I’m starting to feel like a coast-to-coast ping pong ball because this week I am in Orlando at BMC Engage 2014. BMC is undergoing a transformation that, to a certain extent, mirrors the transformation that IT itself is undergoing. It is shifting from being a firm that was largely known for providing management services on mainframes to a firm that is enabling ever more socially engaged services across a variety of platforms, the cloud, and for users that are increasingly on a new class of mobile devices.
The turnaround for BMC is proceeding very well. It now has the resources to do a major show like Engage again, and the size of the audience at this event is in line with the groups that firms like IBM, HP, and Microsoft attract. This post is on the opening keynote.
The keynote opened with a review of where BMC is. It is now private and doing so well that it has been able to increase its investment in the business by $120M. It has reorganized to focus the efforts of the firm on innovation and customer success, and done a major executive change-out, attracting top names from a who’s who of firms in the IT space. In effect, BMC is from top to bottom about as close as you can get to a new company.
Era of Digitalization
The industry is in its third age. The first age was craftsmanship (mainframe/terminal), the second age was IT industrialization (client/server/LAN/Internet), and the third is digitization. Digitization is basically virtualizing the real world in data. Elements of this have social aspects; they increasingly reside on cloud resources, and they create massive repositories (Big Data), which in turn are turned into actionable information (analytics).
We are being bombarded by a number of disruptive technologies during this age, including the mobile Internet, advanced robotics, 3D printing, automation of knowledge work, autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles, advanced materials, the Internet of Things (IoT), next-generation genomics, advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery, cloud technology, energy storage and renewable energy. Individually, these are disruptive; collectively, this will represent an unimaginable change in five years.
Impact of New Technologies
For instance, autonomous vehicles will reduce the current spend of $200B by $180B, or the income will be 10 percent of what it now is. People won’t buy cars; they will subscribe to services that provide a service — a car consistent with your subscription when and where you need it. There will simply be no point in buying a car and, at some point, the government will likely provide some or all of this service as a component of rapid transit.
The Internet of Things will rise to 50 billion devices by the end of the decade, according to Ericsson. These devices will generate 40 zetabytes of data. As this information is analyzed, financial markets, housing markets, retail sales and energy reserves will begin shifting automatically as a result of folks making decisions on this data.
Industrial IT vs. Innovation IT
Forty-five percent of CIOs have set up dedicated teams to handle digital transformation in order to assure that this massive influx of technology is a benefit rather than the destruction of the firm. (This kind of made me wonder what the other 55 percent are doing. I’m assuming praying a lot.) The rate of change is fracturing organizations, causing critical programs to become uncoordinated, among other things. IT has no way, with any reliability, to fully anticipate what it needs so it has to focus on flexibility.
BMC: “Bring IT to Life”
This is BMC’s new tag line. It is designed to showcase what made BMC different. The company isn’t focused on selling a homogenous hardware/software solution, but on providing tools that can embrace the technologies the IT organization feels it needs, regardless of what they are. A keystone is MyIT, which is providing an intuitive tool that allows users to self-service their needs and allows IT to provide services in line with, and even to embrace, services like Amazon Web Services. This is coupled with Smartflows to track and report trouble reports, reducing the time it takes to resolve problems by 90 percent.
In the end, BMC’s entire tool set is designed to address the coming technology and market changes so that IT can flourish and advance.
Wrapping Up: How IT Can Survive and Flourish
The interesting thing about this opening keynote was that it focused on showcasing and walking us through the changes that will be coming and how critical it is that IT organizations aggressively restructure to anticipate these changes. This sets the stage nicely for the product presentations that BMC wants you to use to address the change. I think this is important, because if you don’t agree with a vendor’s view of the future, the vendor’s tools probably won’t work for you. President and CEO Robert Beauchamp did a nice job setting the stage and showcasing what was needed, leaving it largely up to his team to position BMC’s various products against this massive challenge. Nicely done.
The core message was to point: To survive and flourish in this massively changing age, IT has to be a living, agile and vibrant entity. These are words that aren’t often used to describe IT, but in short, regardless of the vendor(s) you use, you do need to bring IT to life.
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+