What should your IT department be doing right now? Not the usual, day-to-day operations, – which are, of course, very important – but the thinking, planning, and new activities that are preparing it for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
I’ve previously written that these are wide and varied, even if just looking at a handful of the IT service management (ITSM) challenges, such as:
- The need to deliver better business outcomes, including meeting rising employee expectations
- Budget limitations – yes, that old chestnut
- Managing and exploiting the changing technology landscape
- Staff recruitment and retention, then upskilling and reskilling (plus a greater focus on employee wellbeing)
- Enabling enterprise-wide digital transformation
And, thankfully, many of the opportunities at hand offer the ability to meet these and potentially other challenges.
Should the Latest IT and ITSM Mantra Be: “Run and Reinvent”?
ITSM professionals have spent a long, long time working with a remit to “do more with less” (or, my preference, to “deliver more with less”).
Then, more recently, the much-more-suitable mantra of “better, faster, cheaper” has come into vogue – thankfully bringing with it the realization that cost reduction and greater efficiency isn’t enough for corporate IT organizations.
But this still overlooks the separation of IT activities, and costs, related to two distinct business needs:
- The maintenance of current business and IT operations (and everything employed to support them)
- The changes necessary to drive the business forward – from just “keeping up with the (competitor) Joneses” to the new ways of working and innovations that deliver real competitive differentiation
With these two levels of IT focus commonly called “run the business” and “change the business” respectively.
An important point to note here is these aren’t two mutually exclusive areas. For example:
- A seasoned run the business activity could be applied to a different IT, or business, use case to improve both operations and outcomes (and perhaps even to create some form of competitive advantage)
- New ideas, technologies, or innovations will often be applied to current run the business activities to improve day-to-day operations
Thus, change the business doesn’t always have to be the “sexy new stuff.” Nor does it have to be about innovation – that cyclically-popular management buzzword that probably has it’s “nose pushed out of joint” thanks to the IT industry’s current love for all things “digital transformation.”
But I digress. My intention was to quickly consider the currently-popular mantra, or mantras, for IT departments, before introducing a key message delivered at the recent BMC Exchange London event – that of:
“Run and Reinvent.”
Run and Reinvent?
This BMC Exchange event really kicked off when BMC’s President and CEO Peter Leav first said something akin to:
“Our customers need to run AND reinvent… in the context of higher expectations.”
And I liked it.
Although I appreciate that it’s very easy for people to knock something that someone else has carefully created – especially such marketing taglines. For example, in this instance, why is it “reinvent”? Because (and imagine this in a snooty voice) “invention is totally different to innovation,” with invention deemed to neglect the inclusion of positive – and potentially lucrative – business results.
However, I can see past this. With reinvention not only highlighting the need to change the status quo but also recognizing that this doesn’t need to be something dramatically different (and by way of a brand-new innovation).
But what does run and reinvent look like for IT departments?
Importantly, It’s Not Just About New “Cognitive” Capabilities
While one of the first things I tweeted from the event related to a BMC customer – JPMorgan Chase, a global financial services firm – having used artificial-intelligence (AI) capabilities to remove 360,000 hours per year from its initial-contract-analysis activities (and these were expensive hours too). And while it’s easy to play to the audience’s current desire for “all things AI,” BMC was keen to address the role of more traditional IT capabilities in run and reinvent. For instance, and to again quote Peter Leav:
“If you don’t know what IT assets you have, then you can’t truly protect your organization.”
It was part of an offered capability portfolio that broke the three areas of: service, automate, and operate into the key capabilities that support them:
- Discovery Everywhere
- Cognitive Services
- Omnichannel Experience
- Choice of Cloud
- Run Anywhere
- Data into Insights
- Application Modernization
- Performance Monitoring
- Security and Compliance
- Cost and Capacity Optimization
With these later added to by a great David Cramer, General Manger BMC, quote:
“An important part of ‘run and reinvent’ is to stabilize and optimize the status quo.”
Importantly, recognizing the need to not neglect the day-to-day when bringing about future-improving change.
Digging Into the “Choice of Cloud”
David Cramer’s session dived deeper into the key capabilities and run and reinvent areas, such as multi-cloud and the fact that cloud services aren’t as interoperable as one might think. With the three cloud imperatives for (BMC) customers being to:
- Enable multi-cloud (I mention BMC’s use of containers shortly)
- Reduce friction
- Simplify governance
Similarly, there were also three DevOps imperatives:
- Enable choice
- Improve collaboration
- Accelerate code pipelines
And for security:
- Improve visibility
- Accelerate responses
- Manage risks
With it important for BMC to support its customers with solutions that are proactively helping them to meet these imperatives. For instance, taking a “Jobs-as-Code” approach with Control-M.
BMC and ITSM (and please pardon my use of marketing material here)
If you haven’t seen the marketing, BMC introduced “Helix” earlier this year. With this: “BMC’s new brand for our end-to-end, multi-cloud SaaS offering that reinvents traditional ITSM by integrating cognitive technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, by helping companies address the challenge of ITSM in a multi-cloud environment, and by giving customers a new choice to decide in which cloud the ITSM service is offered.”
So, BMC Helix is the common brand for BMC’s suite of SaaS offerings:
With optional add-ons, such as:
- BMC Helix Chatbot
- BMC Helix Cognitive Automation
- BMC Helix Multi-Cloud Service Management
With these offering benefits – to customers – related to three Cs:
- Cloud – everything is delivered as-a-service
- Containers – giving customers the freedom to use their cloud service provider(s) of choice (plus delivering extremely significant implementation savings)
- Cognitive – embedded AI capabilities and the ability to be “better, faster, cheaper”
It all seems very different to the BMC ITSM capabilities, and approach, of old.
Final Thoughts on BMC Exchange London and BMC’s Approach to ITSM
So far, I’ve only covered (some of) the content delivered up to the first coffee break. Much more was shared and explained throughout the day. And in some cased demoed – including, from an ITSM POV, the BMC Helix Chatbot and BMC-partner KTSL’s augmented-reality capabilities for support.
But what were the really important key takeaways for me (and maybe for the reader of this article)?
Firstly, it’s easy to forget how many customer challenges and opportunities can be addressed by BMC’s portfolio of solutions.
Secondly, that customers appear to be onboard with where BMC is taking them (or, if you prefer, supporting them in their own transformation journeys).
And thirdly, with this opinion supplemented by what was shared at an analyst lunch discussion, that BMC is firmly focused on solving customer issues through the development of appropriate software-based solutions. So, BMC is not just creating software products that could solve a multitude of customer issues but rather working with customers to create the solutions they actually need.