Forrester Research examines the mega-management vendors, Part 2

* "The Megavendors in IT Management Software": HP and IBM

Forrester Research recently examined where the big four management software makers currently stand in the market.

BMC, CA, HP and IBM are clearly the market leaders, but Forrester analysts Jean-Pierre Garbani and Peter O'Neill took a closer look at the quartet in a May report entitled: "The Megavendors in IT Management Software." Last time I coupled Forrester's take with some other industry analysis on BMC and CA. Here we take a look at the advantage rivals HP and IBM have over other management market leaders and each other.

HP, which recently bid $13.9 billion for IT services provider EDS, continues to increase its presence as a software provider in enterprise shops through acquisitions such as Mercury Interactive and Opsware. Forrester says "strong organic growth plus acquired revenues from Mercury and Opsware has increased HP Software's share of the IT management software market by almost 50%, from 6.4% to 9%."

Forrester credits HP with making its software business a key cornerstone in the overall business, recent acquisitions and product integration among the company's strength. In terms of weaknesses, the vendor's move away from mainframe could cause problems with customers in the financial services and telco verticals, Forrester reports.

"HP Software has now reached a point where it can take full advantage of the HP organization," the report reads. "Some pieces are still missing from is portfolio; the lack of software development products, and in particular, the lack of mainframe solutions. Mainframes are present in all large enterprises and are enjoying renewed interest, so HP's lack may be problematic in some markets."

Lastly, IBM represents another behemoth vendor that dedicates a part of its business to IT management software. IBM Tivoli encompasses software from multiple IBM acquisitions, including Micromuse, MRO Software, Collation, and Vallent. Big Blue recently hosted its first conference for end users of its IT service management software products. IBM welcomed more than 4,000 attendees and discussed its strategy to help customers better manage IT services with automation

Forrester, for one, noted that IBM changed its approach to better address today's market. "The company has significantly changed its approach -- from that of a solution provider with multiple products that solve specific problems to a more holistic approach of managing the lifecycle of a service, rather than the system," the report reads.

Unlike HP, IBM has coverage of the mainframe in its product set and Big Blue has a broad operational management product set, Forrester says. Still IBM being so large could lose customers that aren’t up to speed with its strategy.

"IBM can address any aspect and any facet of the IT market in general, and that makes it a formidable competitor," the report reads. "Too many capabilities sometimes make the IBM Tivoli message confusing and complex. [IBM Tivoli] should now focus its efforts on making the message simpler; even if it appears less rich: It is sometimes too much for a client to digest."

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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