An Executive Perspective on Automation, DevOps, and Data-Driven Transformation

Experts from BMC Software and IDC discuss the customer journey to the Autonomous Digital Enterprise.

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Capabilities such as zero downtime and reliable performance are table stakes for true transformation, and organizations striving to succeed in the current landscape must focus on gaining agility, customer centricity, and actionable insights. Mastering them requires adopting a business model that allows enterprises to run and reinvent at the same time, leveraging their existing IT investments and resources while embracing more automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning functionality. The Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE) future-state business framework is one such model for success.

IDC recently hosted a webinar with Gur Steif, president of the digital business automation product line at BMC Software and Steven Elliot, program vice president for management software and DevOps at IDC, to talk about the current IT environment and where BMC customers are on their journey to becoming an ADE. Here are some key takeaways from their conversation.

The changing role of IT and customers

Steif set the stage by talking about the evolution of IT itself to this new digital path. “Technology…went from something that only a select few in the data center understand to something that is prevalent. Now, you find IT-like job titles outside of the traditional IT organization. IT is no longer in a position to just tell people how to do things. They're a service provider. [And] customers have a solid understanding of technology, [too],” he shares.

“[Years] ago, we'd have a few power users at every company [who] knew everything there was to know about our product and how to leverage everything out of it. Now, in every company, we have some of those, but we also have occasional users [and] I’ve got to provide them access in a very self-service way…that is convenient for them to consume. It's a very different type of environment from an organizational perspective.”

“[That] informed BMC as we came up with the Autonomous Digital Enterprise. Every company today needs to be a digital corporation or a digital enterprise. It always starts with a Transcendent Customer Experience, but to [do that], many things need to be in place.”

“In the digital business automation business at BMC, [we] really help with three very important tenets of the ADE: Automation Everywhere, Enterprise DevOps, and the Data-Driven Business. And those are key for companies going through a digital transformation. Just to round out ADE, Adaptive Cybersecurity [is] key to everything that we do and any digital profit process.”

According to Elliot, those ADE tenets strike a common chord. “At IDC, we're seeing many of those same themes at the C-suite. The role of automation [is] increasingly critical in driving business outcomes and really driving scale. As the last couple of years have showed, business agility and resiliency have become top of mind. And you really can't do that without automation,” he says.

Transformation during the pandemic

Steif highlighted the business success of BMC customer Tampa General Hospital, which automated essential functions with Control-M at the height of the pandemic. “One of the challenges around a pandemic is you have to know what's actually going on. Tampa General Hospital was able to use Control-M, our flagship product in the digital business automation business, to really drive information for the state,” he explains.

“We're automating the dashboard that ended up on the desk of the Secretary of State and the Department of Health and everybody else [and it] truly helps the state of Florida understand what's going on. They were able to bring together more than 50 hospitals across six healthcare systems and [into] one dashboard in a matter of hours.”

Elliot points out that the implementation was an ideal example of reverse engineering to meet customer and business goals. “With the business of healthcare, you start with patient care and build back from that in terms of the key business outcomes, patient outcomes, [and] quality of care outcomes that can be delivered through that great technology architecture,” he says.

Predicting and preventing failure with Control-M

According to Steif, meeting KPIs and reducing mean time to repair (MTTR) alongside serving the customer needs and improving the customer experience is integral to BMC’s mission, and that was achieved for another customer. “Navistar [has] been around for over a hundred years. They make tractors, trucks, [and] farm equipment, not exactly the type of business that comes to mind [when you think about] digital, but they were able to completely reinvent their business,” he says.

“Every piece of equipment you buy from them has hundreds of sensors and monitors, so it's really about the Internet of Things (IoT). Now they're using Control-M to collect information for all those different sensors, across tens, hundreds of thousands of equipment, farming equipment, trucks, etc. And they collect all that, bring it all into a big data lake, and spin it all in the cloud…not only from the IoT, but from their SAP system and from the mainframe about parts, inventory, the dealer network, and everything else.”

“They're able to predict, based on IoT information, whether or not a particular [piece of] farm equipment or a truck is going to experience a failure. Because of that, they were able to reduce vehicle [and equipment] downtime by more than 40 percent [and] unplanned repairs by more than 80 percent…and deliver IoT information five times faster. They're driving uptime of trucks [and] farm equipment, which are revenue-producing assets for their customers. And that's the beauty of what the Autonomous Digital Enterprise can accomplish.”

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Elliot says it’s important to communicate and level set when coming up with the right transformation plan. “So many of our customer conversations are around the people, process, technology…the applicability of automation across those swim lanes, [and recognizing that] it's best to put a strategy together,” he shares.

“Automation is a two-way street. Work with your vendor to really drive that strategy. [Put] it down on paper. From a CIO perspective, it's a cross-team initiative. [Have] the conversations and you'll actually optimize your return on investment in those business projects…and optimize the teams and how they think about the role of automation…for these digital transformation projects.”

“It's not just about the technology. [The] vendor and the customer have to come together, have great conversations, do the planning, set the KPIs and business outcomes early, and then execute. If you skip one [step], you just expose yourself to more business risks.”

Turning to SaaS

Earlier this year, BMC expanded its Control-M offering to include the BMC Helix Control-M software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, and Steif explains that customers are using both solutions. “[BMC Helix Control-M] is just a perfect solution for some of those systems of innovation [and] smaller teams that are looking to really hit the ground running and start leveraging Automation Everywhere, the Data-Driven Business, and Enterprise DevOps in a very quick way [where] time to value is measured in minutes,” explains Steif.

“A lot of customers are telling us, ‘We're going to continue using on-prem Control-M for our on-prem data centers for our systems of record, and we're going to use BMC Helix Control-M SaaS for systems of innovation and systems of engagement, then for development teams that want more control and want to be able to innovate.”

“Our commitment to SaaS, to continue to enhance, is helping customers. There's tremendous value for any company that continues their evolution to an ADE. They are able to better serve their customers.”

Looking ahead

As tech has ascended in its business importance, more stakeholders have emerged across organizations. "DevOps teams, the system engineer teams, and every CEO now realize their company is dependent on a technology architecture and the organizational capabilities that they have,” says Elliot.

“Tying it back to the communication and collaboration of teams, thinking about how these digital services are delivered, [they understand that] the role of automation and analytics [in] driving efficiencies from team collaboration is just so critical to their business, the revenue growth, the profitability, and their customer experiences.”

“Being able to integrate existing applications with brand new innovations is really, really cool. We're in the middle of this great conversation between the more traditional IT [operations teams] and the developers and data scientists who are looking to leverage automation and really drive a Data-Driven Business,” explains Steif. “And that is innovation that we at BMC believe is going to drive tremendous value for customers for years and years to come.”

The full webinar is available here.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.