For all the hoopla about its upcoming union with BMC, it is worth remembering that Numara Software has worn a bridal gown before. First wed to Intuit in 2002, when its maiden name was Blue Ocean, the marriage was short-lived. Intuit and Blue Ocean found their union incompatible and separated in 2005. The once-happy Blue Ocean took the name Numara Software, presumably to shield itself from the embarrassment of being spurned by Intuit and to get on with life as best it could.
BMC Software announced its intention to add the lonely Numara to its, well, harem might not be too strong a word. After all, BMC acquired its flagship Remedy application from Peregrine Systems in 2002 (which had itself acquired Remedy in 2001). In fact, this union is a second marriage on a lot of levels, and it has all the earmarks of a marriage of convenience.
The Triumph of Hope Over Experience
Numara — and any customers who use Numara solutions — should be concerned about this. Remedy, once the darling of ITSM solutions, has withered since the $2B–a–year BMC acquired it. Poor Remedy has been neglected. There’s been nothing, frankly, from BMC to keep that product line vital and fresh. In retrospect, one wonders whether BMC’s acquisition of Remedy had more to do with the customer base and maintenance stream than a platform for product innovation.
Now, with ITSM back on top of IT managers’ minds, BMC’s wandering eye seems to have fallen on Numara. Bringing Numara into the fold might just be simpler than trying to resurrect the bloated and expensive Remedy. But Numara has been under the thumb of cost conscience private equity for many years, and in that position, Numara has not reacted quickly to market opportunities or customer needs.
Of even greater concern to Numara and the customers who have been investing in its solutions should be the question of the children: What will become of them? Between BMC and Numara, there are seven distinct offspring — BMC Service Desk Express, on-premise Remedy, Remedy on-demand, Remedyforce Service Desk, FootPrints, and TrackIt! (on-premise and on-demand). Clearly, they can’t all continue to live under one roof. But, which one will go and which will stay? What we can say with reasonable certainty, though, is that customers will be forced to migrate when the child in which they’ve invested is shown the door.
Will a Plural Marriage Work? Probably Not.
You may laugh at the extent to which I have stretched the nuptial metaphor, but there is a serious purpose here. BMC and Numara customers are looking for high ground with some certainty. BMC proclaims the benefits of this union by saying that “The combined BMC and Numara product portfolio represents the industry’s most comprehensive set of SaaS and on-premise IT management solutions across all business segments.” The fact is that neither BMC nor Numara have any inherent SaaS capabilities of their own. BMC relies on a SaaS platform over which it has no real control (it relies on the Salesforce SaaS platform), and Numara has no true multi-tenant SaaS offerings. Customers should be concerned that these products won’t survive for long — and, if history is any indication, they can anticipate that prices for licenses, subscriptions and maintenance for whichever products survive will go up when follow-on products are announced.
ManageEngine entered the ITSM market at about the same time that Intuit acquired Blue Ocean and BMC acquired Remedy. Those acquisitions acted as a huge catalyst for our business because customers wanted more certainty than they were getting from Intuit/Blue Ocean and BMC/Remedy.
Today, ManageEngine has a significant product portfolio and 55,000+ customers, many of which license ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus. Unlike Remedy and its neglected sister wives, ServiceDesk Plus (and all other ManageEngine products) receive a great deal of attention and development dollars. As a result, ManageEngine offers one of the richest portfolios of ITSM products available today, and that will remain true even when the BMC-Numara marriage is complete and the honeymoon is over.
We are, though, excited about the news of this impending union. As noted, the last time Numara (Blue Ocean) was married off, it was very good for our business. A large number of uneasy Numara customers and prospective ones came knocking on our virtual doors — and the majority of them are still with us. We’re hoping it will be as good this time around.
President of ManageEngine