Bob Beauchamp, president and CEO of systems management software vendor BMC Software, believes that enterprise IT departments are failing to benefit from the technological automation they strive to deliver for other functions. “IT is the least automated department,” he told users at the company’s recent conference in Prague. “We’ve automated finance, human resources and sales, but we haven’t got around to building a system to manage our own work.”
Despite that fact the IT department’s work is to support tools that substantiate business processes and know-how in an automated, repeatable fashion, in managing its own affairs it still relies on what Beauchamp describes as “tribal knowledge”. IT has become contaminated by the ‘John Syndrome’, he says: John knows how everything works, he can solve any potential issue. “That’s fine,” says Beauchamp, “but John’s not scalable.”
“IT is the least automated function in the enterprise.”
Bob Beauchamp, BMC
And reliance on personnel is proving to be an expensive strategy: according to IT advisory group IDC, the cost of managing data centres is growing at a rate of 10% each year, while the cost of provisioning equipment for those centres is growing at just 3% a year. “We need to automate John,” says Beauchamp.
BMC’s success in pushing its message – that businesses are crying out for tools that can automate the process of linking IT resources to business functions – helped it generate $1.5 billion dollars in revenue for its last full fiscal year. Its 15,000 customers span 116 countries and it counts 80% of Fortune 500 as its customers.
However, the BSM field is crowded with competitors, notes Thomas Mendel, an analyst with Forrester Research. To differentiate itself, BMC must demonstrate it can deliver more than just point solutions, he adds.
With that in mind, BMC is feverishly integrating several of its peripheral point products with its configuration management database – the foundation of all of BMC’s BSM activity. But by the company’s own admission, it still has some way to go before it can completely ‘close the loop’, and provide a seamless infrastructure to facilitate end-to-end BSM.
The May 2007 acquisition of ProactiveNet, for an undisclosed fee, will doubtless help BMC beef up its end-to-end offering. ProactiveNet provides real-time analysis and diagnostic tools, aimed at providing an early warning system for IT. “None of our competitors can deliver this overall capability for intelligent automation of service delivery,” says Beauchamp.
BMC has hitherto only made a handful of acquisitions, although more could follow as the race to close the ‘holistic BSM’ loop heats up, with BMC desperate to stake out its territory before its larger systems management rivals can catch up.