BEA and Different Portals for Different Folks

July 17, 2007 at 4:17 pm | Posted in BEA, Oracle, portals | Leave a comment

In my previous posting on How Many Portals Should a Vendor Offer I talked about how both Oracle and BEA have dual portal strategies. Since then I had a conversation with Shane Pearson of BEA on this topic. I still stand by my posting, but Shane did point out that BEA is dedicated to maintaining 2 SKUs. This means they are dedicated to 2 purchasable products to meet different needs. They are moving forward over time to unify the infrastructure underneath them and new add-ons will likely support both.

To clarify my posting, I don’t think BEA has done anything wrong. There’s no magic wand that can be waved when an acquisition occurs to instantly rationalize all the personnel, products, and technologies and integrate everything. My point is twofold:

1. A roadmap should be forthcoming from a vendor within a short time after an acquisition (about 3 to 4 months) to reassure existing and imminent customers that their current path will continue or let them know frankly that a product or technology will no longer be supported so they can plan for migration or another purchase. No one wants to be the last one to buy a product before it is discontinued.

2. It is my opinion that, as a buyer’s advocate, software purchasers should be aware that as much as a vendor tries to make redundant services (caused by dual path strategies) under the covers transpearant, cracks start to form over time. These cracks are caused by fragmentation and take the form of higher costs (more specifically, costs that don’t decrease over time as quickly as market pressures encourage), higher risk that a piece of redundant infrastructure that a user is dependant on will be eliminated, slightly lower support costs (especially as one set of infrastructure becomes more rare in the marketplace), and slightly more difficulty finding consulting and integration services. I don’t know for sure that BEA will encounter this issue, but it is the norm and provides a reason for customers to be pessimistic in the long run.

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