The second day of a conference like this is for reflection on what we’ve learned and tying down the answers to questions from day one at BMC Engage. On this day we had a presentation from BMC’s CEO Bob Beauchamp followed by a panel of BMC partners. In many ways, BMC is mirroring Dell’s experience in going private (coincidentally, Dell was on stage earlier talking about how it was integrating with BMC’s tools) in that its leaders now seem to wonder why they didn’t take the company private years ago. What follows are some semi-random discoveries I made on the second day of this conference.
Three Value Propositions
BMC has four relatively unique value propositions. It is majorly vendor agnostic, so its tools flow across heterogeneous shops very easily. It has a significant and very successful mainframe-focused component that is one of the most innovative (although as I type this, mainframe innovation seems like it should be an oxymoron). The company is a dedicated, customer-focused organization, which I’ve never seen before, and I’m fascinated by it. Finally, it has the other half of the Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution, which could keep your company out of the next security breach report.
The advantage to being vendor agnostic is that the company has no problem coming up with products that can massively reduce licensing or hardware costs. Some of its products provide nearly a 700 percent ROI, as a result.
BMC was a mainframe company for most of its life and, as it has moved to other platforms such as cloud and mobile, it has retained this competency. This means it can span both the old mainframe platforms and the new, which is a relatively unique skill outside of IBM. The examples of savings I was shown from actual cases were in the $2M-$3M range, mostly based on finding ways to reduce licensing fees by creating greater efficiency. The mainframe isn’t going away, and a lot of shops need a ton of help to get the savings. They need the vendor to be independent, because their costs on the platform are going up and the number of people with skill sets that know how to use it are going down.
As I mentioned in a previous post, BMC has established a customer advocate reporting to the CEO so that customers have a virtual seat at the executive table. I once promoted this idea to Microsoft after the Vista disaster, though I referred to it as the “don’t do something stupid” executive. Often vendors make obviously bad decisions because they have lost complete track of their customers, and other goals like getting the product shipped have trumped keeping the customer happy. This is often because of screwy employee awards and objectives. The chief customer officer should be effective at keeping this from happening. This goes to the heart of BMC’s Smart IT effort.
Also, BMC has the security missing link. I’ve been covering SIEM for some time as a class of product. This product is amazing in its ability to find and report security problems, but IT often avoids it because the time and cost of correcting the problems is excessive, so the report makes IT look bad. BMC has an offering that automatically fixes the issues that the SIEM product discovers. This is at the heart of why the financial institution I use wasn’t breached along with the other banks and retailers in the news lately. That one bit of info got my attention.
Wrapping Up: Old Name-New Company
As I finished up my time at BMC Engage, I realized I was looking at a brand new company. It was once again pre-IPO, with an old brand. Every part of this company has been changed, from top to bottom, with similar benefits to what Dell has showcased, including a much tighter focus on customer needs and even some fascinating offerings, like the missing backend to the SIEM solution. Innovation is alive in the company and Smart IT is only the latest showcase. In the end, I’m kind of envious, because BMC did what I could not: It returned to the market as a young new company, but with the experience and trust of a mature firm. That’s pretty amazing.
Rob Enderle is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, a forward-looking emerging technology advisory firm. With over 30 years’ experience in emerging technologies, he has provided regional and global companies with guidance in how to better target customer needs; create new business opportunities; anticipate technology changes; select vendors and products; and present their products in the best possible light. Rob covers the technology industry broadly. Before founding the Enderle Group, Rob was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group, and held senior positions at IBM and ROLM. Follow Rob on Twitter @enderle, on Facebook and on Google+