BMC To Acquire Numara Software: A Few Thoughts From Your Favorite ITSM Analyst

OK, the second part of the title is probably untrue. But hopefully Forrester IS your favorite place for IT service management (ITSM) analysis and opinion.

My colleague Dave Johnson (who is well worth following from a Twitter and blog perspective BTW) wrote an immediate reaction to the BMC announcement yesterday. Of course as analysts we are pre-briefed on such things and having had time to think about the announcement I offer the following somewhat random thoughts and opinions:

  1. BMC (and everyone else) is “suffering” at the hands of ServiceNow in the enterprise ITSM space (both new and existing business). Some might see the Numara purchase as a retreat to the mid-market or a tactical diversion to maintain revenue growth in light of shareholder expectations. However, I think it is most likely point 3 (below) – especially in light of the fact that BMC are nearly always in my discussions with Forrester clients on ITSM tool selection (albeit sometimes only from a replacement perspective). And let’s not forget that BMC has long been the dominant ITSM player in terms of customer base with its enterprise and mid-market plays – Remedy and Service Desk Express. BMC continues to win a lot of new business. This is an offensive rather than defensive move.
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Will Humans Make A Comeback In Customer Processes?

We all feel the  loss of human connection due to relentless automation, the emerging behavior of Digital Natives (who prefer online interaction to direct human interaction), and the inability of current systems to support “personalization at scale.” So I’ve been wondering whether we will start to see real pushback against the straight-through and self-service procesees we endure daily — what I am calling “faceless” processes. In short, we are starting to see inklings that the pendulum is swinging away from faceless processes and a back toward more personalized human-driven interactions.

There are a few things that seem to  point in this direction, such as community banks taking customers from the big guys, or the well-documented hatred of foreign call centers and voicemail hell. An “I’ve had enough” shift is also advanced by more vocal consumer attitudes — witness, for example, the recent consumer pushback on debit card fees. The question is, will we start to see companies start to differentiate based on injecting humans back into the process? Does social have a role to play here? And is there a way to measure whether this is actually happening?

BMC Acquires Numara Software In A Mid-Market Makeover: What It Means For Customers

BMC has a golden opportunity to take a different track with Numara than it has for past mid-market acquisitions (see Magic Solutions), and it must do so if it hopes to build on this one and drive new revenue for the long haul. Numara enjoys a massive installed base of customers with its Track-It and Footprints product lines in the small and mid-market. They have been hard at work rounding out their portfolio to include Client Management (software management, systems management, and OS management), and other areas. Numara has been on a journey to re-invent itself and has been succeeding. Further, we believe that the culture of the Numara organization and BMC's will align well, as long as Numara is given the autonomy and investment they need to grow their portfolio and momentum in the field.

BMC Will Need Time To Work
Numara customers should expect relatively little change in daily operations for the first few months, as BMC aligns the organizations. If history is a reliable guide, BMC will typically give a larger acquisition such as this the opportunity to remain mostly intact, and inject key people and processes to help align the acquired organization with the BMC culture and ways of doing business. If this holds true for Numara, customers should see it as a positive step.

Get Clear Direction From BMC In Areas Of Overlap

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Does BT Need A New Report Card?

It's time to re-think the report card used by CIOs to report on BT performance – tomorrow’s BT CIOs must look beyond the traditional IT Balanced Scorecard (BSC). 

I realize this is sacred ground for many people in IT (and some of my colleagues here at Forrester), so let me explain myself before I receive a barrage of complaints. The philosophy behind Business Technology (BT) recognizes technology as integral to every facet of every organization – as such, IT is very much an integral part of the business; we can no longer talk about “business” and “IT” as if referring to two distinct things. I’m suggesting that in the age of BT, we need a new scorecard that better reflects the impact of BT on the business.

A great deal has been written and published on the Balanced Scorecard, including many great pieces of research  by my colleague Craig Symons, such as his recent report "The IT Balanced Scorecard: Customer/Partner Metrics Revisited." I'm not suggesting we throw this out by any means – CIOs absolutely need to use a balanced scorecard to run an efficient and effective BT operation (see fig 1).

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Smartphone OSes In Three-Way Tie Among Global Information Workers

My blog post Apple Infiltrates The Enterprise: 1/5 Of Global Info Workers Use Apple Products For Work! got lots of visibility because of how hot Apple is right now, but our data is much broader than just Apple. Our Forrsights Workforce and Hardware surveys have lots more data about all types of PCs and smart devices that information workers use for work, including types of operating systems — and we even know about what personal-only devices they have.

For example, as of the fall of 2011, the top three smartphone OSes have essentially the same share of the installed base of smartphones used for work by information workers across the globe (full-time workers in companies with 20 or employees who use a PC, tablet, or smartphone for work one hour or more per day). See the chart below and the reference in the Monday, January 30, New York Times article on Blackberry in Europe

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New Research: Organizational Challenges

I was reading an article recently which outlined the different agencies employed within the United Kingdom to protect against cyber-threats.  Not including the armed forces, who would have specialist roles to play in any particular cyber-threat scenario, it transpires that there are 18(!) different players covering this space, each with overlapping strategies, policies and expenditure.  The formal report, from the UK Government’s Intelligence & Security Committee, was wonderfully understated, speaking of "confusion and duplication of effort".

