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Innovation: A technology game-changer

Innovation: A technology game-changer

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Innovation is critical to finding and reshaping an organisation’s strategy. That’s according to Ram Chakravarti, Chief Technology Officer at BMC Software, who discusses this concept in further detail; outlining the importance of being selective about who you choose to partner with and how businesses can better manage complex IT operations with BMC’s solutions and latest innovative developments.

You mentioned in a recent talk that innovation is a game-changer. What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation means a couple of things to me, non-technically: first, battling an existing problem in a new way. Second, solving a new problem and finding a solution. Both of those mean innovation, but at the end of the day, solving it means it’s used or it’s adopted. In the absence of it, it’s just a conceptual exercise.

Can you tell me more about your co-innovation strategy with your partners?

I wasn’t shy when I said that we’ve been very selective about who we partner with. BMC has a number of partners – they’re all wonderful in their own way and we’ve had long-term relationships. But when it comes to co-innovation between the innovation labs and specific partners, the first thing we look for is whether the partner has a long-term outlook.

I don’t want somebody that says, ‘OK, BMC you’re developing something and I can go and implement it for you. I’m going to charge the customer this much, but if the customer doesn’t want to pay I’m going charge you this much’. That’s a non-starter for me as far as a partner goes. You have to really be willing to commit your resources. It’s more with the implementation partner specifically where it becomes more about what they can get as a quick win from the partnership, from a billing standpoint. That mindset doesn’t work. Let’s co-invest, let’s develop a compelling solution, let’s deliver it to them and show them what’s possible. Then, when we scale it, that’s the point where the customer sees the value of that solution. That’s the time to be having the financial conversation.

In addition, the company must be willing to think beyond the traditional swim lanes, so just because you’re a good BMC partner in our regular portfolio, does not necessarily make you an innovation partner in the labs. What can you stretch to beyond your traditional swim lanes to use the cliché, and how comfortable are you getting into an area of discomfort where what you’ve co-innovated may not necessarily see the light of day? Are you willing to do that?

So, those are the ingredients I look for.

How is innovation a critical component to the finding and reshaping of an organisation’s strategy?

I’ll go back to our premise when we laid out the autonomous digital enterprise. I was architect of that strategy three years back along with my boss, our CEO, Ayman Sayed.

The premise is very simple. Every company is becoming a tech-driven company. And the age of venerable companies that do not embrace technology is dwindling. If you do not embrace technology, you’re probably on the path of decline. With that being said, it’s people in different organisations – the non-tech companies – that have tremendous business domain expertise in their areas. The goal is really about how you make technology a driver of those areas. How do you complement your traditional business with new digital products and services? That is only through innovation and in this case, technology-led innovation. That’s the way I look at it. So then it becomes a fundamental underpinning of your strategy.

The digital business may be relatively small in most cases related to the traditional one, but I would wager that it’s probably the fastest growing one so it becomes a good growth story and is part of the growth agenda of these organisations.

Can you tell me more about the new innovations to BMC’s Helix SaaS solutions and how they benefit business?

There are multiple BMC Helix SaaS solutions – I’ll break it into three distinct markets: automation; service management; and operations management. Our longest tenure as a SaaS solution is in service management.

In operations management, we started deploying a SaaS solution and the AIOps story is part of that. And then, in our automation business, where we have the industry-leading product, Control-M. Then, we deployed Helix Control-M, which is our SaaS version of Control-M, back in October 2020. We’re doubling down on that to make it really comprehensive and it’s the only one of its kind automation solution.

With our Edge Computing Helix IoT and Edge Computing solution, there’s obviously SaaS components in there because you’ve got to integrate with a central compute, then you’ve got to provide for the endpoints or the Edge devices.

How can businesses better manage complex IT operations with your solutions and innovative developments?

It’s very simple: you’ve got to minimise the complexity.

So for a while, several years back we heard from customers saying the solutions are super scalable and super resilient, but that they’re pretty complex and not easy to use. So we’ve been unwavering in our focus in terms of demystifying the complexity and making it simple and intuitive. So we hired a UX leader from another organisation, we’ve been doing a whole bunch of things to make it a customer-centric design. Our solution can have all the bells and whistles but what are the top things that customers really want? How can we make that experience really easy? That’s how we focused on it. So it’s about usability which is a big part of what we do.

How do the latest developments allow businesses to deliver an improved employee and customer experience?

One area is simplification and making it more user-friendly. It’s no longer the era of green screens on the mainframe. Even the mainframe delivers a modern UX experience. So, that’s one step.

Then in the case of service management, we have conversational AI-based virtual assistants, complemented by knowledge management, so you don’t necessarily need a human on the other end of the spectrum on a chat or on the phone.

We can provide solutions and auto-remediation through these conversational AI-based virtual assistants and knowledge management systems that makes things a lot easier. And then with AIOps and Intelligent Automation, you want to ensure that the AI methods and algorithms we use on our solutions over time are trained and can provide recommendations and find correlations that instil a fair degree of confidence or the traditional solutions that users need.

Then, you start going from the realm of ‘OK, I need to take this step to do this’ to saying, ‘here’s a recommendation’. And then the next step is, ‘I noticed something; let me act on it, and I think this creates a fair degree of confidence that will improve this. Let’s do that’. So then it becomes predictive along the continuum to being fully autonomous. We’re a long way from getting there, but that’s what we strive for.

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