BMC Software: Building Remedy
Remedy is easily the best-traveled asset management product in the land. After going it alone, Remedy Corp. was bought in 2001 by Peregrine Systems. Accounting problems pushed Peregrine toward bankruptcy, and it sold Remedy to BMC Software in 2002.
Still, with all the twists and turns, customers applaud the Remedy suite, which includes asset, help-desk and change management capabilities.
For BMC, asset management is just a piece of the technology management puzzle. The Houston software maker prefers the term "business service management," pumping up their offerings as not just inventory, tracking and contract monitoring, but tools that line up assets with business objectives.
Martin Crothall knows that well. The senior information-technology software engineer with Met Office, the United Kingdom's weather forecasting agency, is currently upgrading to Remedy 7.0. That, he says, will give the agency a configuration management database, or a unified warehouse for all its assets, integrated with his asset management tool.
Crothall and his team started using Remedy's change management and help-desk tools in 2001. Two years later, he installed the asset management module.
Before Remedy, Met tracked software and hardware assets in five different databases, and its help desk didn't have access to any of them.
Primarily because Met was already using the Remedy help-desk program, Crothall opted for the asset management tool. Now, instead of five databases for tracking hardware and software, the agency has one, and it's integrated with the help desk. "It's given us a central point," he says.
Mindi Crozier, information-technology operations service manager with Cox Communications, the Atlanta telecommunications firm, uses a version of Remedy geared toward service providers. BMC acquired that tool from Viadyne, an asset management vendor it acquired in 2004, and integrated it into Remedy.
What makes Remedy unique, Crozier says, is that it manages assets according to business service. For example, she can segment and track a cluster of database servers from payroll services and what's on them. Crozier says that distinction helps her align assets with business services.
That's how asset management software can be more than just a tracking tool, says Jim Grant, general manager of BMC's service management unit. He talks about the technology in terms of configuration management, combining hardware, software and change management under one roof.
Still, Lori Sorenson, who led the creation of the Illinois Century Network, the state's public telecommunications backbone, says Remedy technicians are hard to find. "Remedy developers are at a premium," says Sorenson, a chief operating officer with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. "Now, we have to develop them in-house."
BMC's Grant says Remedy experts are in demand, as the product's installed base currently tops 8,000. Instead of trying to personalize every bit of Remedy, Grant urges customers to "customize only those things that are completely unique to you, and add value where we can't." By doing so, he says companies can accomplish more with less need for bringing in experienced Remedy technicians.
(Full disclosure: Ziff Davis Media uses Remedy's help-desk module.)
* For first six months, ended Sept. 30, 2006. Fiscal year ends March 31.