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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

Relationships of all kinds can be messy. Even with the best intentions, many times relationships fall apart because of missed expectations. This is true in personal relationships and it definitely applies to relationships between companies. Missed expectations occur many times due to a failure to manage expectations on both sides. For example, a potential partner may have certain revenue expectations out of a relationship, but the other company, may not be able to execute to those expectations. Sometimes they happen due to a not having a clear definition of success. For example, is success getting an agreement in place or is it creating a win-win where both companies make significant revenue with the relationship. These can be interrelated too, where there are reasonable long-term goals for success, but these get clouded by what Jack Welch in “Winning” calls “deal heat”. This is where the goal becomes getting the deal done, not creating a long term winning strategy.

 

This is why I tell prospective partners that it is just as important for us to get to a “no” answer quickly as it is to get a deal in place. I would rather stop an engagement early before any real damage is done than to have to terminate an agreement with disgruntled people on both sides. We are usually very good at coming up with all the reasons why we should have a partner relationship: unlimited revenue, big channel, great technology, etc. But we tend to forget all the reasons why we shouldn’t engage. This is why it’s so important to be earnest and forthright. It’s important to understand your own limitations as well as the prospective partners before moving ahead. For example, is there executive sponsorship in both companies? Are there proper resources such as product management, marketing, field, developers to do integrations assigned? Is there a go-to-market plan? Is there a cultural fit? Can a small company deal with the larger company? If those things aren’t in place, then how will revenue happen? I’ve seen relationships fail with everyone in place except a field engagement model and it turned out the sales people could not get along culturally – actually it turned out to be a compensation issue.

 

This is why I consider integrity the most important trait in business. Not only is it the right thing morally, but it’s the right thing for business. With integrity you can honestly assess with the prospective partner whether the relationship will really work. With integrity, comes predictability that your organization will deliver what they claim. And so, with integrity comes the opportunity get to a no answer more quickly than beating around bushes or glossing over limitations in your organization and thus wasting time and resources of both companies that could be spent pursuing real opportunities. At the end of the day getting to “no”, in this small world, may mean getting to a bigger “yes” with the same company or people from that company at a later time because they respect you and know that you won’t waste their time.

 

It has been awhile since I blogged and a lot has happened since. I’d like to say thanks for all my father, Oluf, did for me in giving me an example of a person with integrity in every aspect of his life. And being a great human being all around. He passed away May 12th, 2008. RIP

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

The real revolution with interactive communities is just starting with technologies such as Second Life.

 

From wiktionary:

 

community (plural communities)

 

1. Group of people sharing a common understanding who reveal themselves by using the same language, manners, tradition and law. (see civilization).
2. Commune or residential/religious collective.
3. The condition of having certain attitudes and interests in common.
4. (Ecology) A group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other.

 

I can’t help but think that we’re in a transition phase with the whole Web 2.0 concept (it’s really concepts). And of course, we’re always in transition phases regardless of whether your talking about technology, society, or just life. So, what I’m saying is we may be reaching an inflection point in the evolution of social networking. We have many very interesting social networking enablers with blogs, wikis, podcasts, rss, etc. These are effectively evolutionary technologies from their roots in Usenet and ftp which I was using back in the ‘80s. All these technologies provide a shade of the definition of community but they do so from mostly an information exchange perspective. And now we have consolidators such as Jive that join many of the technologies together in one location to give an even greater sense of community by giving access to much of the information in one locale such as BMCDN.

 

This is why I think we’re reaching an inflection point:   basically, even with a consolidator, we’re still doing store and forward. We have elements of chat/interactivity, but we’re still operating at a fairly superficial level. Based on the definition above, we share language and we have agreed upon manners, we also have media for sharing common interests. But look at the deeper aspects: 1) People who reveal themselves by using… tradition; residential/religious collective; interdependent…interacting.

 

We’ve taken a very data centric approach to the online community concept, so we’re pretty efficient with data storage, search and retrieval, but we haven’t quite mastered the interaction method. A community should be a place you spend some significant time: you exchange ideas, you give, you take, you argue, you learn, you grow, you help others. And you have varying relationships: some cursory, some technical, some friendly, some public, some private. And these characteristics change dynamically.

