Microsoft kills off it's business process management software PerformancePoint

An Article in has indicated that Microsoft is set to kill it's recently launched product Performancepoint. (The original article is from Computerworld)

In actual fact this is a little misleading because what they are actually doing is merging the BPM functions into SharePoint Server. I remember when this product was announced back in September 2007 thinking that this is probably a product that is in an area Microsoft doesn't want to really get involved with and it appears that this is now coming true.

PerformancePoint helps managers budget, forecast, and measure profits and efficiency. It competed with software from IBM, Infor, Oracle Corp., SAP AG and SAS Institute , as well as offerings from business intelligence (BI) and ERP vendors. The market for BPM software and services is expected to grow an average of 13% per year until 2012, to $3.24 billion, according to Forrester Research Inc so the fact that MSFT is cutting and running with this product is pretty significant. The general consensus is that MSFT does not tend to kill products like this (although it is recently ended development on it's world famous Flight Simulator program as a result of staff cuts) instead it usually works by releasing new, refined versions until the software gains market traction.

According to Business Intelligence product manager Kristina Kerr, Microsoft began reviewing the software's performance seven months ago. MSFT had hit a 'glass ceiling' according to Kerr. "We weren't playing to our strengths, and consequently were running into the same glass ceiling of 20% deployment that every other BI vendor is," Kerr told Computerworld. "We thought there was a much better way to achieve our goal of 'BI for the masses,' which is to make these features a seamless part of how they already work with SharePoint, SQL Server or Excel."

The overall move has allowed Microsoft to make the total cost of using PerformancePoint lower. Formerly, to get started with PerformancePoint Server cost $50,000 with a $195 license fee for every employee using PerformancePoint. By comparison, a license for Office SharePoint Server 2007 costs $4,424 , while enterprise licenses, which offer features in addition to PerformancePoint, will cost a total of $169 per employee

Personally I think that MSFT has hit more than a glass ceiling with this. I think they tried to get into a market they were very weak in. I don't think they purchased the skillset they needed and they relied on existing sales force and sales channels to push this product. Many people are now starting to work out that MSFT is not a 'jack-of-all-trades' that can muscle it's way into any market. It was late into the internet market and it was late into the BI market. There are other, better tools out ther that do what this tool does without being stuck in the 'bloatware' prgatory of the worlds largest computer company.

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