Microsoft announced that it has acquired “certain assets of BHOLD.” Without having received more details from the team at Microsoft, my interpretation is that they acquired the core of BHOLD’s product set – because they are claiming the acquisition will add “in-depth role management, separation of duties, access certification, and authorization management.”
This is a sensible deal for Microsoft. Forefront Identity Manager lacks IAG capabilities and an acquisition strategy makes perfect sense. (Interesting to note that of the big brand vendors, IBM will be the only one to grow-their-own and not acquire someone.) It will be interesting to see if Microsoft folds the BHOLD IAG capabilities directly in to FIM or keeps them aside as a separate product. Given Microsoft’s track record, if they decide to roll BHOLD’s IAG capabilities into a future release of FIM, customers should not expect such a release until 2013.
Let’s return to the quote from Microsoft’s web site again… “in-depth role management, separation of duties, access certification, and authorization management.” Catch that last bit? Authorization management. BHOLD had some interesting ways of behaving like a PDP for SharePoint. In some regard, BHOLD was the first vendor to unify IAG and EAM functionality. It will be very interesting to see those if those authorization capabilities end up being used as a module of or bridge to ADFS v2. Time will tell…
So what’s the lottery aspect of this post? Consider that there were at least four IAG vendors who specifically built their solutions on top of ILM/FIM: Omada, Voelker, and BHOLD. The lottery works like this. If you get acquired by Microsoft (or Quest), you win! If you don’t get acquired, you lose and the risk to your market increases. Voelker was acquired by Quest. BHOLD is now Microsoft. This leaves Omada standing alone. If I were an Omada customer, I’d sit tight watch whether Microsoft rolls the BHOLD capabilities in the core of FIM. If Microsoft does offer BHOLD capabilities within FIM, then vendors like Omada will be at risk. If Microsoft offers BHOLD capabilities as a separate product, then there is less risk to Omada and its customers. Needless to say, the market around Microsoft’s identity offerings is just getting interesting.
UPDATE Sept 23 to remove inaccurate reference to DotNetFactory as a FIM-based product.