Tuesday, February 10, 2009

FAST Revenue – Your Gift from Microsoft

If you are in the technology space, particularly if you work with Microsoft technologies you have been given a gift today. The wrapping is off and you can probably start playing with it today, but the real benefit will not be made available until Microsoft’s Office 14 ships. This is a nice gift for the ECM space.

Microsoft bought FAST for $1.2B last January. My guess at the time was that FAST was going to be rolled into Microsoft’s Office SharePoint Portal Server (aka MOSS) as quickly as possible. That prediction did not turn out to be true --- until today. Microsoft’s Jared Anderson announced that FAST will be rolled into the Office 14 release plans.

An InfoWorld article Microsoft to upgrade SharePoint when Office 14 ships and an announcement on Microsoft’s Press Pass site this morning heralded the news Microsoft Unveils New Enterprise Search Road Map

What does this mean for Microsoft partners?

For System Integrators this is huge. Customers with Enterprise Agreements that include SharePoint Enterprise Client Access Licenses (CALs) will be able to utilize the capabilities FAST offers. For ISV’s I have not seen the plans for OEM options, but if an ISV can OEM some or all of the FAST capabilities into their solutions there could be a significant uptick in adoption. I also have not seen how Microsoft plans to roll FAST into their Software+Services plans.

Why is important?

Revenue! Currently customers need to purchase FAST licenses separately. Under this new plan customers with the CAL’s will be able to tap into the power of FAST. This means System Integrators (SI’s) and Value Added Resellers (VAR’s) can provide additional services for the same overall system cost. Will this pan out to be true? It’s hard to tell in this distressed economy, but the baseline for a FAST based solution is already set

Also, as pointed out by Ryan Barnett via Twitter it could make up for the perceived lost revenue from the Microsoft S+S model. I’m not sure S+S will indeed lead to lost revenue. In my opinion - S+S and the whole SaaS / PaaS model is another revenue stream that remains untapped.

So what?

Search is a big and growing part of Microsoft’s business and it’s clear they are in the search game for the long haul. Microsoft wants to own the enterprise search space and they are making investments to prove it. Google and other search engines do extremely well in the consumer or personal search space, but not so much in the enterprise. Of course, there are exceptions.

The bottom line is that this announcement will allow Microsoft and SI’s to engage more deeply with enterprise customers, help customers use the tools they may already own, drive more revenue and help customers to utilize the their enterprise content much more effectively.

Thinking Points

  • Do you think Search is the key to Enterprise Content Management?
  • Does Search play a critical role in your enterprise today?
  • What responsibility does a company have to protect the data they capture and manage - which may be exposed by Search? This is what I call Corporate Authenticity

If you have a different opinion I’d like to hear about it. Please comment on this blog. Also,you can reach me via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

clip_image002 About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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1 comment:

John Currah said...

I'm really impressed with FAST. We own licenses for our web site (31 million unique visitors / year) and for our corporate intranet (77k employees).

We used to use a custom solution for the web site and a domino search solution (don't ask) for the intranet, so FAST is a step up to say the least.