BMC adds partners to back service management vision

BMC Software Inc. Wednesday introduced three partners with which it will work on developing products and services for its Business Service Management (BSM) initiative, a strategy aimed at better tying IT services to business objectives.

Executives from security technology developer Symantec Corp., storage vendor EMC Corp., and services firm Accenture Ltd. joined BMC CEO (chief executive officer) Bob Beauchamp at a New York event to discuss the work they will do together to offer their customers tightly integrated products that can be used for end-to-end IT infrastructure management and monitoring.

Symantec will work with BMC on unifying technology for managing an organization's IT systems, network, storage and security, according to Symantec CEO John Thompson. EMC CEO Joe Tucci said his company will focus on SLAs (service level agreements) in its work with BMC, aiming to give customers complete control over adjusting their IT components to meet varying service-level needs. Accenture is teaming with BMC on quick-start programs to let customers rapidly implement BSM products and methodologies, managing partner Andre Hughes said.

Houston-based BMC began speaking about its BSM initiative six months ago, when it laid out plans for integrating software it acquired through its purchases of help desk and management software makers Remedy and IT Masters. Those buyouts were intended to fill in foundational technology pieces BMC felt it needed for its BSM strategy, according to BMC Director of Business Development Johnny Ola.

"Those acquisitions weren't opportunistic. We had a clear roadmap in place for over a year," he said. "We didn't want to announce it until we had the building blocks in place."

With the products now in its portfolio and the partnerships it just announced, BMC now has everything ready to begin helping clients implement its vision of tightly linked IT and business operations, executives said at Wednesday's gathering. The focus of BSM, they said, is to eliminate the component-focused way of handling IT common at many organizations in favor of an approach that emphasizes organizations' business needs and aligns IT pieces behind them.

Two customers speaking at the event said BMC's approach echoes changes that were already under discussion in their own enterprises.

"We knew we needed to change the way we looked at our connection to the business and move from the notion of managing elements to turn IT into something more tangible, like managing services," said Lee Adams, vice president of service management and delivery for Hospital Corporation of America Inc. (HCA), a Nashville, Tennessee, hospitals operator.

HCA traditionally relied on IT mainly for billing processing, he said. Now, it's seeking to more actively use IT in its facilities' daily operations -- for example, by developing an automated system for dispensing medications, using barcode scanners and wireless handheld computers to ensure that patients are receiving the proper medications at the correct time and dosage.

"My priority is getting us aligned to the business, really getting folks to understand why they're there. It's not just to install servers and applications. It's to enable something for the business," Adams said.

U.K.-based conglomerate Centrica PLC has also been examining ways to better utilize technology to aid its diverse collection of businesses. BMC's message about its BMS vision resonated with Centrica, according to program manager Matthew Burrows.

"The way I see it, BMS is a philosophy. It's an approach to delivering IT services to the customer," he said. "It has great synergies in what we were talking about and the way we thought we needed to go. Hearing that message coming out of BMC gave us a lot more confidence."

One project underway at Centrica is an initative to automate troubleshooting tasks, using BMC's Patrol software and several third-party applications, including Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView Service Desk, Burrows said.

"Instead of people sitting around monitoring consoles, we now have the system automatically raise the trouble ticket," he said. "It generates the trouble ticket, which is sent to the service management center, where the business impact of that is immediately assigned and understood. We can diagnose a lot quicker and resolve the ticket more quickly than we could have done before, resulting in greater uptime."

BMC has been tailoring its product portfolio to better meet its BSM goals, executives said. The company announced Wednesday a new release of its Service Impact Manager software, adding to the event management application a new Web interface with executive dashboard and role-based reporting options. BMC also announced plans for Patrol support in Siebel Systems Inc.'s Universal Application Network integration architecture.

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