Do you remember the “telephone” game we used to play in school where you line a bunch of people up in a row and whisper something to the first person in line who whispers it to the next one, etc. and the last person repeats what they heard. This is usually hilarious – “return of the Jedi” comes out as “Jeni has pink-eye”. As someone on the inside of the Stratature MDM acquisition, I often marvel at how our plans an commitments have gotten distorted as they made their way to print. Some of this might be malicious but most of it is probably just the kind of miss-communication that happens as information is passed from person to person.
For example, one of the things that most impressed us about the Stratature product is that they do a better job than just about anybody we have seen at managing hierarchies. When we talked to our internal IT people they said they were buying a copy of Stratature +EDM primarily for its hierarchy management capabilities because they found many people were spending a significant amount of time managing hierarchies in spreadsheets on their desktops and this not only lead to lots of duplication of effort but in some case could be error-prone if the wrong spreadsheet was used.
This information lead to quite a few statements that Stratature was only a hierarchy management system. Stratature is a very fully-featured MDM hub and hierarchy management – while it’s cool – it only a small part of what it does. Going back to the whispering analogy, this is like starting with a statement that I bought a pair of shoes because they had really cool laces and ending up with I bought a pair of shoe laces.
A similar example is our thinking that we can add a lot of value to the basic Stratature hub by integrating it our BI tools being interpreted as we only plan to do analytical MDM. This is ignoring our rich set of tools – SSIS, BizTalk, WCF, WF, Service Broker, etc. that make operational MDM a very attractive market for us. Releasing an analytical MDM only product just doesn’t make sense for us.
Probably the biggest piece of misinformation comes from our statement that we’re temporarily taking the Stratature product off the market. Once we start selling the Stratature product, it becomes a Microsoft product and as such it must adhere to a whole bunch of quality, security, and legal standards that a non-Microsoft product doesn’t have to deal with. Until we jump through all the required hoops, we can’t release the Stratature product from Microsoft. It doesn’t require a lot of thought to conclude that this means we can’t sell Stratature for a while until we get the required changes made. This simple fact has been interpreted to mean we are planning to hack up the product and only keep the few pieces we need to do hierarchy management and analytical MDM (see above). This interpretation is a little too bizarre to be a case of simple miscommunication so I assume there’s a deliberate attempt to spread FUD here. Obviously some people hope that current Stratature customers will think we’re abandoning them so their only hope is to run out and buy something else. Microsoft is often accused of being many things not often said to be stupid and this would be just plain stupid.
Well, that’s the way I see things from the inside. All I ask you to do is to watch what we do in the coming months and judge for yourself what the real story is. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.