BMC's ITM Software acquisition affects every technology silo

BMC last month acquired a company called ITM Software, an innovator in managing the business of IT. CIOs, IT managers, and IT professionals involved in the day-to-day management of their operations all ought to pay attention to ITM Software's solution, as it represents a combination of functionality that supports the CIO and his or her staff.

Some might argue that it is really a variation on the positioning of “running IT as a business,” playing to the IT governance theme. Having been briefed in January by the company’s executives, my conclusion differs significantly. This team demonstrated independent thinking - and while it covered disciplines such as project and portfolio management, its product set reflected the need for broader functionality to more holistically address IT business management requirements.

The ITM Business Suite covers a range of disciplines all aimed at helping IT management interact with executives and better run their operations. Modules offered by ITM include financial business management, project and portfolio management, vendor relationship management, governance and compliance, and human capital management.

• Financial Resource Management – track total cost of ownership and optimize spending

• Product Portfolio Management – make trade-off decisions across new projects

• Vendor Relationship Management – control lifecycle and spending with vendors

• Governance and Compliance Management – manage, audit and enforce corporate IT policies

• Human Capital Management – track who is working on what

All together, the suite addresses the business and resource needs for IT. No forward-thinking IT manager would consider any of these functional areas peripheral or irrelevant, especially in times where IT continues to be increasingly accountable, finances are tighter and the strategic role of IT is increasing. Underneath these capabilities is an integrated Core Business Management Database (BMDB) providing the foundation for all applications to leverage a common data model and one that serves as a unique point of integration for the CMDB System.

Why should network and systems professionals, architects, group leaders, and all levels of managers care about these seemingly business-focused technologies? IT technologists have been happy to steer clear of day-to-day business operations. For these professionals, the concern has been focused on creating solid infrastructure, keeping up with technologies, developing algorithms for predicting capacity requirements, and connecting the dots between disparate systems - all continuing and important challenges for IT. But the need to “run IT as a business” is moving quickly into that domain and is no longer secondary.

Each of ITM’s capabilities address real management needs that impact all levels of IT as well as the business. Take vendor relationship management as an example. While high-level analytics will help IT finance better negotiate contracts for future products and services, details about specific vendors and their product’s performance are of great value for resolving recurring problems with the provider of hardware and software. In the area of compliance, ITM provides templates that ease the job of individual IT professionals while creating assurances at the IT executive level. The result is a ripple effect, where IT management gains perspective and transparency in its management approach, and IT technologists reap the benefit of better tools and insight for their daily jobs.

BMC is not without competitors in the area of running IT as a business. HP, CA and IBM all have offerings in this space, as do a handful of smaller innovators. However, BMC, with ITM, has unique packaging in the combination of resource, contracts, and vendor management that are needed by IT management. Also of note is the core foundational component that tracks business details, offering a parallel to the CMDB. This is an emerging market and a necessary one as IT continues on its path of maturity.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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