Wrike CEO seeks a better world of work

Andrew Filev of Wrike sold his company to Citrix for $2.25bn on the promise of a more elegant digital workplace

Headshot of Andrew Filev, CEO at Wrike
Wrike

Andrew Filev laughs when I remind him that, in a 2015 YouTube interview, he predicted that email will have become an irrelevance by 2025. With three years left on the countdown and mail still ubiquitous, it hasn’t happened… so will he recant?

“I’m gonna stick to it but frame it correctly,” he says. “If you roll back the clock, email was the primary communications tool but now, in the office, people are moving to messaging platforms and work management tools, and email is mostly used as an identity provider and notification service.”

He has skin in the game here of course. The company he founded and leads, Wrike, is a leader in the still not well enough known work management category that seeks to bring together the various tasks and tools we work with every day into a sleeker, more integrated stream. It’s a fascinating category and Wrike has done enough in its 16-year history to be acquired by Citrix for a bumper $2.25bn in 2020/21. But for all its its breadth and promise, work management, like many unification activities, faces walls made up of inertia, habit and reluctance to change. That said, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst, making many of us reinvent what tools we use and how we use them.

“The last several years have been a rollercoaster for everybody in a lot of different ways,” Filev says. “Most companies had to switch and it definitely accelerated digital transformation. I need to be able to communicate with you, my kids use Zoom for their school… messaging grew significantly with Teams and Slack but what we saw later was it started to overload people. That drove people to think more strategically about work and their digital workplace. Companies made this huge leap into this digital workplace universe and now they’re asking how they can do that in [the hybrid working world].”

Crossroads

I agree we’re at a crossroads and Filev believes there are precedents for software becoming a force for unification rather than just creating another toolset with which to grapple.

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