BMC Acquires Numara Software In A Mid-Market Makeover: What It Means For Customers

David Johnson
Principal Analyst
January 30, 2012

BMC has a golden opportunity to take a different track with Numara than it has for past mid-market acquisitions (see Magic Solutions), and it must do so if it hopes to build on this one and drive new revenue for the long haul. Numara enjoys a massive installed base of customers with its Track-It and Footprints product lines in the small and mid-market. They have been hard at work rounding out their portfolio to include Client Management (software management, systems management, and OS management), and other areas. Numara has been on a journey to re-invent itself and has been succeeding. Further, we believe that the culture of the Numara organization and BMC's will align well, as long as Numara is given the autonomy and investment they need to grow their portfolio and momentum in the field.

BMC Will Need Time To Work
Numara customers should expect relatively little change in daily operations for the first few months, as BMC aligns the organizations. If history is a reliable guide, BMC will typically give a larger acquisition such as this the opportunity to remain mostly intact, and inject key people and processes to help align the acquired organization with the BMC culture and ways of doing business. If this holds true for Numara, customers should see it as a positive step.

Get Clear Direction From BMC In Areas Of Overlap
There are several areas of overlap between Numara and BMC. The most obvious of these lies in the mid-market ITSM space where Service-Now has seen significant traction. BMC was late to the Software-as-a-Service game for the ITSM, which gave competitors like Service-Now the opportunity to get a big head start before BMC caught on. They responded very late with two SaaS offerings: Remedy OnDemand, and Remedyforce Service Desk — the latter being aimed squarely at the mid-market to try to hold back competition by leveraging the Force.com platform. How the Remedyforce offering will be positioned alongside (or instead of) Numara's Track-It and Footprints product lines, as well as BMC's own Service Desk Express on-premises offering will need to be explicitly resolved. Customers should give BMC time to work, but should absolutely press them to deliver clear plans and commitments for their investments, and should expect migration plans to firm up as BMC learns what its customers will and will not accept for a transition plan.

Another critical area of overlap lies in the client management product lines. In 2011, BMC partnered with Matrix42 based in Germany to help maintain and develop the BMC Configuration Automation for Clients (formerly Marimba) product line. We saw this as a positive move because Matrix42 also filled critical gaps for BMC with its own organic strengths in client OS provisioning and migration, as well as deep provisioning and management capabilities for Citrix Hosted Virtual Desktop infrastructures, including XenServer, XenDesktop and XenApp. While we believe that BMC's intent will be to continue to offer both mid-market (Numara) and enterprise (BMC/Marimba) client management offerings, Forrester believes that BMC lacks internal market expertise, skilled product leadership, and a winning strategy in that space- particularly with client virtualization.

Disruption In The Client Management Space Means BMC Needs To Act Fast
Client management vendors in general are facing significant disruption in the form of client virtualization, application virtualization, SaaS-based offerings such as Microsoft's terrific inTune, and the explosion of mobile devices. Matrix42 offers BMC strong capabilities for client virtualization and Numara mobile device management with its Fromdistance acquisition in 2011. However, what customers are really looking for is a set of solutions that can help them manage the technology disruption — one that they don't have to assemble themselves. Some of the pieces in the BMC portfolio could be re-used, but to get it right would require substantial organic development because customers don't have time for a loosely coupled ruse.

Summary
Forrester believes that the Numara acquisition will bolster BMC's position in the small to mid-market space, that BMC's financial strength will ensure adequate support and ongoing commitment to the Numara product line, and customers should expect a handful of new products to be offered to add to what they already have with Numara, such as Atrium Orchestrator. However, there are several areas of overlap which will require explicit resolution. Remedyforce and Footprints are the most likely to emerge as BMC’s go-forward mid-market ITSM offerings. Until BMC offers clear guidance on its client management strategy, and can present a compelling roadmap that addresses the disruptors facing all client management vendors, Forrester advises caution with client management specifically.
 

Contributing Analysts:

Eveline Oehrlich, Stephen Mann, Glenn O'Donnell, David K. Johnson

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