 

All a twitter… I had been skeptical about twitter until I read a Wired article a couple of months ago titled, “Clive Thompson on How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense”. The article is about how the aggregate effect of getting “pings” of everyday life from people you are interested in creates a sense of awareness of those people that goes beyond the superficiality of the information they’ve provided. Twitter and other constant-contact media create social proprioception. He says, “They give a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination.” In other words, it gives people a sense of community. He goes on to say, “This awareness is crucial when colleagues are spread around the office, the country, or the world. Twitter substitutes for the glances and conversations we had before we became a nation of satellite employees… So why has Twitter been so misunderstood? Because it's experiential. Scrolling through random Twitter messages can't explain the appeal… but the real appeal of Twitter is…[that] it's practically collectivist — you're creating a shared understanding larger than yourself.”

 

Wither now? Look at the evolution of Second Life from an online gaming type of community to a medium for online classes, marketing, and (drum roll) collaboration! Combine the shared consciousness of Twitter with the 3-d type of community that Second Life provides and you start seeing the revolution of the virtual community. Now the interaction method becomes oriented to the actors (us) and we are able to create personae for ourselves that reflect the particular social interaction that we are engaging. Second Life enables you to create avatars for yourself (in fact you can buy them online if you don’t want to create one from scratch). What we still need to work out are the filter mechanisms for the interactions – I should be able to create outbound filters that indicate things like mood, desire to interact, and level of interaction that influence other’s ability to interact with me. It’s kind of like having spheres of influence that are set in two ways: 1) statically to reflect my core type, and 2) based on circumstance and level of relationship. However, once we start engaging in a revolutionary type of media such as SL, then the evolutionary processes will kick in to provide higher and higher levels of service and nuances of relationships. The type of complexity you need to have a real sense of community.

 

And then we need these identities to follow us whether we are on a laptop, phone, pda, or any other interactive device. Now the interaction method becomes human-centric so rather than exchanging data, we communicate in memes – ideas that evolve and become an artifact of the culture – a new, dynamic, and growing online culture – Web 3.0?

 

If you want a long term projection of where this can go, read “The Golden Age” trilogy by John C. Wright.

 

P.S. I referred to Weather Report last blog. Joe Zawinul, the founder along with Wayne Shorter, died last week after battling cancer. RIP.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

The music ecosystem and commonality with the software industry.

 

I'm not really a Ray Bradbury fan, I got this title from a Weather Report album, which was no doubt inspired by the Walt Whitman poem. Weather Report was instrumental in the transition from traditional jazz to jazz fusion.  Joe Zawinul (keyboards) and Wayne Shorter (sax) were on a couple of Miles Davis' fusion albums and then broke away, forming the new group called Weather Report.

 

My favorite album of theirs is "Heavy Weather", which included one of the best bassists of all time, Jaco Pastorius (RIP). A real work of genius on that album is "The Juggler", which has my very favorite song ending - a single forlorn bass note giving an ironic twist to a complex song. Jaco later connected with Pat Metheny and you can still hear Jaco's influence in Metheny's later albums with Mark Egan on bass.

 

It's fascinating to trace these influences and their branches into other genres of music. At each juncture, a musician influenced another musician by participating in the creation of new music, but their influence continued well after they moved on.

 

Before open source, the ISV world was Borg-like, “resistance is futile. We had no choice but to absorb, regurgitate and attempt influence through traditional marketing, creating countless standards committees, and raiding each other's staff. Software is now growing up. Adding open source to the ecosystem creates the opportunity for collaboration between developers regardless of corporate affiliation. The resulting innovations can then be incorporated and used in powerful, sometimes unanticipated ways. Each participant in the process is affected.

 

I believe it is mandatory that anyone who calls themselves a "professional" developer must be able to show examples of open source contributions - and the companies they work for should encourage this participation. These contributions become the incubator of innovations that will later find their ways into commercial applications that will help change the world.

 

I’m proud to say that BMC’s permissive licensing is a potent enabler of rapid development and innovation in the systems management space. Permissive licensing incents developers to build on the baseline code provided and build commercial innovation. And I believe that as such developments become visible to the community there will be natural pressure to encourage contributions back to the community. A good name is still important in the industry. In addition to this, market demand has created the opportunity for enthusiastic partnerships in the new ecosystem to help fill existing and future software needs. This can be in the area of platforms, specialized applications, and variations of current applications. Just look at all the custom applications developers have done on the Remedy Action Request System. It's important to have the infrastructure for the market to express their needs and to have those needs met with either commercial or open source software - and they are not mutually exclusive.

 

We have all this with developer.bmc.com. Take a look.  Participate.   Give feedback. Check out the new podcast with whurley and me talking more about BMC Developer Network.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

 

Announcing BMC Developer Network (BMCDN) and Open Source offerings.


Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends


We're so glad you could attend


Come inside! Come inside!


