Thursday, December 10, 2009

Further reflection on the Sentillion acquisition brings more questions

Earlier today I blogged about Microsoft's acquisition of Sentillion. After letting this percolate in my mind for a while I thought I'd share some of the questions that have come up for me about this acquisition:
  • If you carefully read the press release you will see that there's a quote from Sentillion's CEO and a quote from Peter Neupert, corporate vice president, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. Why no quote from anyone on the Forefront Identity Management (FIM) team? My conclusion - possibly wrong: This acquisition was driven by the Health Solutions Group - not the FIM team.
  • Single sign-on (enterprise, web or federated) is a key identity management concept. Question: Will any of Sentillion's products or technology be integrated into the FIM stack? Microsoft owns Sentillion now. It would make sense to do this. However, if Sentillion will be exclusively run by the Health Solutions Group this could lead to a split identity management strategy at Microsoft and that would not be good. Imagine having to speak to the FIM sales guys about FIM and the healthcare sales guys about Sentillion/ESSO.
  • The Sentillion product line includes a product called "ProVision" which is focused on user provisioning. Question: What happens to that? Can Microsoft afford two user provisioning solutions? Even if one is for healthcare only? Will FIM replace ProVision? Will Microsoft keep any of Sentillion's IDM stack at all other than the healthcare-specific "context switching" stuff?
  • Why did Microsoft acquire Sentillion versus leveraging FIM? I can guess at a whole bunch of reasons why this didn't happen: Time to market of a FIM-based solution for the healthcare people; FIM being a more general purpose solution versus Sentillion's healthcare focus; or the healthcare people simply focusing on their market and Sentillion being a market leader was the obvious play.
I'm guessing that this was not an identity management acquisition but a healthcare acquisition meant to strength Microsoft's position in the healthcare market. That would lead me to believe that none of the Sentillion solution ends up in FIM. In either case, time will tell.
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    1 comment:

    Richard Blackham said...

    Healthcare Solutions Group probably ran out of patience on the FIM deliverable. Does one hand know what the other is doing? And I wonder how the mean at Security Group feel about an outside purchase. Surely this can't go on forever! Did they hear about Agile in Redmond yet?