The other shoe has fallen at Microsoft. Doug Burgum--former CEO of Great Plains, who remained in the top spot when the Microsoft Business Solutions group was formed from Microsoft's acquisition of Great Plains--is being replaced.
Microsoft is dressing up the change
as a promotion of Burgum to a newly created "Chairman" position. But make no mistake: the new position is a figurehead. Burgum will continue to report to Jeff Raikes, head of the new Microsoft Business Division. But they will now be recruiting or identifying a new head of MBS who will be responsible for the performance of the unit going forward.
Microsoft reorganized itself last month into four divisions, and Burgum moved to report to Raikes. He had been reporting directly to Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer. At the time I said
that there was no way to interpret the move except as a demotion for Burgum. Today's move reinforces that interpretation.
In an interview
on Microsoft's website, Burgum was asked whether he was satisfied with the performance of MBS over the past five years. He replied,
From a current year standpoint, we are absolutely pleased. From an overall growth perspective, at US$181 million this quarter, Microsoft Business Solutions is up 16 percent compared to where we were last year. In terms of software revenue during the quarter, we are up 18 percent thanks to our solid, dynamic line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM solutions and services. License growth is up 21 percent and enhancement revenue has jumped by 16 percent compared to last year.
Note that Burgum talks revenue, not profit. In a market where Oracle and SAP--even smaller players like Lawson, SSA, and QAD--are profitable, MBS has never shown a profit in the five years since its inception.
Here's some free advice for Raikes. Don't consider anyone you know from your past life selling shrink-wrapped Microsoft products. And don't stop with replacing Burgum. Go outside to recruit some of the best talent that has been displaced by Oracle's acquisitions. Look at some of the former PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards executives. Sure, the best of them already have new jobs, but they'll still be open to your offer. Don't forget the Siebel guys. Find some that know how to develop and sell enterprise business software. Find some that know how to build a VAR channel for enterprise systems that have long sales cycles and complex implementation requirements.CNet
has more on the story. Related postsReorg highlights troubles at Microsoft Business SolutionsMicrosoft: selling enterprise software is a "humbling experience"