The news that Quest Software has bought Quadrotech Solutions AG broke today. As the (now-ex) chairman of the Quadrotech board, you can say that I was a little invested in the project. It’s nice to see it complete as I think that the two Q’s are a good match. Both, for instance, showed immaculate taste by sponsoring the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We thank Quest for their sponsorship of the 2021 edition, which allows the writing team to spend more hours investigating, probing, understanding, and eventually writing about Office 365.
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ISVs and the Microsoft 365 Ecosystem
A healthy ISV community is important for an ecosystem like Microsoft 365. Microsoft grew large Exchange and SharePoint on-premises businesses thanks in no small part to the way that ISV filled functionality gaps.
It’s more difficult inside Office 365 because many of the techniques ISVs can use with on-premises servers are unavailable. It’s becomes even more challenging when Microsoft ships new features on what seems like an almost daily basis.
I still think that ISVs have a future in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. It’s harder to find the gaps to fill, but ISVs do take on challenges that Microsoft doesn’t want to invest in because of complexity, potential support cost, or it’s not aligned with their business goals.
Great Technology Solves Problems
Tenant to tenant migration is a good example. It’s never going to be a cookie-cutter solution because every company is different and the task of combining or splitting organizations varies based on their business needs, regulatory environment, and timing. Microsoft is working in this space, but I consider their vision to be very limited. I doubt that any solution engineered to move data from one Office 365 tenant to another can process everything automatically: there are just too many moving parts across Azure Active Directory, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams, and Stream to make everything fall into place at the touch of a button.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t innovate to solve individual aspects of the overall challenge, and work hard over time to bring meaningful automation to the table. When I look at the transformational technology Quest now has from its acquisitions of Metalogix, Quadrotech, and Binary Tree, I think great strides can be made in tenant-to-tenant automation, especially when driven by some of the people I know to work in this area.
More ISV Consolidation to Come
I expect more consolidation to happen within Office 365 ISVs. Scale matters, especially to protect cash flow at a time when the pandemic created some unique (and tight) business conditions, and investment is needed to drive new technology forward. Quadrotech could have survived on its own, but it will do much better as part of the Quest Platform Management group.
The Experts Conference
Speaking of Quest, their The Experts Conference (TEC) takes place (virtually) next week (November 17-18). There’s still time to register to listen to a great lineup of speakers, including my session about sensitivity labels (I know, thrilling!). Quest even had me make a video to explain why I think TEC is such a great event.