Editor's Note: After the April issue of DM Review went to press, we learned that Gene Austin is no longer vice president and general manager of BMC Software's Enterprise Data Management Group. William (Bill) Miller has assumed responsibility for the Enterprise Data Management Group, effective April 1.
How many databases does your organization have? Probably at least several and quite a few in very large organizations. Databases are complicated, and each one has its own peculiarities. Additionally, the products designed to assist in managing these databases are as different as the databases themselves. While you can use one vendor to supply a management product for DB2 UDB and Oracle, it won't be the same product. Toss in the management of mainframes to add a little spice, and things really become complicated. There's no coexistence, no linkage and no integration between these products. That doesn't sound like a recipe for efficient management of anything, especially not a mission-critical information system.
Gene Austin, vice president and general manager of BMC Software's Enterprise Data Management Group, is cooking up a better solution. Approximately seven months ago, BMC Software outlined its global enterprise data management blueprint code-named Project Golden Gate. The goal of this project is to provide deeper levels of interoperability and integration between management tools for mainframe and distributed database management systems. Says Austin, "Golden Gate's premise is that data management needs to be heterogeneous in nature. You need to be able to manage databases in a centralized way regardless of what underlying databases are behind your management scheme. We're the only company positioned to do that well."
Austin joined BMC in June 2001, and his first role was general manager of distributed database management products. He assumed his present position in February of 2002. Explaining his current role, he says, "I'm highly competitive always looking for ways to win. I love to solve problems. When I came to BMC, we really didn't have a data management strategy. We had a bunch of products some with an old architecture. We had some great products with new capabilities that we were kind of pushing in a corner not really moving them. It was a little bit in disarray. One of the things that I basically got the team fired up about and this is the kind of thing that makes me excited was taking a new approach: Who is the enemy? What does the customer need? Clean the slate forget about past investments. Focus on going forward. Get the right people in the right spots. Have a vision and execute it. That's what I've been doing for the last year and a half. You can't get a better job. When I came to BMC, there were good people but without a direction. There were some great underlying technologies market-leading in some cases but still with a need to improve in other cases. I was able to take these people and rally them around a specific focus. It's been very exciting and satisfying," he says.
"BMC is the leader in systems management," states Austin. "We're one of the 10 largest software companies in the world, and we're the only company completely focused on the managing of systems and software. We clearly have a very strong worldwide presence, and we are very focused on all levels of infrastructure management in the IT organization systems, operating systems, major databases, storage and security. All the major pieces of the pie for optimizing your IT environment are encompassed in the BMC strategy. One of the things our customers get most excited about when doing business with BMC is our breadth of capability what we can manage from our overall capability standpoint across mainframe and distributed systems. Then, after they buy our products, they probably are most satisfied with our service and support. We continue to get really high accolades in our ability to resolve problems and solve customer issues very quickly. We have great products and great service."
Reflecting on his tenure at BMC, Austin offers, "The most satisfying aspect of my role as GM has been acting as a catalyst for getting the right ideas on the table and seeing it come to fruition in our Golden Gate Project. It was very rewarding to see the organization pull together a thought, a process, a design and a direction. Because the premise of Golden Gate is that database management needs to be heterogeneous in nature, part of the challenge was getting the mainframers and distributed sides together. We literally put them in a room for a day with my heads of engineering and explained what we wanted to accomplish. Then we broke them into sub-teams. By the end of the day, I had a hundred of my top developers walking out of the room saying, 'This can be done. We know how to do it let's go.' As a result, with Golden Gate, we're going to deliver an integrated set of products that will allow our customers to manage across the different databases and have a real strategy about deploying data and managing performance, recovery and administration. We're really excited about it, and you'll start seeing the fruits of that about six months from now real major releases. There are pieces coming out already, but the real mainframe coexisting with distributed management starts in summer of this year," states Austin.
As a self-proclaimed "born-and-bred distributed guy" having a background at HP, Sequent, Compaq and Dell, when Austin embarked on managing both the mainframe and distributed data management products, he noticed some interesting similarities. He explains, "One thing I recognized is that the customer problems are the same. It doesn't matter what architecture you're talking about. They all want an integrated approach to solving the problems of tuning, space management, the overall capability of monitoring, backup and recovery. They're the same set of problems, but they have to be implemented differently. The development of the application or the tool is probably a little more complex in the mainframe area because you're dealing with such a large architecture, but for the customer you have to solve the same problems. This is nice because it allowed us from a message and go-to-market standpoint to take our mainframe and distributed strategies and merge them. The second thing is that we're seeing a blurring of the specialty database DBAs. They now have to span multiple databases and be able to manage the data versus managing a database. The recognition of that was an awakening for us in the last nine to twelve months, and it is kind of the underpinning of our overall strategy going forward because we think we're best positioned in the mainframe and distributed arenas to leverage that direction that our customers are trying to achieve," he emphasizes.
In the planning and development stages for almost two years, the Golden Gate project provides the bridge from mainframe to distributed. "Nobody has done this at the database administration level. Everybody's got consoles that manage across a bunch of widgets and layers of infrastructure, but nobody's done it at the database administration level. Our approach is to build a common infrastructure that allows you to manage, monitor and plan across any of the data management structures and move seamlessly between them. Then you can use expert products to tune or manage your space from a centralized standpoint one code base, one direction," explains Austin.
Founded in 1980 with five employees and two products, BMC Software now has offices worldwide and is a member of the S&P 500, with fiscal year 2002 revenues of approximately $1.3 billion. "At the highest level," states Austin, "I think customers choose BMC because we're easy to do business with. We're very customer-centric. We are very focused on making our customers successful. We continually get rated very high in customer satisfaction for our support, services, methodologies and quality of the people on the phone. We have a number of processes inside the company that are there to fix serious customer issues. We have a process called CritSit, for critical situations, where every week the leadership of the company conducts a conference call. We review major customer issues that need total focus by an organization or team to get fixed. That's a process that is extremely effective for getting fast resolution of customer issues. Everybody has problems everybody has customer issues. It is how fast and how effectively we respond to those issues that differentiates us," he proudly adds.
That differentiation is possible because of the BMC employees. "Our culture is designed to work our employees pretty hard, but also to reward them pretty well. We have great facilities for our employees, and we have accoutrements that many companies don't have. We have a great team, and my overall philosophy of managing is that you cannot take hiring for granted. You must hire the best people possible, and then you're in good shape. Things tend to take care of themselves if you have the right people in place," comments Austin. "One of the things I have noticed with managers in some companies these days is that they're actually scared to hire someone who is really good. They fear that person could someday take their job. That's not our philosophy. I like to say, 'Hire good people and get out of the way!'"
Focused strategy, customer-centric philosophy and good people. That's BMC's recipe for organizational success!
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