Friday, September 23, 2011

Microsoft, BHOLD and what the parrot saw

Microsoft has acquired certain assets of BHOLD, a leading provider of identity and access governance functionality. BHOLD will continue as an independent entity. The terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Roadmap and licensing will be announced later.
Both Ian Glazer (Gartner) and Martin Kuppinger (Kuppinger Cole) blogged about the acquisition today. I’m the parrot and here’s what I saw after reading the announcement:
  1. It was an acquisition of “certain assets” of BHOLD. So basically the IP (software) got bought leaving behind debts and various other obligations.
  2. The “certain assets” apparently didn’t include the customers: “Current BHOLD customers’ support experience for their current products will remain the responsibility of BHOLD.”
  3. As Ian Glazer says: “Voelker was acquired by Quest. BHOLD is now Microsoft. This leaves Omada standing alone.” The guys at Omada have big egos so I hope this is a wake up call for them. I think you’re FIM-software days might be numbered.
  4. Ian further says: “This is a sensible deal for Microsoft. Forefront Identity Manager lacks IAG capabilities and an acquisition strategy makes perfect sense.” I agree. It is a sensible deal. But Ian asks the excellent question of how and when the BHOLD goo will show up in FIM. Integrated? Stand-alone? No one knows at the moment but we’ll probably hear something from Microsoft on this topic soon.
  5. Ian also said: “Catch that last bit? Authorization management. BHOLD had some interesting ways of behaving like a PDP for SharePoint.” I actually think this bit might be more important to FIM’s long-term cloud management aspirations. Again, we’ll probably hear something from Microsoft on this topic soon.
So net-net this was a good deal for Microsoft. And what does the parrot see as the top 3 things Microsoft needs to do now that they have acquired “certain assets”?? Execute, execute, execute.


Richard Blackham said...

Longtime speculation of financial hardship by BHOLD's competitors may have driven the disposal of 'certain assets', and the cloak of secrecy may be to protect all parties from having to uncover the truth about the deal. I prefer to think that Paul and his team have made their move at just the right time, and I am also in no doubt that it further enhances my own company's value proposition for a more complex suite than FIM was offering on it's own.
But true, execution may be the field's biggest challenge. What makes Microsoft think that an RBAC product alongside FIM to hinder that sales cycle will strengthen the proposition when the SMB audience may be the biggest chance of success with FIM. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Well, speaking as someone who has deployed integrated FIM & BHOLD solutions twice this year, I can say without hesitation that BHOLD adds significant functionality to FIM. Being able to add roles quickly and easily without having to extend the FIM schema or do custom config is a big win. Also, BHOLD's role mining tool lets you see your existing application role structure quickly - even if that is a horrible mess, it's better to be able to see that horrible mess and begin to improve it gradually than have it hidden in applications or have to unpick it manually via Excel spreadsheets or SQL (been there, done that, didn't enjoy the experience ;)). Finally, and perhaps unexpectedly, BHOLD brings something else that old directories guys like me always thought was missing from FIM - a hierarchy. Yes, it's another DB and another MA, but that's bread and butter to FIM Sync.

But then I suppose I would say that, wouldn't I? ;)