~From Karn Evil 9: First Impression on Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery Album

 

 

 

ELP is one of the original progressive rock bands with the original likely being King Crimson (Greg Lake's original band). Prog music is fun to trace because you can see influences inside and outside the genre even into pop music. The music industry is an interesting ecosystem that is always riding an edge between IP protection and creative license. When does a technique or a riff or lyric move from protected property to open source? And as most would agree, the music industry does not deal well with open source. :-) However, there are many examples of modern music openly using classical riffs from greats like Beethoven and Bach - so it does exist. And so it goes with the software industry - there are fits and starts with ISV's incorporating, developing, and contributing to open source but it is happening and becoming a larger and larger factor in ISV strategies. And thus it goes with BMC - we actually have, since Y2K, incorporated, developed, and made open source contributions - but generally not in a strategic context. Now we are.

 

In my last blog entry, I mentioned; "Such a strategy requires an infrastructure that narrows the distance between the platform provider and the developer community". This was an allusion to our BMC Developer Network which whurley announced at OSCON this week.

 

We've actually been semi-live with BMCDN for a couple of months, migrating the Remedy groups and also creating new forums aligned with our BSM strategy. We are also in the process of migrating the DevCon (a.k.a.: PATROL Developer Connection) to BMCDN. But, as you can tell, our release Open Source adapters at BMC is significant and, I believe, helps complete our ecosystem approach.

 

BMCDN is by no means perfect nor complete. We had a choice to attempt sterile perfection or to get the word out and truly commit to having the developer community drive the structure and content of the BMCDN. We chose the latter. So we have an initial structure and we have some content, but I'm hopeful that a year from now we'll have something completely different that has been tailored and built in conjunction with our development community.

 

I would like to acknowledge the hard work over the past year by people on my team including Ken Beck, David Fiel, Joe Vodvarka, Scott Powell, and Luis Laborda in getting this BMCDN ready. This not only included development of the infrastructure, but also included getting the open source adapters built, licensing schemes debated and agreed, and coordination with R&D and Marketing.

 

I'm excited about what we have and more excited about where our development community will take it. Come and join the show -- the BMC Developer Network developer.bmc.com!

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

I ran into Kash Noorani an Architect of our Dashboards and we got talking about ecosystem - since I describe my job as building the inbound ecosystem. We were discussing the importance of having developers build integrations and innovations on our platforms such as CMDB, AR, and, of course our dashboards. He pointed me to the funny yet scary "Developers,   developers, developers" rant by Steve Ballmer. It brings a realization that what makes a vibrant and lasting ecosystem for a software platform is the developer community. They are the source of innovation that extends the platform solution into new technology areas. An example of this is Aeroprise, and BMC development partner that extends our Remedy applications into mobile devices. They also can extend solutions into vertical markets such as TuringSMI and the Telco/eTOM solutions they provide. And, of course, these developers help grow the market, thus the pie for all of us while providing greater value to our mutual customers. The integrations and extensions aren't limited to commercial ISV software, but include "toolkit" source and binaries that help customers perform a specific task, and also open source software. There is no reason that a complete solution for a customer cannot or would not include all such components, in fact, a credible ecosystem strategy must include all of them.

 

Such a strategy requires an infrastructure that narrows the distance between the platform provider and the developer community to the point where there is near seamless interaction with all elements of the ecosystem - joining customers, developers, and the solution provider into one dynamic bazaar. I think this is where ISV's can learn a lot from the open source community...

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone


My role has changed from focusing on virtualization to helping build the ecosystem for BMC - the virtual platform.

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and since my last blog I’ve taken on a new role in BMC. I had been focused on (among many things) virtualization and BMC’s approach to managing virtual environments. You’ll notice in my last blog that I was talking a bit about ecosystem. Well, I got the opportunity to run our Technology Alliance and MarketZone organization – a major component for helping to build out the BMC ecosystem. My organization helps other companies gain access to software and consulting to help build out integrations to BMC technologies such as CMDB, Remedy ARS, Performance Manager, and others. We also help market and sell the products from those companies that fill gaps or enhance our solutions. No solution in IT is comprised of only a single vendor’s capabilities – the solutions are built of components from several companies – BSM solutions are the same. Just think of a car. You might buy a “Ford”, but the Ford is comprised of tires made from Goodyear, a Sirius satellite receiver, and on and on with components from other vendors/partners.

 

BSM solutions, while being comprised of major components built by BMC, still have partner componentry as part of the whole solution. For example, BMC has the leading Knowledge Management for Service Desk in the industry. Some customers may want to purchase off-the-shelf knowledge to get their knowledge-base started. We work with partners to provide the knowledge content that populates our Knowledge Management solution. Same goes for Network Configuration, Mobility, Notification, and other areas that complement our core solutions.

