Essential Business Server – The Product – The Vision

Regrets


I was saddened to see Microsoft put EBS on the chopping block. I am writing this post wearing the original Code Name Centro T-shirt as an early founder of the product. I gave a lot of early input in to this great product’s future development starting in 2005-6.


The Vision


Truth be known, the soon to come V2 was far more like the early advice I gave to the team than V1. And the current strategy might be directly partially my fault given the feedback I gave as recently as two weeks ago at MVP summit on lightening the product to what I call “the Glue” that made it all work together as opposed to the heavy licensing package it became. I vividly remember sitting in product planning session early on saying the product did not need Exchange but that it needed to configure Exchange. You see at the time and today without EBS, Microsoft servers are Lego without the connectors requiring high degrees of skill to configure. Add the Lego connectors and configuring servers becomes child’s play which promotes better technology usage and greater IT investment.


I envisioned a “Simple Glue Product” which made it easier to drive solutions on top of Microsoft Server technologies for the mid market space. A series of tools that would give you the same feel Microsoft Office does but with all of the various server technologies that Microsoft makes. You may not remember that when you add an office app like Visio or Outlook it behaves like an integrated product even though you don’t always buy all the products together. They share a common architecture and planning. Using data from Word in Visio, Excel or Powerpoint is seamless and vice versa. Server Products should share the same architecture and product planning regimes.


So where is Microsoft investing? This is key. In my opinion, they are going to bring investment into the main line products such as Windows Server. Hopefully we see an architecture with more awareness built in so that products expose their technology prowess with less clicks and more tricks. This is clearly  in line with the feedback I gave starting 4 years ago and as recently as 2 weeks ago. We will see the knowledge of Mid Market influencing product development which will see Microsoft’s EBS investment pay for itself.


Did Cloud Investment Kill EBS? As for Cloud computing being the trend that killed EBS. I am more concerned today about the future of Microsoft’s investment in Cloud services than ever before. All of Microsoft’s cloud products are incubation products subject to the same pressures which ended EBS’s life. Granted the overarching strategy is in favor of cloud services but this too is a high risk strategy seeing Microsoft depart from its traditional strengths and reliant on Global Communications and Telco providers to decrease Internet costs while increasing bandwidth and reliability.


Should Partners invest in Incubations products from Microsoft in the current market? Partners should give sober second thought to supporting Microsoft’s initiatives in new markets at this time. Pressures from the global economy has Microsoft twittering to chop new products in their infancy. They will take care of the clients and they will make nice with the partners but no one should be betting their house on products without some serious Due Diligence and a solid knowledge of the risks involved. I would like to make myself available to any partner who is considering investing in emerging technologies with Microsoft to help them properly assess the combined market offerings. My experience here is of high value. Reach out and contact me at 425-577-7377.


Should Clients buy Incubations products from Microsoft? To this I can happily answer YES! Microsoft is displaying exceptional loyalty to its EBS customers. These people are making out very well as a result of their investment in EBS. Everyone should be jealous of the way Microsoft is treating their EBS clients.


As for EBS, V2 was product that combined the a technology offering never seen before in the market and had everyone involved chomping at the bit. The EBS team is top notch. A special reach out to Kevin, Nick, Eric(s), Julie, Kannan, Rex and the others.


Lessons


Microsoft needs to invest in a solution offering portal which helps customers to buy the right product for their business. This would include both on premise and Cloud service offerings. EBS like other Microsoft products suffered from a complex consumption process that made it hard to sell and even harder to buy. Both partners and end users need for Microsoft to integrate the research, sales and implementation process to bring about a go to market vehicle which can be leveraged by many products. Microsoft tries to sell every product like it sold Office in 1999. The only advance in consumption since has been with online services and Microsoft has not applied the same model to its on premise solutions. Secondly, Microsoft needs to better integrate partners in to the solution chain offering greater rewards for their efforts.


A dieu, EBS looking forward to the excellent Microsoft Solutions you influence for mid market in the near future.


Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology
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