Enter Houston, Texas-based BMC Software, a leading provider of enterprise management. In April, BMC became one of just four companies in the world to win the distinction of SAP Global Software Partner, and the first enterprise management vendor in this elite category. The status means BMC has SAP-certified products that add significant value to SAP solutions. Like any good partnership, it also means that SAP and BMC work together. They team on software development and sales for the mutual benefit of both the companies and their customers.
BMC is already an IT superstar. The 23-year-old company generates revenue of more than $1.3 billion per year and has clients around the globe. Its suite of tools, with names such as PATROL for SAP Solutions suite and InCONTROL (CONTROL-M, CONTROL-D, CONTROL-SA) are designed to help companies link IT resources to overall business objectives. BMC is aligned squarely with SAP on the joint goal of enabling companies to run systems more smoothly while lowering the total cost of their technology ownership.
“We make sure that all the systems and applications, from system management and database management points of view, are up and running,” said Matthew Selheimer, a business development manager with BMC’s global alliances organization. “Customer experience has shown that the time it takes to fix a problem is far less than the time it takes to locate the root-cause. With BMC software solutions, customers are able to accelerate root-cause identification and restore their business critical services as quickly as possible,” he said.
Why is your status as an SAP Global Software Partner valuable to your customers?
Sarmadi: Most of our customers, especially those with SAP as their mission-critical applications, want to see partners who are working day-to-day with SAP on a development level. Having this status means we are a preferred SAP partner. We get information earlier. We have joint-development of our products. For example, we work with SAP on the SAP NetWeaver initiative. We were involved in that from an early stage. Now that SAP NetWeaver is available, we are supporting it. Our certified products are identified as adding value to the SAP NetWeaver integration and application platform. Plus our customers may have systems that are 80 percent SAP, but they are typically not using an entirely SAP suite. We are an SAP partner, but we are also independent. Our software uses and supports data from all applications and hardware and networks, even if they’re non-SAP. That’s very important for customers.
Selheimer: Also, most SAP software partners aren’t required to have the ability to deliver their products and support customers on a global scale. With our global designation, customers who are multinational corporations have confidence they can work with a partner like BMC and get the same level of service whether it’s in Japan or Africa or the U.S or Europe or the Middle East.
Why is your status as an SAP Global Software Partner valuable to your company?
Sarmadi: We have to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. BMC as a company needs to be in the application world. Early on we had to decide where to put our major efforts and resources. We decided to focus on SAP because SAP’s in the right market. We put a lot of company resources toward compatibility with SAP. The only way that works is when there is a high level of partnership. We get information from SAP and share information with SAP. That has been a huge value to BMC. We have an SAP competency center called CESAP (Center of Excellence for SAP) in Waldorf, where SAP is headquartered. The relationship has opened doors to customers in different regions of the world. Now we can put programs together, business plans that carry both the SAP and the BMC corporate message.
You also have partnerships with other leading technology companies. Why are those partnerships important to BMC?
Selheimer: There are very few customers that run all their enterprise applications with one vendor. Therefore, in order to have confidence in BMC for infrastructure management, they need a vendor that can manage all their key application environments. We play a Switzerland role, which is critical to SAP customers too. With SAP NetWeaver and xApps, if you build an xApp that leverages SAP technology as well as third-party technology, we can provide the continuity of that entire business transaction.
Tell me about your PATROL for SAP Solutions suite and InCONTROL for SAP.
Sarmadi: PATROL has knowledge modules and agents which take information from different applications, hardware pieces and networks. Thousands of businesses are on SAP installations, but need to have awareness into other infrastructure components such as the database, operating system, and network as well. BMC PATROL for SAP Solutions suite technology was written nearly 100 percent in ABAP (SAP’s Advanced Business Application Programming language). It gets information directly from SAP R/3, but can also integrate this information with systems management data from other PATROL solutions. Our InCONTROL line has three products: CONTROL-D, for distribution and reporting. CONTROL-SA for role-based security administration and CONTROL-M, which is a job batch scheduling tool. All of these products are certified and validated by SAP. CONTROL-M is probably the most important one, because over the last 18 months we’ve done joint projects with SAP to make sure one job batch scheduler is able to do the entire enterprise scheduling. That’s a new approach for SAP customers because they used to have several job batch schedulers inside SAP. That’s a lot of trouble for IT administrators. Now we are able to do that with one system which is integrated fully in the PATROL environment.
