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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt
I took the opportunity to take a look at newly-privatised BMC at BMC Exchange in Twickenham, this week. BMC sells ITSM (IT Service Management) products to medium-large companies (I see these as enabling effective IT governance) and going private seems like a good idea to me (as long as its venture-capital owners don’t just break it up for quick profits). ITSM and ITIL service management best practice (which BMC espouses) is a people and process thing as much as a technology thing, so a successful sale depends on an organisation achieving a certain level of process maturity before choosing and deploying the tools it needs to make its service management vision happen. Being private should allow BMC to concentrate on developing productive long-term relationships rather than on keeping the stock market happy in the short term. And, as CEO Bob Beachamp says “a good thing about being a private company is that we don’t have to apologise for investing in the mainframe“, which is a sentiment I can relate to, although I imagine that investing in tools to manage cloud-based datacentres is a more pressing concern just now.
BMC has a lot of useful ITSM tools: Remedy service desk and service and asset management, FootPrints service and asset management, end-user experience management, the Atrium federated CMDB (now being promoted as an Infrastructure-as-a-service – IaaS – for IT integration), and many more. Perhaps its main issue is making a coherent ITSM story out of all of its many technologies.
A couple of products suggest to me that it will achieve this, in the context of the new era of user-centric digital services delivery. MyIT is a business app that enables end-user self-service delivery of IT services. It keeps the IT group relevant by allowing it to be powerful and useful, but invisible – end users just see useful services without the IT group being a barrier to actually using them.
Then there is Remedyforce, a “Servicedesk-as-a Service” on the SaaS model, which lowers the barriers to implementing service management, even for smaller companies and those starting on the service management journey. It enables the best process automation deployment pattern: start small, grow by demonstrable success and user demand. What I find particularly interesting and innovative is that rather than building Remedyforce from scratch and reinventing the wheel (as is usual in IT), BMC partnered with Saleforce.com to develop the tool on the Salesforce platform. This means, for example, that Remedyforce is ‘social enabled’ with Salesforce.com’s Chatter, without needing to reinvent a collaboration solution specially for it. Next year, MyIT will be available with Remedyforce. BMC seems to be exemplifying an approach to accommodating the emerging user-centric automation landscape that many more companies with established products will need to emulate.