Business-to-business exchange managers who are grappling with trading environments that stretch from the back office to the front office, along the supply chain and across trading partners could soon find their management tasks easier, according to industry experts. That's if BMC Software delivers on the end-to-end management promises it made this week.
On Aug. 1, Houston-based BMC issued a road map of product releases it has planned through the first quarter of next year. Built on its Patrol performance management software, the products will let information technology managers tie front office and trading exchange environments to back office and Web applications for single-point management, a BMC spokesman said.
"What BMC is doing is the same block-and-tackle management in the online B2B environment that it's done in database and application management," said Raymond Paquet, an analyst at Gartner Group in Stamford, Connecticut. "They're building knowledge modules for Patrol that extend the management reach."
The knowledge modules planned for the new products are small pieces of code unique to each section of software in the chain, said David Anderson, an IT manager at Atlanta-based global travel reservations distributor Worldspan Inc.
The software agents for each module report data back to the Patrol enterprise management software, he said.
Worldspan uses BMC software to manage transactions from start to finish, but it was no small task to integrate data from all the company's management tools into a single BMC display, Anderson said. "What the new products would do is make that integration much simpler," he said.
"All that exists today is islands of management," said Donna Scott, an analyst at Gartner Group. "Nothing out there does the whole job from end to end, including, as of yet, BMC."
"We're looking right now for something that would do that," said Fletcher Cocquyt, a senior Unix systems administrator at business-to-business travel exchange GetThere in Menlo Park, California. "We have a lot of disparate databases and applications that we have to integrate and then watch."
That scenario is business as usual, according to Paquet. "An installed base must exist before vendors build software to manage it," he said.
With the business-to-business exchange market likely to hit $US10 trillion by 2002, according to a report from eMarketer Inc. in New York, the installed base is there. BMC should anticipate competition from firms such as Computer Associates International Inc. in Islandia, N.Y.; NetIQ Corp. in Santa, Clara, Calif.; Tivoli Systems Inc. in Austin, Texas; and Hewlett-Packard Co., Scott said.
Patrol modules due out this year will target customer relationship management software from Siebel Systems Inc. in San Mateo, Calif.; supply-chain planning software from i2 Technologies Inc. in Dallas; and Operating Resource Management System from Ariba Inc. in Mountain View, Calif.