Selheimer: A challenge for any customer running SAP, from a technical perspective, is the ongoing maintenance of that system. There’s a series of daily tasks the SAP system administrator needs to go through to make sure the system is operating in the most optimal fashion. That takes a significant amount of his time away from focusing in on higher value-add activities. PATROL for SAP Solutions suite automates the daily checklist that the SAP administrator has to go through. That frees him up for other more complex activities. It also enables more junior people within the organization to act like senior people because there’s intelligence built into the product in the way it helps administrators manage the system and expose performance metrics. Another issue that customers deal with is hiring and retaining qualified SAP administrators. If they use our technology, more junior people can fulfill that role. And, we announced a new innovation in April that allows customers the ability to integrate all of the heterogeneous, third-party systems management information on their database, operating system, storage, network and more into SAP CCMS (computer center management system). That not only monitors and manages the SAP systems from within the ABAP code that BMC provides, but it also provides an integrated view of their enterprise. You can have two vantage points. You can be within Patrol and be in the PATROL console and have enterprise visibility. And also for the SAP administrator, from within SAP, you can have that same level of enterprise visibility. That’s something that nobody else besides BMC currently offers.
What other initiatives does BMC have on its agenda now?
Sarmadi: In addition to those products, we announced June 17, our EDM or Enterprise Database Management products. We worked with SAP to validate and integrate those. And we also announced a new strategic direction for our company called Business Service Management (BSM). The objective of BMC Software’s BSM strategy is to enable companies to move beyond traditional IT management and manage their business critical services from both an IT and business perspective. The intent of the BSM strategy is to provide solutions that will enable customers to link their IT resources tightly to business objectives and manage these resources based on business priorities by providing a “whole view” of their business and IT operations. That’s something that fits totally into SAP’s NetWeaver architecture. At the application level, you go from SAP R/2 to SAP R/3 to SAP NetWeaver. The layer beyond that, the IT layer, is managed by BMC’s BSM infrastructure.
Selheimer: For SAP, SAP NetWeaver is basically the technical architecture that supports the application. We tie the IT component to the business metrics. Where SAP software handles the day-to-day transactional movements, BMC looks at it from the perspective of managing the availability of those transactions. With BSM, we’ve flipped systems management around 180 degrees. Most systems management companies you talk to today, except for BMC, will tell you about managing specific discrete IT components. We look at it from the perspective of managing the business and then the IT components that support that, which is exactly in line with SAP NetWeaver.
Do you see SAP as an innovator?
Sarmadi: SAP is taking the right approach at the right time. Business processes have been the focus in the market for the past few years. Companies don’t care about reducing the total cost of ownership in good times. But these days, they want to know how to make transactions and processes better and how to lower costs. (Certain) Innovations are important and key for their success. SAP NetWeaver and xApps make that happen. If you look at what SAP NetWeaver is, it’s basically the technical architecture that supports and drives the application. It’s the engine. Without xApps you can’t tie all the information together. SAP xApps can jumpstart innovative development. Rather than waiting for new developments to be incorporated into the mySAP Business Suite, companies can use xApps along with SAP’s partner ecosystem as a way to innovate and create new applications and new modules. BMC agrees 100 percent with SAP chief executive Henning Kagermann when he says that innovative approaches can lower the total cost of ownership of IT investments. One of the smartest things companies can do to lower total cost of ownership is to optimize systems using SAP NetWeaver and BMC products. Innovation starts from within. SAP has a very clear, open recognition of that. BMC’s strategy around BSM is complementary with SAP NetWeaver.