 

We are being very aggressive about building out the ecosystem across the solution set and have some pretty exciting and new programs coming out around developer enablement and communications and open source. I’ll expound more on these areas later…

 

The bottom line is that BMC has a complete BSM set of solutions and these solutions have a healthy ecosystem around them. BSM presents, if you will, a virtual platform for enabling a whole solution that includes best-in-class for every aspect of the infrastructure from hardware to network to application to business process. Thus I see my role as having changed from focusing on virtualization technology to helping to build the virtual business – the ecosystem around BMC’s solutions.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

Lots of response to my RSS views even now and impact of standardization and componentization on mature markets.

 

My blog entry on RSS spurred seemed to spur some interest - it even led to an article in SearchDataCenter. I should put a plug for Cote from Red Monk since he and I have discussed RSS a bit and he's on top of standardization and process. It's interesting to me how standards arise in industries: 1) by way of industry groups vying thru mutual interest/benefit for standards, and 2) by de facto demand by the user community. I think RSS is a combination of the two. But I don't think anyone anticipated all the potential end uses of RSS when it was originally defined. I enjoy seeing the chaos of innovation around technologies beyond intended purposes. RSS is one of those where we'll see uses that extend into areas such as Systems Management, Customer Support, and beyond. We starting to see hints of such innovation around virtual environments - specifically VMware.

 

As VMware has become more and more prevalent as a platform, the platform itself is becoming less interesting - it's there and it works - while the applications (usage of the platform) are becoming more interesting. VMware is at an interesting inflection point where they have been the focus for enablement of their platform and have provided interesting applications to migrate, consolidate, and manage the environment - and the focus (and rightly so) has been on the ecosystem around enabling the platform. And while the platform is currently dominant, it's key to have the platform specific applications that fully leverage it's capabilities. Easy examples are VMware appliances that provide specific capabilities - I mentioned the Media server in a prior blog - other examples, include demo platforms, system management appliances, and even application servers where you want instant portability. I'm curious how many third parties are making significant revenue providing such specific applications? One I know of is   Surgient which provides "virtual lab management" software on "standard" virtual infrastructure (ie, VMware). From my experience, most of the current uses of VMware are around proprietary customer applications and migrating these applications from physical to the virtual environment. And that's not a bad use, just doesn't create a long term and dynamic ecosystem. For BMC, we already provide specific management functionality for VMware, and we're seeing use/revenue for these products (monitoring, performance management, and capacity planning), but almost exclusively in the context of the migrated legacy apps. I'm not saying the VMware specific applications are not there, I just have not heard of a lot of revenue being generated in that domain yet. Am I wrong?

 

Regardless, as the platform matures, there will be extensive opportunities - capacity planning will become more critical for production VMware workloads, power and cooling (which Dave Wagner has written extensively about) will become more critical, and we'll see a chaos of innovation we haven't anticipated.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

We tend to talk a lot about the cost benefits of consolidating workloads to virtual images – and those benefits are significant. Another significant benefit, albeit not as hyped, is the concept of the application being “contained” in the virtual image. “Contained” is a loaded term, but what I mean here is that operations can be performed on the virtual image such as moving, copying, deleting, recovering – and all things that affect the state of the application. This can be handy for portability, but also as a way of controlling the application configuration for compliance and security purposes. The concept is fairly well known with VMware’s capabilities supplied around their Control Center and VMotion. The VMware tools implement the container concept from purely a system perspective, so the actions performed on the container are done based on  information such as CPU and i/o as opposed to based on the application state. Dan Chu from VMware has some good discussion on VMware Appliances which is pretty similar to the container concept I'm describing. Without application state information, decisions regarding resources and configuration are being made based on shadows on the wall rather than the actual state of the application or service being provided. This will be key in making container actions more widespread in production (as opposed to dev and test) environments.

 

Another aspect of containers applies to the end-user. An early example is Citrix providing, effectively, multi-user access to Microsoft Windows environments. A new example is with Softricity (just acquired by Microsoft) providing application streaming. In both cases it’s the idea of providing end-user functionality (either OS or App) from a central location (a container) that can undergo all the container actions described above. A nice aspect to these types of containers is having near absolute control of the environment and application configuration provided to an end-user. So along with that comes security to the enterprise in knowing that the environment and applications being used by their end-users exactly meets specifications. Another use case for user environment containers is providing a guest environment – give a guest/visitor access to limited applications such as web access within a “contained” environment. Then, when the guest is finished, the environment can be disposed without impact to the enterprise.

