Forrester Research examines the mega-management vendors, Part 1

* "The Megavendors in IT Management Software": BMC and CA

The technologies and strategies of the big four management vendors demand much analysis from industry watchers, and Forrester Research recently laid out the current state of affairs in its recent report: "The Megavendors in IT Management Software."

First up, BMC. This IT management software maker led the way in managing IT components for the sake of the business services, a now much-accepted approach to IT management called business service management (BSM). The vendor also recently announced its fiscal 2008 revenue, which the company stated marked an all-time high. BMC brought in $1.73 billion in fiscal 2008, with an 11% increase in total revenue in the management software vendor's fourth quarter.

More important perhaps is the fact that BMC logged $88 million in BSM bookings, which the company and industry watchers say indicates customer adoption of BMC's strategic take on management software as well as potential future revenue growth for BSM offerings. BSM bookings were up 16% in the fourth quarter over the same quarter a year ago. The BSM message resonated with customers and the vendor's "Routes to Value" approach help BMC overcome potential shortcomings in unique areas of product to succeed in its overall vision, Forrester says.

"While BMC may not be the absolute leader in every single category, the whole is far more than the sum of its parts," write analysts Jean-Pierre Garbani and Peter O'Neill in the May report. "Putting strategy, technology and execution together is what makes BMC the BSM leader."

Close competitor CA also recently reported respectable earnings as the company continues to rebuild its internal focus and external strategy. CA reported Total revenue for the fourth quarter at $1.085 billion, up 8% from $1.005 billion reported in the same period last fiscal year. For the full fiscal year, revenue was $4.277 billion, up 8% from the $3.943 billion reported in fiscal year 2007, according to a CA press release.

"CA reported an excellent quarter with cash flow and bookings well ahead of our estimates, and management presented strong [fiscal year 2009] guidance," reads a research note from MKM Partners. "The business is unfolding as we anticipated, with management ratcheting down expenses and a more disciplined sales organization delivering stronger bookings."

According to Forrester, CA is the market leader in revenues. "CA's solutions cover all aspects of service and system management -- and all platforms from mobile to mainframe." Yet for the past few years CA had been playing catch up following a management team overhaul due to accounting scandals. Forrester says the vendor was able to accelerate that process with acquisitions such as those of Concord (which had acquired Aprisma Management Technologies), Wily Technology, Cybermation and Cendura. Also the vendor's recent OEM deal with Opalis could boost its data center automation product portfolio and help CA better compete with BMC, which acquired RealOps and BladeLogic, and HP, which acquired Opsware

CA leadership also put more emphasis on customer service, which Forrester analysts say is beginning to pay off for the management software maker.

"The company message of enterprise IT management, built on the three pillars of governance, management and security, is starting to resonate with prospects and clients," the Forrester report reads. "The particular attention paid to customer value is also a strong element of continued success."

Next up: HP and IBM.

Note: In addition to my Network World and newsletter coverage, I started to blog on management technologies. Check out my musings on the market and other topics here

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.