Microsoft Acquires Portfolio Management Firm
In a little-noticed move that promises to change the landscape for project
portfolio management software vendors and consultants, Microsoft announced Thursday
it has completed its acquisition of New York-based UMT.
Microsoft expects to combine UMT’s technology and expertise with its
own Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution, which is built on Office
Project Professional 2003 and Office Project Server 2003.
UMT is a project and portfolio management software and consulting firm that
helps companies create, manage and optimize project, application, product and
Portfolio management software helps organizations strategically create, manage
and optimize project, application, product and process portfolios. “The
UMT acquisition will help Microsoft address these scenarios through an end-to-end,
integrated project and portfolio management solution that helps enable both
excellence in project execution and better decision-making in prioritizing and
funding those projects,” said a Microsoft statement. The two companies
first announced the then-pending deal in mid-December.
UMT’s integrates Microsoft’s Office Enterprise Project Management
solution with UMT’s leading Portfolio Management solution using the UMT
Microsoft Project Server Gateway.
Now that the transaction is completed, some members of the UMT executive team
and a number of UMT product development employees will join the Microsoft Office
Project team. The consulting arm of UMT will remain a separate entity and become
the UMT Consulting Group to help provide successful implementations of the Microsoft
portfolio management software platform.
“With UMT’s technology and portfolio framework, we will extend
the Office EPM Solution to offer an end-to-end enterprise project and portfolio
management solution,” said Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of
the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft, in a statement
when the deal was first announced. “Through the acquisition, we will be
able to more quickly deliver on our vision of bringing project and portfolio
management capabilities to all levels of an organization.”
In addition to PPM, UMT will provide consulting services in the areas of application
portfolio management enterprise project management and project management office
Analysts were generally buoyed by the deal.
“Microsoft's plan to acquire UMT's portfolio management software assets
will bring innovative analytic techniques into the mainstream and put pressure
on rival vendors of narrowly targeted portfolio analysis solutions,” according
to a brief analysis by Gartner.
“The acquisition . . . should extend Microsoft Project's ability to effectively
target IT project and portfolio management customers in particular as well as
the enterprise PPM market in general,” according to IDC.
But Microsoft’s expansion into more and more vertical niches also threatens
to put pressure on all of the small players, particularly consultants, who have
safely occupied that market space to date.
“Microsoft’s UMT acquisition will alter the portfolio management
landscape . . . the impact will be large in the market as Microsoft applies
its volume model to this space,” according to an analysis by AMR Research.
“While we successfully developed and commercialized the UMT Portfolio
Manager software suite acquired today by Microsoft, our core competency has
always been delivering the process design and governance consulting methodologies
essential to successful portfolio management adoption," said Gil Makleff,
CEO of UMT North America, in a statement Thursday.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.