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IT Assets and Profitability

  • May 24 2006, 1:00am EDT

BMC Software and IDS Scheer partner for a very granular connection between infrastructure performance and operational outcomes

One of the most interesting demos showcased at last week's SAP Sapphire conference in Orlando involved an integration between SAP business process management partner IDS Scheer and BMC Software.

The companies announced that IDS Scheer's Business Architect and BMC's Atrium CMDB (configuration management database) had been combined in a solution that relates IT infrastructure performance directly to discrete elements of businesses processes. As a result, IT infrastructure can be directly tied to an operational business function, related cost and revenue. Conversely, a failed server can be tied directly to lost revenue, and "people" cost and revenue can also be tied to infrastructure.

Companies like BMC have been able to relate IT performance to operational metrics in the past, but not with such granularity. The announcement may not have been of great interest to analysts because the infrastructure management and process management are very distant functions. However, that is the same reason the release is notable, for the connection it makes from far back office to front-line operational aspects of business.

BMC is known for products in the asset discovery/dependency business, and offers relationship dependency mapping, identity discovery, asset discovery and configuration discovery. BMC Discovery for ARIS was developed to discover and import IDS Scheer business process models and map them directly to data on asset performance stored in BMC. As the demo showed, visual representations of connections and dependencies could quickly reveal a particular component that might be slowing airline reservations and bring it directly to the attention of both IT and the business owner. Not only does this give a "throat to choke" for business, it demonstrates cost and revenue contribution within business processes. "IT performance is no longer a black hole to business," said Brent Brightwell, senior solutions marketing manager for BMC Discovery, "and if IT doesn't want to be outsourced, it's justification for their own SLAs [service level agreements], what they are doing and why."

There's also the financial planning side, which associates dollars with IT planning. "Once you know your cost drivers and revenues, you see both infrastructure and cash registers running and know how much infrastructure you need or not," Brightwell said. Everybody says you can't manage what you can't see, and so we think this is pioneering."

"We have talked for a long time about using business process as a way to bring the IT and business communities closer together," said Trevor Naidoo, managing director, BPM practice at IDS-Scheer. "The business side doesn't usually care about such things until something breaks, but a simple disk failure can have significant business impact. This is the first time we've been able to do this and showcase it."

Naidoo says the partnership and product could help business not only take notice, but take ownership. "They'll start to appreciate that IT asset failure can have a predictable result. They'll have an eye on the dashboard that supports the business processes they own, and see it as business risk and part of their job."

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