BMC takes service desk to the cloud via Salesforce.com

Companies to "use our resources to deliver the technology so customers don't have to expend theirs."

BMC and Salesforce.com partner to deliver BMC's Service Desk Express on Force.com platform.

BMC Thursday positioned itself to lead the market in cloud-based service desk technology when the company announced it had partnered with Salesforce.com to deliver its IT management software the Force.com platform

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BMC's Service Desk Express will be sold, marketed and available via Salesforce.com, which company executives say will enable more IT departments to take advantage of enterprise level service desk technology. The partnership news comes from the Dreamforce 2009 conference hosted by Salesforce.com, at which BMC and Salesforce.com executives are scheduled to discuss the collaboration.

"By delivering service desk technology via the cloud, you can abstract all the complexity of the infrastructure that rely on IT services delivery and follow best practices," says Bob Beauchamp, BMC chairman and CEO. "BMC and Salesforce will use our resources to deliver the technology so customers don't have to expend theirs. They can get a service desk configured, up and running rapidly and do it efficiently at a price point that I would argue could be the lowest in the industry."

Beauchamp was unable to disclose specific pricing at this time, but said the joint offering will be available in spring 2010 and will rival current offerings that deliver IT management service desk capabilities via the cloud. Competitors such as CA and HP offer on-demand versions of software applications, and Service-now.com and start-up Vineyard Networks use software-as-a-service as their calling card to customers. Industry watchers say BMC's efforts will be well-received by customers and provide ample competition to existing offerings.

"The move is excellent from a go-to-market strategy as Salesforce.com sales representatives have the right reach into the target audience to sell BMC Service Desk Express. The solution is a very powerful one as a license already and for customers who are committed to SaaS for whatever reason in the SMB, this is a great fit," says Evelyn Hubbert, senior analyst covering infrastructure and operations at Forrester Research. She adds that the new service is also "a bit of a slamming of Service-now – as Salesforce.com really opened up the SaaS space."

As SMB and other customers look to reduce the financial and human capital resources required to establish an enterprise-level service desk, BMC's product will garner attention and today's caused competitors to add their positions as well. CA reiterated its commitment to on-demand products such as CA Service Desk On-Demand and Service-now.com suggested BMC's technology, while being delivered in a new format, will not directly compete with its offering.

"We've been waiting for four years for them to admit that SaaS was eating their lunch. Today they admitted it in front of a big audience at DreamForce," a Service-now.com spokesman said via e-mail to Network World. "For several reasons, it makes sense that they would put Service Desk Express on Force.com instead of Remedy, but we don't compete against Service Desk Express. We replace Remedy in the large enterprise."

BMC's news also comes prior to the release of Microsoft's service desk technology, also expected to become available in spring 2010, analysts say. Microsoft has already made management technology available via online services

"BMC's timing is right. Microsoft Service Desk is coming out in April, and Microsoft is going to give their Service Desk licenses away – and Microsoft channel partners will react to that," Hubbert adds.

Separately, CA announced it also had partnered with Salesforce.com to delivery its CA Agile Planner technology on Force.com. The company, which offers management products via services packages as well, said in a press release the partnership will speed development efforts for customers.

"Force.com's growth and momentum is nothing short of amazing, as is the tremendous productivity our engineers are gaining with it," CA CEO John Swainson said in a statement. "If [developers] want to develop better cloud services, regardless of the methodology, and get them to market faster, CA Agile Planner on Force.com will help get them there."

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