OK, the second part of the title is probably untrue. But hopefully Forrester IS your favorite place for IT service management (ITSM) analysis and opinion.

My colleague Dave Johnson (who is well worth following from a Twitter and blog perspective BTW) wrote an immediate reaction to the BMC announcement yesterday. Of course as analysts we are pre-briefed on such things and having had time to think about the announcement I offer the following somewhat random thoughts and opinions:

  1. BMC (and everyone else) is “suffering” at the hands of ServiceNow in the enterprise ITSM space (both new and existing business). Some might see the Numara purchase as a retreat to the mid-market or a tactical diversion to maintain revenue growth in light of shareholder expectations. However, I think it is most likely point 3 (below) – especially in light of the fact that BMC are nearly always in my discussions with Forrester clients on ITSM tool selection (albeit sometimes only from a replacement perspective). And let’s not forget that BMC has long been the dominant ITSM player in terms of customer base with its enterprise and mid-market plays – Remedy and Service Desk Express. BMC continues to win a lot of new business. This is an offensive rather than defensive move.
  2. ServiceNow is actually a red herring in respect of the Numara offerings given that it is “above” the lower end of the mid-market now (unless sold in smaller bundles via its partner offerings). Oddly, many mid-market ITSM tool vendors still see ServiceNow as their main threat. In my opinion, this is potentially lethal for them as while they are looking at ServiceNow, BMC RemedyForce, Nimsoft, and maybe someone like ManageEngine will be circling their customers and WILL steal existing business (remember that ITSM tools are changed on average every 5 years, the rise of interest in SaaS ITSM offerings can only accelerate this IMO).
  3. BMC is definitely buying people here: Numara’s mid-market customers, and sales, product management, and development people. They already have two mid-market plays for ITSM – Service Desk Express and RemedyForce, do they need more? Also, do they really need the people? BMC has some great people, maybe they need a different type of people, people that can’t sit back and say that “I work for the largest and most successful ITSM tool vendor.” You need to miss a meal or two to really feel the hunger. Expect to see the ex-Numara people, including partners, playing a big role in BMC's future.
  4. The technology may play a part but I see it as outside the core ITSM-capability space. Maybe IT asset management (ITAM) for the mid-market and Numara will also bring a better mobile management play (that BMC has yet to commit to strategically).
  5. RemedyForce is, to me, BMC’s best chance in the SaaS for ITSM space (and as a ServiceNow competitor in all spaces) at least short term (on the back of SalesForce.com’s SaaS credentials and BMC’s for ITSM). I’d hate to see RemedyForce get “lost” in what is an already complicated BMC ITSM-offering set up. Killing the now-superfluous Numara Cloud and Service Desk Express still leaves them with five offerings for salespeople and potential customers to think through. Thankfully, however, BMC is quick to point out that RemedyForce is central to its SaaS and mid-market plays and also in certain enterprise customer scenarios.
  6. BMC needs to get better messaging out about customizing Remedy and associated costs, and the issues-of-old related to the cost and pain of upgrading between product versions. Cost, ease of use, and upgrades are why customers are leaving what is a very, very functionally- rich ITSM offering.
  7. Finally, BMC is seeing with RemedyForce what I have been talking about for a while … that ITSM tool selection should be as much (if not more) about your ITSM maturity than company size. I still think a massive investment in RemedyForce’s ITIL process “coverage” and marketing will make it ultimately able to compete with ServiceNow at the enterprise level and not just limited to the mid-market.

There you go – a quickly-written blog that hopefully is both insightful and fair. If you think it is a BMC-bashing piece I advise you to read it again. I know BMC and other ITSM tool vendors appreciate honesty above all things (OK, well maybe not above happy customers and revenue growth).

As always your comments, thoughts, and opinions are definitely appreciated.

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If you enjoyed this, please read my latest blog: http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann