BMC Seeks to Boost Transaction Management with Identify Acquisition

BMC's plan to acquire Identify Software aims to help BMC's IT customers to quickly resolve application transaction problems.

BMC Softwares planned acquisition of Identify Software is expected to give BMCs fledgling transaction management initiative a big leg up in helping its IT customers to quickly locate, diagnose and resolve application transaction problems.

The proposed $150 million acquisition, announced on March 27, brings to BMCs initiative the ability to capture all details of a transaction problem and accelerate the resolution of the problem for Windows, J2EE and .Net applications.

Identify, which generated revenues of $23 million last year and saw 60 percent growth rates year over year, brings to the table patented Black Box technology that can monitor application execution and can record and playback activities leading up to a transaction failure. It also applies root-cause analysis to the events.

BMC in February launched its transaction management initiative, which is designed to combine transaction data, user experience and infrastructure monitoring to improve business service delivery by reducing the time it takes to resolve transaction problems.

Identify brings "horizontal visibility to that effort, according to Julie Craig, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo.

"The Identify product is very good at monitoring transactions that go across vertical device infrastructures. Identify allows a company to look at their entire infrastructure in context to transactions running across it. When problems occur, it enables them to in effect replay or recreate what was happening in the infrastructure that contributed to the problems," she said.

But BMC is not alone in targeting the high-growth transaction management area.

Competitors such as Mercury Interactive acquired BeatBox Technologies and rival CA acquired such capabilities with its Wily Technology acquisition, which included a small transaction management company called Timestock. Whether BMC is playing catch-up with its rivals is an open question.

"There is a feeding frenzy for products in the market now that give vendors a horizontal view," said Craig.

"It started when IBM in November acquired Collation. And then that continued with the Wily acquisition, which was a big win for CA. I dont want to say BMC was behind the curve, but a lot of existing vendors are realizing the importance of these kinds of products and theyre snapping them up like hotcakes," she added.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about BMCs transaction management initiative, click here.

Although BMC officials would not detail its integration plans for Identify, they did identify several synergies between the two companies.

"This provides us with access to 15,000 BMC customers, puts us on the map with the stability of a publicly traded company and delivers on a broader vision for our customers," said Paul Farr, chief marketing officer for Identify in New York.

"Both companies can continue to specialize with application problem resolution and connect the processes of products that BMC offers," he added.

Product synergies exist as well. BMC provides the transaction monitoring, Identify provides the analysis and problem resolution, and BMCs Remedy trouble ticketing system provides the problem tracking, according to Farr.

Together "we let you improve the process and reduce the time required [to resolve application problems] by 80 percent," Farr said.

BMC officials hinted at further investment in this area, but refused to say whether the Houston, Texas, company plans to acquire more companies in the space.

But with the rise of SOA (service-oriented architecture) applications, the market for cross-systems transaction monitoring and troubleshooting is growing quickly.

"They are positioning, as other vendors are, for SOA management. I wouldnt be surprised if during the next six to nine months if they did not come up with a very clear product roadmap for that area. They are moving in that direction, but theyre not quite there yet. Whether they have a plan for internal development or will be acquiring, I cant say," said Craig.

The plan for Identify includes moving existing BMC transaction management efforts over to Identify, which is headquartered in New York but has development facilities in Israel.

It will become a business unit of BMC once the deal closes. That is expected in the second quarter.

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