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Thank you for visiting my blog. I am a Cofounder & Technical Advisor here at the BeyeNETWORK. Having covered the business intelligence and data warehousing industry for more than 15 years, I'm looking forward to a more interactive form of communication with all of you. Please share your comments and thoughts!



Last week Ron Powell and I had an opportunity to chat with Phil Wilmington President & Chief Executive Officer of Outlooksoft. With Microsoft's entry into the business performance space the competitive landscape is changing and we wanted to get Phil's view of the issue and what it might mean to the space in general as well as it's impact on Outlooksoft. The following Q&A is from that interview.

Shawn: Now that Microsoft has entered the market and they’re endorsing BPM do you see it expanding the market for everybody or do you see them coming in and being a 500 lb gorilla?

Phil: Probably the best place to start is what I told our company. As you would imagine we put out an internal document and it started out with my feelings about Microsoft entering the space. Now this is something obviously that we were pretty well informed on, I think Microsoft actually was very good about that. We had discussions about them entering the space, what we were doing, what they were doing because we’re still a very strong Microsoft partner and they are still an important part to our business. What I told our company is, when you’re in a good space, big companies are going to get into it. And I think that’s the first point I would make Shawn I think this is a validation of the performance management space as a whole. Companies like Microsoft or others are going to try and enter the space that they think has significant opportunity for growth. And I think it’s a validation of the space that companies like Microsoft want to play in it. I think it’s good for the space I think that the space is quickly forming itself into a choice of new solutions versus old solutions and I think it’s that black and white. I think there are companies that have had a clean sheet of paper technology wise, functionality wise and taken advantage of that, and there are new solutions like the solutions that Microsoft will bring to the marketplace towards the end of 2007. And I think that is good for the business overall.

Shawn: Regardless of what Microsoft provides from their product set, are you going to see an opportunity to integrate their product within yours or visa versa, how do you see your partnership evolving with them being in a space that’s so closely attuned to yours?

Phil: I think SharePoint is a good example SharePoint is part of their solution and they will continue to be part of our solution. What they picked up with tools like the ProClarity acquisition I think it’s too early to tell because they haven’t really announced what role in the product line that’s going to play formally, If we think there are components of that technology offering that make sense to help our customers we’ll leverage it, the same will be true on the Oracle platform, as they come forward with pieces of their technology stack we think that will leverage and provide more efficient more affective utilization for customers we’ll leverage those. We won't be leveraging application logic when they finish that because we feel we’re more advanced in that particular area. They’ll be coming out sometime in 2007, I think is what they said the other day, with application logic and you know the issue there is the same issue that has challenged Microsoft in the ERP space when they come out in 2007 that will be a release 1 application, we’re in release 5 with our product now and our customers would say we have the most advanced functionality, certainly in the financial components of the performance management space. And we’re rapidly building beyond that, so by the time they come out with release 1 we’ll be focused on what the content needs to be in release six. And I think from a capability standpoint, from a reliability standpoint, from a performance standpoint, by the time they get to where we’re at functionally we will have advanced pretty significantly. And I think that’s the advantage that the established players have in the space, and certainly I’ve got tremendous respect for Microsoft as an organization but I'm very familiar with their efforts in the ERP space, as an example, as an applications provider. It hasn’t been their area of strength. And I'm very confident in our ability and our products ability to compete when their product hits the marketplace in the application area to be able to compete on functionality and flexibility of solutions.

Shawn: So let’s talk about that a little bit farther, you were talking about features and maturity of product, with regards to the predictive performance, do you see Microsoft having the capability of also being able to address predictive performance with their offering?

Phil: In what I have seen to this point, and again we have had the opportunity to take a pretty deep look it doesn’t look like their adding the detailed predictive capabilities certainly that we have into their initial offering. I’m by no means the ultimate expert on exactly every piece of their functionality but I do think we had a very good look at it and I think that their beginning with fundamental capabilities in budgeting, forecasting, planning, and consolidation. We have not seen anything that would match what we do with insight in our predictive capabilities and as you know that becomes more and more a key differentiator and a difference maker for decision makers today. I mean certainly by the end of next year it will be, because we see it growing and its importance today in the systems cycle. I think it’s a limiting factor in any product that doesn’t have that capability deeply engrained, not just as bolt on, but deeply engrained in every part of the deliverable that you bring to the market.

Part 2 of this interview tommorow........

Posted June 22, 2006 9:56 AM
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