BSM on the brain

* BMC, ManageEngine and Zyrion upgrade products, tout the benefits of business service management software

Buying new software might not be a top priority for many IT managers working to get more from their current infrastructure and deploying more free tools. But management software makers argue that their business service management (BSM) products designed to monitor IT components and automate actions so as to optimize business services become even more relevant in tough economic times.

According to Gartner, the worldwide enterprise software market will experience flat growth in 2009, seeing just a .3% uptick over 2008. With nearly $222.6 billion expected in software revenues in the coming year, IT buyers are looking at software-as-a-service, cloud and other alternatives to purchasing annual software licenses, Gartner says. Yet such forecasts aren't stopping vendors such as BMC, ManageEngine and Zyrion from separately updating their software products designed to reduce manual labor, speed problem resolution and improve IT service delivery across enterprise and other companies.

"BMC is helping IT staff do more with less by reducing manual work, automating tasks and introducing efficiencies in IT operations," says Gerry Roy, director of solutions management for service support at BMC. "Customers have to reduce costs not just in the tools they do decide to buy but also in how they work. By reducing the costs associated with IT operations, automation and service management, they can cut costs for their companies and potentially invest savings in growth areas."

BMC recently updated its Remedy IT Service Management (ITSM) suite to version 7.5, which now includes enhanced software license management capabilities and tighter configuration management database integration to provide a holistic and detailed view of software assets. BMC also added automation capabilities that the vendor says increase consistency, minimize errors and result in 20% to 40% efficiency gains in change and release management activities.

"The updates in this release reduce manual processes and makes running operations far more efficient," Roy says. BMC Remedy ITSM 7.5 is available now, with pricing starting at $12,000. [See a screen capture in this week's Products of the Week slideshow.]

While the company is credited for coining the term BSM, BMC is not alone in the market. Companies such as Novell (which acquired Managed Objects), ManageEngine and Zyrion also develop BSM software applications.

For its part, ManageEngine announced the beta availability of ManageEngine IT360. The software includes an integrated and ITIL compatible service desk, with features ranging from an automated trouble ticketing system to incident management capabilities and a knowledgebase. The company says its IT360 also helps IT manage the end-user experience and enables administrators to meet their SLAs.

"ManageEngine IT360 facilitates the integration of technology, IT processes and people toward the establishment of an enterprise computing infrastructure that most effectively supports business operations," said Girish Mathrubootham, vice president of ManageEngine, in a company press release.

Newcomer Zyrion also recently made some noise around its BSM platform. The company's Traverse application has a "strong network management foundation" for companies in the midmarket that might not be able to afford several management applications, company officials say. The software installs on a server and discovers the environment, and customers designate the business services they wanted managed. Zyrion recently announced Fiberlink Communications as a customer and company officials say the software helps them prioritize tasks and ensure business services are available.

"Most outage notifications in fault-tolerant configurations with localized alarms are dispatched to technical staff to handle without troubling senior managers," said Phil Yurko, director of Fiberlink, in a statement. "On the other hand, issues that impact mission-critical or cross-departmental aspects of the business are immediately escalated to senior staff so that resources can be allocated and decisions can be made quickly and efficiently, to prevent subsequent problems."

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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