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How BMC’s Helix Platform Is Helping Automate Fortune 500 Companies

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Guest: Margaret Lee
Company: BMC Software
Show: Let’s Talk

BMC Software, the backbone that runs a large number of mission-critical systems for the Fortune Global 500, has a product that sets them apart from other platforms. That product is Helix, which supports service management and operations management via SaaS. Helix provides services such as customer support service desks, employee self-service, and even maps into the operational aspect of company systems. In other words, Helix is an end-to-end SaaS-based platform to run several backbone processes for enterprise-grade customers.

One area BMC Software focuses heavily on is automation. According to Margaret Lee, GM & SVP, Digital Service and Operations Management at BMC Software, “BMC painted the vision of autonomous digital enterprise really as five dimensions: transcendent customer experience, automation, enterprise DevOps, data-driven business, and then also adaptive cybersecurity. These five are what we constitute as technical capabilities for enterprises, particularly large ones as they move into the vision of the autonomous digital enterprise.” Within that realm, Helix supports key areas in the transcendent user experience and adding automation everywhere. But BMC is really focused on the first three dimensions. And within the areas of company service desks and operation centers, a lot of tasks need to be automated.

Many of the tasks found in these areas, such as those related to simple service desk tickets, need to be resolved or require responses back to customers. Lee says many of these tasks can be automated, so they build it deep into the workflow process for IT teams.

Back in February, BMC ran a survey, via Hanover Research, wherein they surveyed over 500 senior technology decision-makers for companies that were over 500 million in yearly revenue. One of the most interesting findings from this survey was that over 65% of the companies are looking at service management platforms and ways to integrate cases and tickets into the backend operations teams. Over 50% of those large companies are seeing projects that involve CIOs and CTOs, which means such backbone IT capabilities are very important.

But what is causing so many companies to look at this type of convergence? Lee states that the key driving factor is the emergence of enterprise DevOps, which is being encouraged not just for startups and smaller companies, but for larger teams and very complex systems. According to Lee, “DevOps introduces a lot of change and uncertainty. So that’s why these CIOs and CTOs want to see that change and to learn from the problem and change management upfront all the way to operations.”

As far as how the pandemic has changed things, Lee indicates that the pandemic has had a net positive effect on the tech business. She explains, “Companies whose developers, operations teams no longer need to commute X number of hours per day, they can just dive in every morning and work much more efficiently. So the productivity increased in developers and operations people.” She adds, “I think everything just somehow moved a little bit faster because of the pandemic, and then the productivity increased within the pandemic, which I think many of us in management did not quite anticipate at the beginning of 2020.”

The summary of the show is written by Jack Wallen


Here is the rough, unedited transcript of the show…

Swapnil Bhartiya: I’m a host. Swapnil Bhartiya and welcome to  TFiR newsroom. Today we have with us, Margaret Lee, senior vice president, and general manager of digital service and operations management for BMC Software. Margaret, it’s great to have you on the show.

Margaret Lee: Hello Swap, nice to be on the show. Thank you for the opportunity.

Swapnil Bhartiya: We have hosted BMC so many times that I don’t need any intro about what the company does, but I am interested to hear from your perspective, what is Helix Platform? Can you define what exactly it is?

Margaret Lee: Helix is a BMC’s flagship brand and product set that supports service management and operations management, all in SaaS. So this is providing a set of products that allows customer support service desk, employee self service, but then mapping into the operational aspect of company systems, whether it’s products that discovers various systems as well as products and monitors and applied root cause analysis and remediation, if there’s an issue. So helix is an end-to-end SaaS based platform to run a lot of backbone processes for our customers.

Swapnil Bhartiya: And if you can define because BMC actually serve a wide range of customers, but you know, what are the customers that you targeted?

Margaret Lee: Right? So BMC, as many folks know has a long history and we are the backbone run a lot of mission-critical systems for the largest fortune 500 companies. So, as such helix is playing a key role in many of our customer’s environments that are quite complex. There are a lot of end users, so requires a lot of scalability and spans a lot of complex deployment and environments, whether it’s on premise or SaaS systems that Helix can support.

Swapnil Bhartiya: One more thing that in discussion with BMC that I learned is that you folks are focusing a lot on autonomous digital enterprise. Actually automation is key to modern enterprises, actually the whole cloud native, but that you talk cloud natively or digital immersion without automation, nothing is makes sense. So first of all, I would understand from your perspective, what rule or what is the importance of automating a lot of things, and then we’ll talk about autonomous digital enterprise.

