Anatomy of the Deal
This is the first in an occasional series offering an inside look at prominent deals in the Microsoft partner community.
Microsoft Corp.-Hummingbird Ltd. Agreement: Feb. 7, 2006
Toronto-based Hummingbird Ltd., a Microsoft Gold Certified
Partner that provides enterprise content management (ECM) and network
connectivity applications. Hummingbird, founded in 1984, recorded
revenues of $236 million (in U.S. dollars) in fiscal 2005.
Hummingbird and Microsoft will align product management
and development teams to integrate Hummingbird Enterprise, the company's
flagship ECM product, into various Microsoft applications and platforms.
The partnership will give customers access to Hummingbird Enterprise
through Outlook, SharePoint Portal Server, Office and Internet Explorer.
Hummingbird will offer native support for SQL Server 2005 and early
support for Office 2007. Hummingbird has also pledged support for Microsoft's .NET strategy.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Kyle
McNabb, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge,
Mass., speculates that Microsoft has made a "significant joint
marketing investment." He says the deal is in the top third
of all Microsoft partnerships in terms of importance.
The partnership will focus on marketing integrated applications
to three vertical industries -- legal, government and financial
services -- primarily in the midmarket space. ECM software lets
companies manage the lifecycle of corporate information from capture
and storage to retrieval and dissemination.
Forrester cites Hummingbird as a strong player in a crowded market that also includes companies such as EMC Corp., FileNet Corp., Interwoven Inc., Mobius Management Systems Inc., Open Text Corp., Stellent Inc., and Vignette Corp., as well as giants such as IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp. and, to an increasing extent, Microsoft.
How Partners Will Benefit
Hummingbird is looking to the Microsoft channel to provide expertise
in the three targeted verticals.
"We want to engage more aggressively with the Microsoft channel
because it is a channel that has understanding of these markets,"
said Andrew Pery, CMO and senior vice president of marketing at
Hummingbird. "We see the midmarket as a significant opportunity
for incremental growth. The demand for enterprise content management
solutions is really accelerating with midmarket customers."
How Users Will Benefit
"The new and exciting [aspect] will be the fundamental recognition
that users who use [Hummingbird Enterprise] spend most of their
time in the Office suite to begin with," McNabb says.
"Now you're going to get much more comprehensive functionality
exposed through that environment. The Office suite becomes a platform
and not just a productivity tool."
How Hummingbird Will Benefit
Forrester's McNabb says Hummingbird is wisely staving off Microsoft
in the ECM arena by embracing Microsoft platforms.
"It's not so much Microsoft helping Hummingbird get into the midmarket as it is Microsoft encroaching on the space where Hummingbird has been a leader," he says. "Do you want to fight Microsoft or embrace it? Hummingbird has chosen to embrace it. The sooner you embrace the infrastructure from the likes of IBM and Microsoft, the better. You don't want to be left on an island trying to compete for infrastructure spend. For Hummingbird, it's a very wise move."
How Microsoft Will Benefit
Integration of Hummingbird Enterprise should help speed widespread
adoption of Office 2007, McNabb says.
"It is important for Office 2007," he says. "Microsoft wants to
avoid the issues it has had with adoption of Office 2003. It's that
much more of a driver for [companies] to say, ‘I'll move forward
with Office 2007.'"
Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.