 

In both container cases, the environment is really looked at as a file. Both VMware and Microsoft have their proprietary virtual file formats, but, in the end, it’s just a file. This means the containers themselves, while undergoing the above operations, should also be considered candidates for Change and Configuration Management processes. Such an approach might greatly enhance the way that applications and user environments are managed thru every ITIL process. I do think there’s room for standardization of the virtual file formats – which would make containers portable across virtual environments. I doubt this will happen anytime soon, but it may be an inevitable development if virtual environments follow the same path as processors and operating systems.

 

I’ll end on a personal use case. My son helped setup a media center where we stream photos, video, and music from a central server in our house. We therefore needed a media server that would feed the streamed content. Well, we decided to load Windows Media Center into a virtual machine under VMPlayer. We did this because WMC needs a machine to run on and by being on my son’s laptop so we could test and tweak in the same location as the media center. Once we got it working, we copied the .VMX file to the primary server environment, and, it ran without a hitch! This way we could verify the functionality without creating any risk to the main server environment. An interesting side note, we subsequently had the hard drive crash on the primary server and recovered the media server by copying it from the backup hard drive.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.
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- By Fred Johannessen, Technology Alliance Program and Market Zone

 

Customer support needs to get better and we need to admit the reality of instant messaging improves productivity and the quality of experience. IM is integral to the OnDemand world.

 

In today's on demand world, we can make instant purchases, instant research using search engines, instant access to desktop information using desktop searches, and even run software instantly using Java based software. Pretty much anything I want to do in the electronic world, I can do instantly – until something bad happens… When I experience a software failure, I generally need to go to the vendors support web page and start doing a series of searches through a cumbersome search engine to try to find a solution through a self-service knowledge base. In fact, this process is usually so cumbersome that I just start doing Google searches until I find someone else in the world who has experienced and logged the problem and solution in a forum. Of course, Microsoft has their pop-up dialog when a failure occurs that offers to send information to Microsoft for future help. I've never gotten any decent solution from this. So, generally, I'll end up spending an hour or more going through a debug or recovery process to get my software and/or system back up and running. And it lowers my opinion considerably of the vendor who developed the software because I can't get an instant solution to my problem. I want instant and effective help.

 

One of the greatest stealth tools in the business is instant messaging (IM). IM is integral to geographically dispersed organizations – it's handy in getting a quick answer to a question while you're on the phone with someone else, coordinating and facilitating online meetings, and keeping in contact with family and co-workers while on the road. Amazingly, the IT industry has not taken a productive stance relative to IM – either IM's are ignored, forbidden, or an IM is chosen that has no connectivity to outside the firewall, which sounds secure, but generally results in noone in the company using it – which is secure, but not productive. Our world has blended the concept of work and personal life where a person can be simulaneously engaged in both from anywhere in the world – home, restaurants, hotels, and (heaven forbid!) the beach.

 

AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) rolled out two AIM bots called "ShoppingBuddy" and "Moviephone" placed on your AIM buddy list under "AIM Bots". To the consternation of many in the industry, AOL placed these bots without asking the AIM users (AOL forces friends on AIM customers). While I don't like the idea of any software being placed on my system against my choice, the concept of AIM bots is pretty interesting to me from a support perspective. The bot concept is about thinking, for example, I want to go to a movie, then telling someone (a bot) that you want to find a movie and getting assistance in a more human way in finding the movie, time and location. I'm pretty sure that the AIM bots are based on "Smarter Child" which provides a framework for generating conversational rules for finding information. It's a way to interact with a service in a human-like way. In fact, a properly constructed bot would likely pass the Turing test.

 

Think from a software support perspective:

 

1. You have a problem with ABC software
2. You click on the IM bot for ABC software (that you opted into when you installed the software)
3. The Bot validates your registration and asks you to describe the problem
4. Simultaneously, the Bot has generated a trouble ticket, alerting customer support (based on your support level), and uploaded configuration data related to ABC software on your system
5. As you go through the questioning process, the Bot realizes that it is not able to solve your problem immediately, so during the questioning process it raises the alert level
6. A human from ABC software takes over the IM session and drills down on the issue and finds a solution
7. The problem fixed, you're happy and running the ABC software, never knowing whether you were messaging with a human or machine.

 

All that matters is you got help instantly and effectively.

 

To get to this scenario, we need standards and security. However, much of the technology is in place including IM, support knowledge-bases, and a framework for building human-like conversations. Just seems that support is such a huge part of the End-user Quality of Experience that we need to get better and fast! And we have to admit that IM is integral to doing business in the On Demand world.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own  and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or  position.

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