BMC Extends Management to Exchanges

SAN MATEO (08/01/2000) - As business-to-business exchanges begin to reshape e-commerce and online transaction processes, BMC Software Inc. is banking that improved systems management of b-to-b environments will be in high demand. To reinforce that prediction, company officials announced Tuesday BMC's new focus and capability to offer customers management of those extended enterprises.

BMC officials said the Houston company's new products will be geared toward removing old habits of managing b-to-b trading components separately in favor of a managed vertical enterprise view of front- and back-office applications, supply chains, Web infrastructure and exchanges of partners.

So far, the idea of tackling cross-organizational management issues that will soon develop in the b-to-b exchange realm of e-business is something that has not been addressed by traditional systems management vendors, said Corey Ferengul, program director of service management strategies at Meta Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn.

However, addressing an obvious need to solve the multiple-tier problem is merely the first step to providing true management of the complex systems, Ferengul added.

"A lot of these [b-to-b exchanges] have been announced, but nothing's been done [to manage them]," Ferengul said. "BMC will have to address it technologically.

Even if everyone in the chain doesn't use the same management tools, BMC still wants to be delivering value -- which means a lot of remote management and remote monitoring and a big part will be data consolidation."

For BMC to be successful within the shifting b-to-b landscape, the company must create modular-oriented products and change its business model toward a license approach to reflect a departure from single system and single enterprise management, Ferengul said.

Because many aspiring b-to-b players still rely heavily on legacy systems and outdate purchasing applications, customers can expect BMC to pay a great deal of attention toward customization as these new products roll out, said Sue Aldrich, senior consultant of Boston-based Patricia Seybold Group.

New BMC products based on its software management flagship product, Patrol, that are due before the end of 2000 include management for Siebel, i2, and Ariba. Products due by end of the first quarter of 2001 will address Commerce One Inc., BroadVision inc., MySap.com, IBM Corp.'s WebSphere, BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic, Microsoft Corp.'s BizTalk 2000, and Commerce 2000, according to company officials.

Aldrich said it will be some time -- perhaps a year and a couple of failed or nonfunctioning Web sites later -- before it becomes clear to customers just how important a role b-to-b exchange management will become.

"The world won't really notice it until more exchanges are attracting business," Aldrich said. "This is the early days for exchanges. It may be frustrating for BMC, but when the wake up calls come, they'll be there."

BMC's new strategy will help manage the platforms of companies such as Ariba Inc., Commerce One, and Quest, according to Ferengul. He predicted that BMC competitors Computer Associates International Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

OpenView will eventually follow suit with increased attention toward the B2B market.

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