Solving Immediate Needs

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-11-01 Print this article Print

Running your business online is one thing&#151making sure your Web applications are running the way they should calls for an entirely different set of software.

Solving Immediate Needs

Mercury is attempting to stay one step ahead by launching a major marketing initiative around what it is calling Business Technology Optimization, or BTO. The general concept is that information technology executives increasingly have to do more with less. To maximize the use of their current technology resources, they first need to be able to test, measure, and monitor what is already in place. While the concept is generally accepted by customers in the field, many say Mercury is ahead of the deployment curve with this strategy. For now, companies are buying products to address specific business needs.

"It really depends on where a company is in its life cycle," says Brenda Kirkpatrick, a Washington, D.C.-area consultant. Kirkpatrick just finished installing BMC monitoring products on a 1,100-server installation at Dow Jones & Company. "What usually happens is a company has an immediate need to solve—such as having a Web site they need to ensure is meeting its performance standards. After they get to the point where it's deployed across the board, and they've got it stabilized . . . then they can begin thinking about things like optimizing performance."

Questra, a Rochester, N.Y., company that provides software to monitor medical and other industrial devices in the field, had a specific business need to fulfill. Its software allows manufacturers of instruments such as blood testing devices to monitor the equipment installed by a customer through a Web service application.

Eric Baller, Questra's director of services and support, wanted to stress-test the company's Web servers to make sure they wouldn't buckle during an unexpected surge in traffic. "We wanted to be able to hit our Web servers with a heavy load, simulating the effect that would occur if all these devices out in the field hit our site at once," says Baller. In this instance, Questra turned to Empirix, a Waltham, Mass., provider of testing and measurement software.

Still, Dick LeFave, chief information officer of wireless phone service provider Nextel Communications, says tools being provided by such vendors as Mercury Interactive are helping companies take steps toward making their technology resources more efficient. Simply by providing a means to ensure that systems can handle heavy loads, or that customers are able to access Web resources when they need to, means companies don't have to spend as much time fighting fires, and can devote more time to developing strategy. "You never want to be in a position where your pager goes off at three in the morning," says LeFave. "You want to be as proactive as possible. That's what these tools are helping us do."

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Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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