over others in the roadmap and directing our engineering teams and product teams. Those decisions will have a huge long-term impact on the company. It was very significant in its strategic importance. I was very happy with the results. We would definitely consider a follow-on engagement with Topline Strategy in the future.
TS: What would you say is the unique value proposition of Topline Strategy?
Keil: There are several things that stand out about Topline Strategy, and that is why I would certainly recommend them to anybody in the B2B enterprise software space. One is Topline Strategy’s depth, and the efforts it took to understand our business. Another is the firm’s background, having done a lot of similar types of work. These things really made the process extremely efficient and powerful. Topline Strategy had a very, very effective and efficient approach. That was important because at Lakeside e we were moving quickly. We had some very aggressive deadlines and Topline Strategy was able to meet them. When it comes to consulting firms, it’s often a choice between business knowledge and strategic orientation. Topline Strategy is unique in having both.