Beware of Sleeping Giants
By Nelson Hsu and Marcia Kaufman
Given the economic constraints on IT spending over the past few years, many traditional software vendors have wisely focused on keeping business steady, and working to meet the needs of existing customers. Based on a series of discussions with the incumbent players, we see a strong pattern emerging as they begin to adapt to the shift to business services and stake a claim in the world of Service Oriented Architectures. With a sound portfolio of technology, strong financials and intelligent decisions – they are being awoken by the light breeze (not yet winds) of opportunity. Their technologies will be transformed and they will begin to revamp their strategy and story line of old.
Compuware is just such a sleeping giant as they launch their Vantage 9.1 platform. Compuware is at the early stage of re-establishing itself after being sedentary in the applications and performance tools business. It’s a business they have known for over 20 years but will now move forward with a focus on SOA management to increase ROI, management efficiencies and provide a view into business services. Historically, they have acquired companies and technologies but have not had a cohesive strategy, vision or integrated solution across their products.
Vantage 9.1. Vantage 9.1 looks to take the components of multiple services and transform those applications and protocols to provide an overall view of resource consumption and network performance of real applications. It addresses the challenge by using the Vantage business model to associate the components of an application in to a “business application”. Vantage 9 provided the insight into these transactions and Vantage 9.1 groups the multiple transactions/services into a single “business application” which should be much more useful for businesses to execute on their objectives.
With Vantage 9.1 there is a dialogue shift to proactively manage and deliver services including specific service level performance metrics rather than just monitoring them. This should provide deeper insight into business application performance, identify server and end-user response time and improve overall node throughput and load to enhance overall management and potentially identify servers for network consolidation and savings. The Vantage 9.1 charge back reports will provide insight to various business units as to the quantifiable costs of consuming bandwidth or under-utilized servers, thus tying infrastructure management to service management.
Compuware is a billion dollar company with tremendous resources, strong customer base and products. They are poised to do well if they can execute with the business services platform, can focus on acquiring new customers and nail down Vantage 9.1 partners other than Citrix. Vantage 9.1 offers some unique benefits to IT managers who want to communicate more effectively to business users regarding the relationship between specific business requirements and scarce IT resources. However, even with an extensive base of Vantage customers, Compuware faces formidable competition from companies like HP, Mercury Interactive, CA and IBM, as they work up from the practitioner level to market their solution at the CIO or corporate level. If Compuware is successful emphasizing the new “business application” aspects of their technology and reviving its existing customer base with Vantage 9.1 – they will do well and be in a good position to build stronger and profitable business partnerships.
Nelso Hsu and Marcia Kaufman are both Principals and Senior Consultants at Hurwitz & Associates, a consulting, research, and analyst firm focused on emerging software markets. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com