Why Are The ITMS Megavendors Not Addressing Empowered IT Operations Professionals?

Although now a fully-fledged analyst for tech marketers across the industry, I, Peter O'Neill, continue to dabble occasionally back into my old subject matter of IT management software, if only because many Forrester clients, both users and vendors, still maintain contact with me on this topic. This month has seen some interesting announcements around expanding the footprint of IT management software (ITMS) applications to mobile devices and social media. Firstly, Service-now.com, the leading SaaS provider of ITMS, issued its winter release, which includes many features around its concept of “social IT” with chat and Facebook-like "wall" functionality. I spent some time in advance of this release with Mark Hamilton, the VP of marketing, and we agreed that IT operations professionals are also looking to be able to do their jobs even when they are traveling — either offsite or just away from their desks, so Service-now.com has therefore also provided much of its functionality for mobile employees on iPhones or BlackBerrys and other platforms. Mark was also so kind as to want to cite from my October 2010 report “Empowered Users will Change How Business Software is Served,” where I predict that these features will become important. This week, Spiceworks (see www.spiceworks.com), another new-generation ITMS provider, will announce the release of Spiceworks for the iPhone — a new mobile application that allows its 1.3 million users to connect with peers, access the help desk, and manage their IT networks from the iPhone. Jay Hallberg, co-founder and CEO, tells me that the new Spiceworks app already ranks among the top 50 free business apps in iTunes.

I became curious to see if any of the other ITMS vendors offer this functionality. Forgive me, but in the interests of time, I restricted my search to the four ITMS megavendors: BMC Software, CA Technologies, HP Software, and IBM Tivoli. I did not go through a briefing program but just searched for the function on their websites. The vendors may object to this and say that they could have briefed me and I would then know better. But you know what, tech marketers? Web research is what customers and prospects do these days — especially new hires and people in the Gen Y or Millennial generations. Anyway, this is what I found, or didn’t find, to be more accurate:

  • BMC Software works a partnership. A BMC MarketZone partner called Aeroprise does offer this functionality, which means that BMC Software sales reps can even sell the product. Curiously, the mobile interface is restricted to the BlackBerry, though. More informati0n, including nice videos, can be found at http://www.aeroprise.com.
  • CA Technologies doesn’t do it. The only mention of mobility I could find was its new CA Arcot software, which can turn an iPhone into a secure authenticating device instead of using a fob and sensor.
  • HP Software has its own phones.A search for iPhone on the HP Software landing page got me to the pages selling the Pre3 and Veer smartphones.
  • IBM Tivoli doesn’t do it, either.Its website me offered me some news about Lotus Notes being available on mobile devices but nothing from the Tivoli group.

I think that BMC Software is quite good enough; people looking for a mobile solution will find something at its website. I am actually quite convinced that each of the other megavendors also has at least one partner that can provide a mobile solution, but nobody has gone to the trouble of considering how to provide the Gen Y/Millennial user persona with suitable information on their websites.

So why do the megavendors themselves not cover that need? Is their marketing failing to collect this data? Or failing to convince their R&D colleagues to work on a solution?

And why are they not at least being considerate of the Gen Y/Millenial user persona on their websites and providing an answer. Perhaps this is just a replay of the classical scenario where market-leading vendors presume that “market-leading” has become a differentiator itself, and there is no sense of urgency to work on innovative functionality. We will see. If there is anything else you think might be happening here, let me know. Both I and the vendors would like your feedback, please.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter