Financial markets continue to slide, forcing enterprises and small businesses alike to cut spending and lay off even mission-critical employees. Although unfortunate, this is looking like a good trend for vendors and resellers specializing in business service management and automation tools.
BMC Software, a leader in BSM software and methodologies, reported Oct. 30 that its second-quarter revenues were up 11 percent over the same period in 2007 to $467 million. The company saw growth in all its operating regions, and saw a healthy 42 percent increase in license bookings. What’s really driving revenues, though, is automation solutions through its BladeLogic acquisition, which shot up 479 percent.
"There’s enormous demand for automation," says BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp in an interview with Channel Insider. "With the economy under stress, we’ll probably reduce our original thinking on growth by 1 or 2 percent, but nonetheless we’re still growing well."
Like all other tech companies, BMC and its rivals—CA and IBM—are feeling the pressures of Wall Street’s meltdown. However, Beauchamp said he believes that automation and better IT processes not only will buoy his company through the recession, but help those in this technological specialty to provide new value to customers grappling with small budgets and resources.
"We went through a phase in 2002 where IT had dramatically overbuilt. The cost structure was misaligned and irresponsible low utilization rate and labor was out of whack," he says. "We’re still using the same basic IT processes and tools that were installed and sold in the 1990s—client/server architectures rather than SOA [service-oriented architecture] or Web services architecture."
Beauchamp argues that greater automation is more than just a trend spurred by the slumping economy. Businesses are struggling to contain energy consumption and costs, real estate footprints and infrastructure sprawl. True efficiencies, he says, will come from a redesign of the IT infrastructure that includes automation and process management in the foundation.
Far from a quick fix or bolted-on patchwork solutions, a generational paradigm shift in IT architecture spells opportunity for vendors and their solution providers that can design systems and infrastructures that are easier to manage and consume less energy.
"It’s a generational upgrade of the management environment based on Web services. IT processes needed to be redesigned and automated …" Beauchamp says. "IT automated sales. IT automated manufacturing. IT automated everything except IT. This is absolutely the decade to provide the excuse to put shoes on their own kids. It’s an overdue rearchitecture of the technology and processes. IT is finally growing up and going through the maturation."