BMC stakes claim in back-office e-biz management

BMC Software has staked its claim in the burgeoning e-commerce market, announcing forthcoming versions of its flagship products and services tailored to e-business processes on back-office operations.

The company's Service Assessment Centre for E-business comprises its Professional Services division, as well as Patrol for E-business Management and Mainview for E-business Management application service management software products. The new versions will have features specific to e-commerce applications.

The products include a range of new features, such as the Java Applet Response Time Analyser, which monitors the response time of a user transaction on a Web page, and a packet decoder, which looks into HTTP packets to determine whether transactions were completed.

But the tools don't represent so much a new direction as an extension of existing product capabilities from the network to the Web.

"That's a fair assessment," said Max Watson, BMC president and CEO. It is the company's intention to help companies extend the utility of their existing systems.

"The move to e-business does not represent a technology shift" in the way that the shift from mainframe to client/server did, said Ray Paquet, an analyst at Gartner Group.

Watson concurred. "There's been too much focus on technology," he said. "It's an enabler, not an end to itself."

Information technology leaders must shift their focus to solving business problems, which will change constantly, he said. The irony of urging the IT world to embrace the chaos of such shifting sands while bringing order to it wasn't lost on Watson.

It's hard to make such a shift in thinking, he said, but a beginning is to focus on selecting and defining problems to solve.

"It's that vision as much as the tools they have," James M. Lidestri said, that weighted his decision to go with BMC. Lidestri, president of application service provider Interliant in Purchase, N.Y., plans to beta-test the new suite and develop new services.

Beta testing begins next month; products should be available by March, priced from $US2000, a BMC spokesman said.

Versions of Patrol tailored to manage Web application servers will follow in coming months, beginning with Patrol for Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition, which is scheduled for beta testing in January.

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