BMC SOFTWARE, headquartered in Houston, Texas, was founded in 1980 and has offices throughout the world. BMC has made a number of acquisitions since it was founded, specifically to enhance their product offerings to meet the needs of their customers. Bill Miller, vice president and general manager of BMC Software's Mainframe Business Unit, who joined BMC more than three years ago, has a passion for solving mainframe data management problems. He also is an outspoken proponent of BMC's Business Service Management strategy. BMC Software defines business service management as a dynamic method for aligning IT to the goals of the business and for ensuring that IT is able to support those goals.
"BMC started in the point product business with our database solutions years ago and grew that business fairly dramatically over the years," explains Miller. "In 1994, we acquired PATROL, recently rebranded as BMC Performance Manager, and that acquisition established BMC Software as a leader in distributed systems management. Through an additional acquisition, we also acquired our MAINVIEW mainframe product line. Following this, we had an acquisition in the security space and another in the capacity management area. Most recently, our acquisitions have been complementing our business service management [BSM] message. We've made some very strategic acquisitions over the past three years that now enable us to be a full-service business service management provider. BMC introduced our BSM strategy almost three years ago, and today we have more than 100 customers working with us in various stages of implementing BSM in their shops," he added.
Business Service Management
Business service management results in improved business performance by enabling organizations to understand how IT impacts critical business services to meet and exceed business service-level agreements and to manage on-demand computing environments from a business perspective. Additionally, companies that have implemented business service management are able to streamline IT operations, exploit existing IT investments, prioritize response and plan for the future. "Our customers expect business service management from BMC to provide that extra level of innovation so that when they use those solutions in their environment, they not only deliver as promised but also automate and take corrective action, providing proactive management," states Miller.
IT and Business Alignment
Miller offers his views on business service management and the importance of aligning IT systems and services with business objectives. "As a company," says Miller, "we are a full business service management provider. From an end-user perspective that means that if an end user calls about an issue, for example a helpdesk call, the helpdesk would have more information than they've ever had before about a problem that has occurred downstream somewhere in the IT infrastructure. Because of our closed-loop process, we can effectively deliver true intelligence to that helpdesk person at the other end of the phone so that they can tell the end user that they are aware of the problem and that it will be fixed in 30 minutes. Business service management is all about having the brains of the IT world in something called the service impact manager [SIM]. The SIM is the place where all of the business services get defined, and at BMC Software we call it the BMC Service Impact Manager. A business service could be an ATM transaction and everything that ATM transaction touches, from the ATM machine all the way through the application, the hardware, the software and so on."
"We ask our customers," continues Miller, "to define their most important business services. Customers may have 10, 20, 30 or even hundreds of business service applications. Once these business services have been prioritized and mapped to their IT assets, we work with them to ensure that our solutions effectively enable their environment to be monitored so they can react to the situations that occur and predict potential problems beforehand."
Routes to Value
When BMC Software introduced business service management, they found that most customers wanted to implement everything at one time. "What we see now is that customers prefer to implement BSM in stages. We call these stages BSM Routes to Value," explains Miller. "These Routes to Value include: Service Level Management; Incident & Problem Management; Infrastructure & Application Management; Service Impact & Event Management; Asset Management & Discovery; Change & Configuration Management; Capacity Management & Provisioning; and Identity Management. What we do with our customers is talk about what things are most important to them - how to start on the road to BSM and how to bring true value to their organization. Initially, we help them decide which of the eight routes are the most important. In many cases in my world, it is data management, because data is what drives their business."
Mainframe Data Management
It is estimated that more than 70 percent of the world's data resides on mainframes, and mainframe usage is actually increasing. However, finding competent individuals with mainframe skills to manage these workhorses is another matter. Miller explains BMC Software's response to the lack of mainframe talent, especially because fewer DBAs are being asked to manage more and more databases - mainframe or otherwise.
"It is our opinion that over the past five to ten years there has been a 25 percent reduction of people in the data center," comments Miller. "Additionally, there are not a lot of people coming out of college with serious mainframe skills. As a matter of fact, I think that is one of the critical challenges facing our country. In the shops of our customers, we are not seeing a replenishment of mainframe skills. To help our customers address that issue, BMC's SmartDBA solution provides a Web-based GUI that enables our customers to do work as a DBA on a database that they may not be as familiar with as their main database. Basically, we developed a solution for SmartDBA that allows a customer to span DB2, IMS, UDB, SQL Server and Oracle, for example, from a common Web-based GUI. Companies will still need an IMS guru and a DB2 guru, but there are many things a junior person can work on with our Web-based GUI before they need to get the more technical people involved," explains Miller. "And, behind the GUI, of course," he adds, "we have all our sophisticated back-end solutions."
To address the mainframe data management problems facing organizations across the globe, BMC provides comprehensive mainframe solutions in the following areas: mainframe monitoring, management and automation; enterprise data management; dynamic batch scheduling management; performance and capacity planning; application performance; and storage.
"Our priorities right now as a business unit," says Miller, "are to develop solutions where the mainframe data is reflected in the SIM as well as the CMDB - configuration management database. In the mainframe space, the challenge with the CMDB is that there is so much data collected on mainframes. My group is currently spending quite a bit of time ensuring that we get the data, that it is populated into the CMDB, and that we have all the other information that goes into the SIM so that, for example, if an application is going down or a database is wobbling out there somewhere, we know graphically from a GUI standpoint what impact that has on an ATM transaction. We can show that it is wobbling and that response time is going down in a way that makes sense to the business user as well as to the IT person. Not only that, we can also work with our customers to define the impact that a potential outage or an actual outage has for the customers."
"That's what business service management is all about, and that's why BMC has evolved our focus from point products to business service management, enabling our customers to map their IT assets to their business so they can most effectively maximize the utilization of the IT dollars that they spend," Miller emphasizes.
A Step Beyond
"Over the past few years," Miller explains, "we've been known as an event management provider where we take in the events that occur and resolve those issues. Now, we're taking it a step beyond that - how do those events actually affect the business, how can we tell if an event is coming that could affect that service and how much is that service impacting the rest of the company? That is how we're evolving," he states, "and that's what our customers expect from us. They enjoy our point products, but they want us to take those point products and integrate them in their environment so they can most effectively leverage the IT dollars that they spend and deliver more value to the business. That's what BSM does!"
"BMC Software's mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise management software solutions," says Miller. "Historically, people have chosen BMC for three reasons - because we have great technology, because we've brought innovation to the world and because of the quality of our customer service and support. Those are the three things that BMC is really known for and that separate us from the competition. When you add those three things to the fact that we are the premier provider of business service management, it's a great combination for our customers!"
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