Such difficulties bring to mind the challenges we face in our global organizations, which are often made up from different corporate entities.  Similar issues can happen to our security management functions - we overlap, overspend and contradict – all to the detriment of the enterprise as a whole. Managing a global information security function in an optimal manner is no easy task; it takes careful planning, an understanding of essential roles & responsibilities and the ability to manage some elements remotely.

I’ve recently published two papers relating to these very topics. If you are considering a reorganization, or just interested in what top performing security organizations look like right now, check out these links:

Q4 2011 Financial Releases From Leading Tech Vendors Are Generally Positive

As I mentioned in my blog on January 10, 2012, on “The Ten Potential Developments That Could Shape The Tech Market In 2012,” I was watching closely last week and this week to see what the Q4 2011 financial results of IBM, Microsoft, EMC, SAP, and others were saying about the state of tech demand coming into 2012. Overall, they were about what I expected, which is to say, slower growth than in earlier quarters in 2011 but still positive growth. As such, they countered some though not all of the negative picture presented by Oracle's weak results in its quarter ending November 30, 2011 (see December 21, 2011, "Oracle Delivers A Lump Of Coal To The Tech Market, But It's Too Soon To Call It A Harbinger Of A Tech Downturn").

Here are my key takeaways:

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Apple Infiltrates The Enterprise: 1/5 Of Global Info Workers Use Apple Products For Work!

Have you noticed an increased presence of Apple products in public spaces and workspaces in the last few years? Turns out that 21% of information workers are using one or more Apple products for work. Almost half of enterprises (1000 employees or more) are issuing Macs to at least some employees – and they plan a 52% increase in the number of Macs they issue in 2012.

Sure iPhones and iPods are ubiquitous in public spaces, but Macs weren’t common, especially in the workplace. I started seeing lots of Macs in startups I visit such as Box and Evernote in Silicon Valley, and Backupify here in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But it got really interesting when I started seeing a few employees at large established tech vendors using Macs, where corporate IT usually doesn’t support them and seeing a disproportionate number of Macs among Starbucks loungers. The clincher was the behavior of CTOs at two large infrastructure software companies that have a group of CTOs that work across the company. In both cases, almost all of them were using Macs – and they were making fun of the remaining Windows holdout for using a “typewriter.” Of course, the iPad added to this phenomena, which is visible when you walk down the aisle of long haul flights in the US – there are lots of iPads, especially in first class.

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“We Need To Talk About ITIL”

I need to say something. I need to say something about ITIL in light of all the “poking” I have done via various mediums (such as the What Next For ITIL? and Giving Back To The IT Service Management Community blogs). The fact that ITIL is an easy target; and that breaking something is far, far easier than creating something. Hopefully, we all appreciate that it isn’t really that difficult to pick fault with just about anything, even if it is nigh on perfect (oh, and that is not intended to be read as “ITIL is perfect”). But as the oft-quoted senior manager quote says: “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”

I have great admiration for the creators of ITIL (or the IT Infrastructure Library as was) even though I do think that ITIL v3 became bloated, and potentially confusing, misdirecting, and demotivating. And, having only dipped in to my digital copy of ITIL 2011 I can’t yet comment on the latest incarnation of the IT service management (ITSM) best practice framework.

So what do I really want to say? Or “for heaven’s sake man, please cut to the chase.”

ITIL-bashing doesn’t work but we continue to do it

This might be an overly-dramatic statement but a lot of us do it.

I’d like to think that most, if not all, of us do it for the right reasons: we want I&O organizations to be better at managing IT service delivery and at enabling their parent businesses via technology. However, I can’t help think that WE need to change as much as ITIL needs to change.

Let’s look at some “facts” (OK, “facts” might not be the right word):

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Embracing The Open Web: The Technologies You Need To Know

The open Web is a culture, a community — and a set of preferred technologies for Internet applications. While HTML5 is the best known of these technologies, the open Web also includes JavaScript (client and server), CSS3, Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs), and mobile frameworks such as jQuery Mobile. Together, these technologies comprise a new application platform for the Internet that will gradually replace today’s web platforms (HTML4, Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Simple Object Access Protocol [SOAP] web services, Java EE, and .NET) for most applications. Forrester recently published research outlining the open Web platform’s key components, their readiness, and how the platform is evolving.

Open Web developers tend to use a variation of the façade pattern for their applications but refine the pattern to focus on standard web formats and protocols and services delivered via the Web — so we refer to it as the open Web façade. Developers draw on three bodies of de jure and de facto standards to implement the open Web façade pattern:

  1. Client standards. Application clients based on a body of emerging standards collectively labeled HTML5.
  2. Service plane standards. A service plane that exposes interfaces using the REST pattern and resource-oriented architecture principles. These services are often called RESTful web services.
  3. Virtual infrastructure standards. A highly virtualized server tier (often a public cloud service) that is easy to deploy initial solutions to but that is also able to scale up or down on demand to meet surges in capacity.
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