Here we go. Now things are going to get interesting. Or are they? MS have just announced that they will make the PPS Planning source code available to customers and partners as the FPA (Financial Planning Accelerator). Is this just a good will gesture to quell the angry mob (even though their torches have probably burned out between January and now).
“Oh well, they discontinued the product, but at least they made the source code available.” I wonder how much use the FPA code will really be. Let’s remember, we’re not talking about a small codebase here. This took a reasonable sized Microsoft team a considerable amount of time to develop. A small consulting firm (the ones hardest hit by the sudden retirement of Planning) is just not going to be able to hand this stuff over to a junior developer and simply say “here, see what you can do with this.”
So, will there be a race among larger, resource-awash partners to see who can further develop and repackage the newly available code first? I’m unsure as to whether the no-cost individual license expressly precludes making an actual saleable product out of the code. Or has everyone already moved on? Some partners are probably rolling their own planning tools, others have sought alliances with alternative vendors, some have probably given up on the idea of a planning, budgeting & forecasting service line altogether.
There were many partners both large and small who invested significant time and money into the future of PPS Planning, and rightfully so – it was strong v1 product and was heading in the right direction. Some of the smaller players were left high and dry by the January news. The announcement also didn’t do much for the customers of varying sizes who were about to start, in the middle of, or just completing a Planning project. I was speaking to a customer the other day who asked me specifically not to mention the name “PerformancePoint” internally for that very reason. They’re looking forward to using the M&A functionality that will be baked into MOSS 2010 but want to be sure that we just don’t use “the PP word”.
I’m sorry to say that I’m seeing more and more customers recoil in fear at the mention of the name PerformancePoint. Microsoft did themselves no favors with the way the PPS roadmap was so suddenly changed earlier this year. As a result PerformancePoint has almost become a dirty word. This is truly unfortunate for the remaining part of the product that will soon become PerformancePoint Services. In the meantime any opportunities for M&A work need extra TLC to convince potential customers that the “other half” of PPS 2007 is still a safe bet for the future.
Whatever new or different products come out of the FPA code I would strongly advise those working on it to ensure they give it a completely different name. I would also hope that MS will recognize the damage they have done to their PerformancePoint brand and come up with a new name for the M&A features coming in MOSS 2010.
Anyone got any suggestions for an alternate name for PerformancePoint Services? In line with all the products it should probably be <InsertNameHere> Services.