It's nearly a week since the announcement that shook the (PPS) world ! It's been a bit difficult to report on; generally the Adatis blogs try and offer solutions to problems we have encountered out in the real-world. Now I could say something crass here about the real-world and the decision makers involved...but that would be childish right?
If I was to offer up my feelings, they wouldn't be that far from Alan Whitehouse's excellent post on the subject. If I had an ounce of class about me, it would be much more aligned with Adrian's poignant discussion opener, the one with the sharp-witted title, but alas....
We've spent the best part of the week speaking to customers, partners and Microsoft about what to do next. The timing was choice - would you believe, we actually had three new PerformancePoint Planning phases kicking off this week, according to my project plan - I should be setting up Kerberos as we speak.. [There is always a positive right?]
Some customers are carrying on regardless, they...
...already have planning deployments and are too far invested and dependent to back out at this stage or,
...have a short-term view (That's not a criticism) and need a "quick" fix with a low TCO to get them through some initial grief. (Typically these customers are going through rapid organisational change, or form part of a recent acquisition and, to help them see the wood from the trees during the transition, require short/sharp solutions)
Other customers, with longer-term views, feel the product, or more importantly, the suitably skilled resource pool, will drain away far quicker than the life-span of the much touted Microsoft product support. I have to agree - Fact - Adatis will not be employing or training anymore PerformancePoint Planning Consultants. I doubt many other consulting firms will either.
It's those customers with the longer-term view that are the ones currently in limbo - they are experiencing pain, they need pain relief, what should they do - wait and see what Office 14/15 offers? (There is talk of some planning functionality appearing in future Office versions - what truth there is in that..?).
The Dynamics customers could wait for the resurrection of Forecaster - I do have information on good authority that they will be developing Forecaster to be closer, in terms of flexibility, to PPS Planning. I had originally heard the opposite view in that Forecaster will be replaced with a cut down version of PPS Planning. Either way, I'm sure some of the PPS Planning code-base will be utilised, which could end rumours of PPS Planning being 'given' to the community as some form of community/open-source arrangement. An arrangement that is, in my opinion, a non-starter anyway, "Hey, Mr FD, We've got this great open-source budgeting and forecasting product we think you should implement!" - yeah right !
Another rumour (and mixed message) is that Service Pack 3 will contain some of the requested features that were earmarked for version 2 (After all, the code has already been written, right?) this rumour was actually started by Guy Weismantel in his Announcement Video. However, the information I have since received, clearly states that Service Pack 3 will contain stability and bug fixes only - so which is it to be? It's unlikely for a service pack to contain new features, but it's not unheard of; anyone remember the original release of Reporting Services? That arrived as part of a service pack for SQL Server 2000.
The burning question I cannot get answered is, have Microsoft actually stepped out of the BPM market for good? We are told that Excel, Sharepoint and SQL Server provide BPM - I can't see, without Planning, how they can. Short of hard-coded values, renewed Sharepoint/Excel hell, another vendor or bespoke planning solution, businesses can't set plans which have further reaching implications; effectively Planning's demise is also, effectively, shelving the Scorecard/KPI functionality from the M&A toolset too ! It will be interesting to see the new Monitoring & Analytics Marketing, will they still demo Strategy Maps and Scorecards, or will they now focus on Decomposition trees and Heat maps? Monitoring & Analytics may, in practice, just become Analytics..
I would have thought the cost of continuing to develop the product (even if it were a lemon, which Planning certainly wasn't) is far less than the potential loss of revenue that Microsoft will face due not only to the loss of confidence by its customers (who are going to think twice about investing in any Microsoft product now, let alone a V1) but perhaps more significantly, the doors it opens to it's competitors who can offer a complete BI\BPM stack.
Planning was foot in the customer's door for BI - once you put planning in, the customer had already bought the full BI stack, and in most cases, our customers were wowed by what they could now achieve.
I suspect Cognos and SAP are still partying now!