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Metalogix Buys Axceler, Gives SharePoint Partners Larger Bag of Tools

The acquisition of Axceler's primary assets by Metalogix brings together two key providers of SharePoint migration and management suites and creates one of the largest independent ISVs focused on Microsoft's collaboration management platform.

It also gives partners of both companies' SharePoint wares a larger bag of tools to offer, but it also could also create turf wars in areas where there's customer or geographic overlap.

The deal closed earlier this week and was announced Wednesday. Terms weren't disclosed. Metalogix acquired the bulk of the business, including the Axceler brand. What remains of Axceler, which will launch as a newly named company next week, is mainly its Lotus Notes management suite and a new enterprise social media management tool called ViewPoint, launched earlier this year. Axceler CEO Michael Alden and CMO Claudine Bianchi will remain with the company and said they'd be revealing its new name after Labor Day.

While both Metalogix and Axceler separately were well-regarded providers of SharePoint administration and management tools, their products didn't overlap with the exception of migration software. Among the key offerings from Metalogix is SharePoint data protection software, while Axceler is best known for its SharePoint governance and permissions platform.

Metalogix has 1,025 channel partners and Axceler has about 130. Metalogix CEO Steven Murphy said the two companies' partner programs are now combined. That means any Metalogix partner can opt to become certified in governance via the Axceler Academy, while Axceler's partners can now carry Metalogix tools, notably its Content Matrix suite.

"It's a great opportunity for us to cross-pollinate these partners," Murphy said. Partners of both companies have access to the Metalogix partner portal, which Murphy said has 600 different resources, including product training, pricing algorithms, ROI calculators and online training programs.

Murphy said Metalogix has three tiers of partners, which include traditional solution providers, the bulk of which helps customers upgrade and manage their SharePoint infrastructures. That accounts for 70 percent of its partner base, he said. Another 10 percent consist of large software distributors. The remainder includes large systems integrators such as Accenture, Avanade, Booz Hamilton, IBM Global Services and others with large SharePoint governance practices.

Metalogix also has OEM partners, including EMC, which includes its products on its price list via the EMC Select Program, Murphy said.

"The portfolio is larger, which gives Metalogix a broader opportunity in the market," said Forrester Research analyst Alan Weintraub. "Metalogix growth was restricted by the limited amounts of capabilities they were delivering and their acquisition has allowed them to grow without completely overlapping."

While Axceler brings 3,000 new customers and 70 employees to Metalogix, Weintraub said this deal wasn't about bringing in new customers. Rather, it was meant to allow Metalogix to expand into the important area of governance and permissions management, which complements its existing archiving and capacity management suite.

One area in which both companies overlap is SharePoint migration. Metalogix offers its Metalogix Migration Manager included in its Content Matrix suite, while Axceler offers ControlPoint. Murphy said Metalogix will wean new customers toward Metalogix Migration Manager but will continue to support the Axceler ControlPoint tool and may issue some updates.

"There's not going to be a strategic roadmap on the ControlPoint Migrator but we'll continue to issue enhancements and support as necessary as that installed base is migrated to the Content Matrix platform," Murphy said. "We don't sunset products in this market. We provide enough functionality in the next releases so that people move forward to the new platforms. Microsoft helps with that with their migrations [new releases]. They kind of force everyone to move forward."

Murphy said the two companies already have many common customers and Metalogix was constantly hearing that governance is a key concern among SharePoint customers. "It's the SharePoint governance and administration features that overwhelmingly our customers are looking for, that it made sense to link up with our migration, upgrade and ongoing management capabilities of Content Matrix," Murphy said.

The combined company will have over 13,000 customers and 250 employees. Murphy said Axceler customers will immediately have access to its 24x7 live telephone support service.

Among the 70 employees moving from Axceler to Metalogix is Christian Buckley, a SharePoint MVP and evangelist who is well regarded in the SharePoint community. "There are a lot of interesting integration stories and products in the pipeline," Buckley said.

Asked if the new influx of partners will create concerns over turf, especially on the Axceler side, Murphy said, "Not if they register their deals."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.