I probably interact with 80 customer users a year. Ideally, I visit them when things are going well, talk about current state, talk about new things they want to do, how to use what they've purchased, and how to free up resources from firefighting for project work. Lately, however, I've been going to a number of customers who have been running for a year or two, and are running into some challenges – particularly with people changing jobs. When those people are the linchpins that ensure the success of a given project, these projects are suddenly at risk. Often the backup person hasn't been working on the project nearly as regularly or intensely as the primary was, or their other duties have kept them out of the loop. This is a risk with almost any project: the only way to know the subtleties is to be among them.
One of the challenges of BMC Server Automation (BSA) being so flexible a platform is that there's often more than one way to go about addressing a problem. Historically, figuring out the best way to do these things has involved a services engagement to consult with the customer and understand the details of their needs, occasional spot help from a software consultant, or tickets filed with Support.
To help with this process, I'm starting to collect together our internal best practices and lessons learned at customers, and rolling them up into both written papers and videos talking through common ways to go about solving problems with BSA. I've got a few years working with the product, I know a bunch of experts here and I've been soliciting ideas. I'm not saying they'll be perfect, and I'm not saying you still can't stub your toe if you do what I'm doing. What I can tell you is that they'll explain to you how I, and others like me, will commonly approach a typical data center problem like PCI FIM Change Tracking, Solaris Patching, or Granular Access Control for Non-Admins. I will happily take feedback and amend them over time (perhaps with kung-fu style dubbing). I'm also planning to include the more common questions and issues that tend to come up.
The ideal audience for this will be someone who already knows a little about BSA, but wants to experiment with something in a new functional area (like Compliance, or Change Tracking, or Patching) to learn more about how it works, and have enough understanding to talk about it to their own teams.
This won't replace training, education, services and consulting, or simply talking to your local sales rep or software consultant about how the products can help address your organization's challenges. My expectation is that if it's easier to figure out how to use the product, more people will use it. I'll also be making these videos available internally for our own people to use, whether they're a new software consultant or developer, or the veteran who wants to learn more.
These will definitely be available through communities.bmc.com, and I'm planning to make them available in a video podcast or portable-device-friendly format.
If there's something that took you (as an end user, software consultant, services consultant, or customer) longer to figure out than it should have, or something that you're spending a lot of time explaining to your coworkers, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll add it to the list, or prioritize it higher.
I'm also taking requests for theme songs. Is "Take 5" too cheesy, too overdone, too 1990s and "Pleasantville"?