BMC Software Inc. has been a leading supplier of systems management software since the mid-1980s. This month, BMC announced a new initiative, called Business Service Management, in which the companys products tie the performance of IT resources to the business purpose for which the systems are used. President and CEO Robert Beauchamp (pictured), a 15-year veteran of the company, explained BMCs strategy to eWeek Editor in Chief Eric Lundquist and Executive Editor Stan Gibson in an interview at BMC headquarters in Houston.
How does systems management morph into business service management?
Systems management is a big ball of spaghetti right now. Over the years, management silos evolved to manage different functions. If you left it alone, eventually, there would be one management product for every widget you had.
So solving a problem creates a problem?
It creates a huge problem. If we are going to deliver on the promise of business service management, we have to take all the tools we have and map [them] back to a service model. The customer has to tell us what their key business services are: an ATM system at a bank, a POS [point-of-sale] system at a retail company. Then we will encapsulate the technology into a view of the business service, and we can watch to see if there are any problems delivering on the throughput or the service-level requirements of that application.
What caused you to undertake this?
About a year ago, we sat down and said, "Look, systems management wont scale. Customers have been burned on frameworks, and theyre not going to believe a framework story. Best-of-breed point solutions wont scale, long term."
One member of our board of advisers told us systems management is part of the problem. So we mapped out the key technologies needed to build a complete management environment thats scalable, flexible and maps back to the business. We needed a new console architecture that was business-service-related—a la IT Masters [International S.A.], the acquisition we just completed. And we also needed an asset management system and a help desk system. Remedy was clearly the market leader. So we began a long march to acquire the Remedy [assets from Peregrine Systems Inc.], and we closed that in November last year.
Can you give us an example of how it works?
One of our customers, one of the worlds largest banks, looks at all of their printers all over the enterprise. Using our products, they realized their average printer was being utilized less than 10 percent of the time. They eliminated two-thirds of the printers in their enterprise and moved to workgroup printers. The savings was in excess of $10 million.
Another enterprise, a bank, has a Web-based wealth management system using Unix, Windows and mainframe technologies. Some of the wealthiest people access it from home. Using business service management, the head of the wealth management service for the bank is constantly aware of whether they are delivering on the service requirement. They are also building a wealth of performance information, and they can data-mine it.
Another customer launched a national advertising campaign that was so successful its computer systems were put under stress. Now they estimate the workload impact. Our software is smart enough to see it, predict and reconfigure the environment to accommodate the workload.
Which platform has most of your sales volume, and which is getting most of your research and development investment?
The sales volume is still 45 percent to 55 percent mainframe. Theres 20 years of history behind that. The last quarter, Patrol for Windows, networks and Siebel [Systems Inc.] grew very strongly. Our investment is toward Web services for enterprise management.
Do you believe Microsoft [Corp.]s argument that Linux is more expensive than alternatives?
No, I dont. You can pick examples where it would be, but in general, the price of Microsoft technologies has gone up so quickly that customers are looking at alternatives. We absolutely are investing in Linux.
Are you moving toward grid computing management?
It is something we are studying. But Im not prepared to talk about specifics. As it evolves, we will support it.