Margaret Lee: Right. Maybe actually going the other way, direction might be easier. Just set the context, right? So BMC painted the vision of autonomous digital enterprise really is a five dimensions, transcendent customer experience, automation, enterprise DevOps, data driven business, and then also adaptive cybersecurity. These five is what we constitute as technical capabilities for enterprises, particularly large ones as they move into the vision of autonomous digital enterprise. So within that framework, that Helix Platform really supports key areas in transcendent user experience and also automation everywhere. Like you said, as well as enterprise DevOps. We certainly have, have a lot of data to support the analytics and security. But the first three is area where we really focused on. In terms of automation, you can imagine that for companies service desks, as well as operations centers, there are a lot of tasks that needs to be done.

Many of these tasks tend to be repetitive, sometimes are related to simple service desk tickets and need to be resolved or response back to customers. Or if there’s an issue you with a system, sometimes the remediation is fairly straightforward. Many of them can be automated. So what we are supporting our customer as part of the ad frameworks is a number of capabilities to build automation deeply into the workflow processes of your IT teams, particularly in service and operation management teams. So that’s how Helix helped to support the ad vision for our customers.

Swapnil Bhartiya: You know when we do talk about automation, we also have to understand where the industry is moving, where customers are in their journey. So if I’m not wrong, you folks also did a survey through handover research. So I want to understand what was the goal of that survey and what are some key highlights? What are some findings?

Margaret Lee: So handover research is a fairly large survey that BMC has sponsored over the last two years in both in 2020 and 2021 in the most recent 2021 survey back in February, we surveyed over 500 senior technology decision makers for companies and all the companies are large enough where they’re over 500 million in revenue per year. So, that’s the population size. Interesting things we found is that the companies are focusing on several different initiatives that are related to the service and operations management space. One interesting finding is that over 65% of these companies are looking at projects that is looking at service management platforms. So as end user tickets coming in and requests, responses and change and problems incidents coming in, have those cases and tickets integrated with the backend operations teams to look at if an end user complaining about services, applications slowing down or outages or develop development team looking to put new changes into production.

What is the impact? What is the data show on the backend operations teams? So how the service and operation converge is very high priority projects. Over 50% of these large companies are seeing that these projects are personally being looked after and involved the CIOs and CTOs of those companies. So you can see that these are very important backbone IT capability.

And then the interesting thing is what is driving this? What is causing so many large companies to look at these convergence. A big part of it is the rolling out emergency of enterprise DevOps. So more and more DevOps is not just for startups or smaller companies or smaller teams. More and more DevOps practices is being encouraged even for large teams complex systems. So in that situation, DevOps introduces a lot of change and uncertainty. So that’s why these CIOs and CTOs want to see that change, and to learn from the problem and change management upfront all the way to operations. And they want to see the end to end continuously real time as changes are made and potentially incidents arrive. So that’s where the Hanover research has showed that even within a year span from 2020 to 2021, these percentages how involved the customers are, are in this topic has greatly increased.

Swapnil Bhartiya: What role do you think the pandemic played there? Because of course, a lot of BMC customers, they were in different phases of their digital transformation journey. However, the fact is there are still a lot of companies who are still in the legacy mode, but what pandemic did was that even if they did not change companies is strategy towards digital transformation or clarity. It accelerated it. So did you see that also played the rules where you can justify, Hey, this is why the numbers changed significantly?

Margaret Lee: Yeah. It’s a little bit hard to tease out how much the growth in interest are caused by pandemic. How much is the natural acceleration of the interest and adoption of enterprise DevOps? And also frankly, the overall agile transformation, right? Every company wants to be a software company and people want to move faster. I would say the pandemic in the technology business actually improve the productivity. If you think of our companies whose developers, operations team no longer need to commute X number of hours per day, they can just dive in every morning and work much more efficiently. So the productivity increase in developers and operations people. I’m sure it did accelerate the adoption of these sort of accelerating on the change and accelerated need to understand the risk of the change. I think everything just somehow moved a little bit faster because of the pandemic and then the productivity increased within the pandemic, which I think many of us in management did not quite anticipate in the beginning of 2020 when our world went into pandemic, that the teams became actually more productive.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Awesome. Margaret, thank you so much for taking time out today and talk about Helix Platform and also the survey. And I would love to have you back on the show because there are so many things to discuss. So thanks for your time today.

Margaret Lee: Happy to anytime. Thank you as well.

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