IT is under siege by services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), which largely seek to make IT a redundant service. Given that these moves should make most large hardware OEMs effectively obsolete as well, you’d think there would be a huge grass roots effort to provide tools to IT or to deny resources to Amazon in order to protect the existing IT marketplace. Granted, some of these companies supply Web services themselves and maybe they think the path to a service like AWS is easy, but still, you’d think more folks would step up protect or assure that the business they have will remain. That’s not the case, though, and as line organizations increasingly go down a BYOD and cloud service path to work with companies like Google, Amazon or even Microsoft directly, only BMC seems to be standing up in defense.
I find this fascinating.
BMC’s Past Offerings
I’ve written about each as they have been announced but the first was the Cloud Boot Camp. This interesting service was more process than product. It merely instituted a dialog between IT and the organizations IT supported to define needs that weren’t being met, for which these line organizations were seeking outside sources. In effect, it was a customer/IT “come to Jesus meeting.” The two sides could understand each other better and IT could then move to address the dissatisfaction while making the line organizations aware of the very real risks they were taking.
The second service was MyIT, which was a framework that transformed the way IT provided services into something nearly identical to what AWS provided. It embraced AWS along with other third parties to price match, but allowed IT to assure compliance and, in turn, this assured IT’s relevance in the organization. This was really the first true IT weapon designed to directly respond to the redundancy threat that these fast-growing, well priced but often non-compliant cloud offerings were creating. MyIT was well received, but it had one major shortcoming. Its application store component wasn’t competitive, and in a BYOD world where app stores are critical, that was a painful omission.
BMC’s Newest Offering: AppZone
BMC’s latest move showcases what is becoming a common practice. The market is moving so fast and so many small companies feel that buying something is far better than building it. And because cloud services often have to work with third-party tools, unlike prior generations of software and services, they are much more likely to be compliant with existing standards and far easier to integrate.
BMC saw that Partnerpedia had a better offering already in market and, rather than trying to recreate the wheel, it bought the company and was able to bring the result, BMC AppZone, into market relatively quickly after the acquisition closed.
Now it offers an application store that IT can supply, which has two elements: an element that faces out of the company where application developers can plug in and fulfill to their line organizations, and an internal, forced component that ensures that IT approves and assures these apps before the line organizations can be exposed. This gets the technology to the line organizations more quickly, assures policy compliance, and guarantees IT jobs.
Interesting Side Benefit
Most IT software and service companies aren’t set up to sell to or fulfill directly to the line organizations that have increasingly become the customer. AppZone effectively turns IT into a software/services distributor that is more able to facilitate the sale. Those IT companies that know how to sell through distribution can now use similar tools to sell through AppZone, if they think through the process. It will be interesting to see which IT organizations figure this out and put their channel folks in place to execute against this opportunity as opposed to leaving direct sales—which would be increasingly ineffective—in place instead.
I’ll bet we’ll see some big market share changes benefiting those companies that figure this out at the expense of those that don’t.
Wrapping Up: IT Is at War
IT is often at war against changes that attempt to make its function redundant. This was true of PCs, client server, and hosted services long before we noticed the cloud and BYOD trends. But at least one vendor is stepping up to supply weapons that IT can use to defend its turf, and it would be unwise for IT not to at least check it out to see if it can be used in the fight to remain relevant.