"With the advent of e-business, there has been a dramatic increase in the volume of data that organizations must manage. Everyone wants to have all their data online and accessible by all their users around the world, 24 hours a day," comments Joyce Durst, vice president of BMC's Enterprise Data Availability business unit in Austin, Texas. "At the same time, with the global economy being so competitive, there is a huge problem in terms of shortage of resources to manage the data. In fact, META Group's 2000 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide noted that with the demand for IT services growing at 25 percent annually, roughly 850,000 IT positions will go unfilled in the United States at the end of 2000. Another interesting statistic from META Group is that 80 percent of the database administrators (DBAs) working today have less than two years of experience. Organizations now have a greater need to have new business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications online very rapidly, and they can't find the resources to do the work."
"That's where we can help," says Durst. "BMC provides tools that automate database management, enabling our customers to leverage the resources that they have. For example, if the only DBA available is a Sybase DBA, we can make them productive on Oracle in a day. We're focusing on solutions that address the resource shortage problems that most companies are experiencing. Our goal is to enable our customers to get new applications up and running quickly."
According to Durst, her unit's newest product Web DBA speeds and simplifies the most common database management tasks object creation and maintenance, SQL construction, the movement of objects and data across environments, and data editing. Web DBA is an interactive database productivity tool for managing enterprise databases from any PC with a common Internet browser. "Web DBA will be sold through our own Web site, through a direct sales force and also in an ASP model," comments Durst. "In addition, we will be partnering with some managed service providers that provide outsourced DBA services for customers. They will use Web DBA and some of our other products as the basis for the offerings they provide their customers." BMC's Web DBA product is currently available for Oracle, and the company plans to add DB2 and SQL Server versions within the next six months.
"I would say that my greatest accomplishment at BMC to date has involved Web DBA and driving all of our business practices to the Web. Web DBA is a great product, and our customers love it. But, more significantly for the strategic importance to BMC, the Web model has required us to put e-support mechanisms in place. We are now doing more marketing over the Web, and we're focusing on setting up trial servers in countries around the world so that customers can try Web DBA without having to download it. The focus that BMC has put on becoming an e-business company is what I'm most happy about," says Durst. "While it's not an overnight process, we are Web-enabling all of our products. We're integrating products to provide a common interface, look, feel and function across multiple database environments and across multiple kinds of products. It will make installation, deployment and support much easier for all of our customers."
The e-business groundswell has precipitated the establishment of many business-to-business exchanges. "These trading exchanges require access to legacy systems since 70 percent of the world's production data still resides on those systems. BMC has the core knowledge and expertise in legacy system access and overall systems management expertise. If you want e-business, ERP, CRM or the new Web data warehouse to work, you need to connect the data. Our enterprise data propagation products enable our customers to access mainframe data and share it with a distributed database application either in a bulk mode or real-time transaction mode. More than half of our customers that have implemented data propagation products did so for e-business reasons," states Durst.
Durst emphasizes that her unit's primary focus is to address customer needs. "The people here are driven to provide the technology that customers care about. What really makes their day is when we bring customers in who provide feedback on the products. Keeping connected with our customers is very important to us, and we do that in several different ways."
"We have a customer advisory council that involves customers coming to Austin for a few days to meet with development, see the latest prototypes, give us opinions and describe their key problems. These meetings provide a great opportunity for customer interaction. We also have on-site focus groups in all of the large cities. We bring 10 or 12 customers together in a room, and we have a four-hour meeting on a specific topic such as data warehousing, Web user interfaces or wireless database applications. Because it is a key focus of our unit to always be in close contact with our customers, every single individual in the organization has a development plan that includes a designated number of customer interactions depending on their level. This guarantees that every year every person in this organization will meet directly with customers, either at a trade show, customer briefing or through the advisory council," explains Durst. "We are also taking advantage of the Internet to enhance customer interaction. My unit's customer advisory council meets here in Austin every six months, but in the intermediate quarters we have Web meetings with them. The Web allows us to have live audio and even show prototypes which works very well for us and for our customers."
"Max Watson, our CEO, recently met with a group of Austin executives. He talked about how the industry has changed. Back in the seventies and eighties, most college graduates wanted to work for a $500 million company. Now college grads are looking for entrepreneurship kinds of opportunities. The key to our success is to make sure that we're presenting those opportunities inside of the company even though we are a multi-billion dollar, highly profitable, very successful organization. Because we recognize the importance of providing a pleasant and enjoyable work environment, we also have basketball courts, volleyball courts, a fitness center, an aerobics class and kitchens on all floors," states Durst.
While these amenities enhance the workplace atmosphere, Durst concentrates her efforts on providing internal motivation. "Our philosophy is that we are customer focused and employee led. I enjoy working with the people here because it is so rewarding to work with intelligent people who believe so much in what they do. They come to work every day wanting only the best for our customers. It is great to be around them," she adds. "I view my job here as really being the person that helps make sure that we stay on the right corporate path that we have the right strategy and the right vision. I have to be sure that I am personally supplying the right level of motivation and keeping everyone enthused about the mission. There is a huge, wonderful opportunity facing BMC, and I make sure that on a daily basis I communicate it to everyone on the team. They do all of the hard stuff."
In the ten years that Durst has been with BMC, she has developed a great appreciation for the company's commitment to its employees and community. "For me personally, BMC has been extremely supportive of community involvement. I am on the boards of the Austin Women in Technology Group and Seton Northwest Hospital. I am also on the advisory board for ARIES, an alliance between industry and education that will work to drive high-tech curriculum into high schools and colleges to combat IT workforce shortages. BMC has been very supportive and encouraging of my involvement with those groups. We're also involved in some more non-traditional activities such as Pet Pals which is a pet therapy group that visits hospitals. We also have a group of people tending a garden in South Austin where all of the food is donated to local food banks. I'm proud of BMC's Charity Central organization, which is an employee-led group of volunteers that selects charities to support and raises funds and provides volunteers for a variety of community organizations, including Austin State Hospital, AIDS Services of Austin and Habitat for Humanity. One of the things I like about BMC in terms of their giving to the community is that the number of charities they support is large and diverse," states Durst.
Facing the Future
"We know that we have some very strong, viable competitors in the world, but we believe that our way to win is to provide more value to our customers by listening and responding to their needs. We can never take our eye off the ball in terms of always having a sense of urgency. To stay ahead of any competition, we have to continue to provide more value more quickly," emphasizes Durst. "The other challenge we face is exactly the same one that's facing our customers resources. Because we are a software company, all of our intellectual property goes home every day. And, every night I light a candle and hope they'll be back the next day."
Durst concludes, recalling BMC's legacy, "This is BMC's twenty-first year in business. We have a huge core competency in database management, and we've been doing that for 20 years across multiple database environments. The fact that we are heterogeneous and focus on our customers' whole enterprise makes us stronger than any offerings that focus on only one kind of database. The fact that we've remained focused is also an advantage for our customers. We want to be the systems management vendor for our customers; we don't feel the need to be their applications provider or to do their business process services. We are a systems management provider, and we want to do that better than anyone else. The way we do that is by remaining customer focused and employee led," emphasizes Durst.
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