BMC Partners To Get Keys To Services Goldmine

IT services are where the money's at, so the new effort by BMC to let channel partners perform account services could be a lucrative arrangement for the select group of partners BMC seeks, said William Donahoo, director of worldwide channel program development and marketing for BMC, Houston.

BMC helps itself too with the effort. First by giving itself the option to match the individual strength of a particular partner to a corresponding component of BMC's diverse technology stack, controlling quality. And second, by not having to spend the money to grow its own professional services team, explained Donahoo.

"Our professional services group has not been growing. They are very lean, and there is nobody to fulfill," said Donahoo. "So our professional services strategy is we want to sell the partners' services. We don't want them to have to sell ours because that puts us in competition with them for service revenue."

A two-tier distribution model is also an option on BMC's table, Donahoo added. BMC has already engaged in talks with Westminster, Colo.-based distributor GE Access to possibly embark on a reseller relationship between the two companies. "We still are analyzing a two-tier distribution model," Donahoo said, adding that any decision on that front could be as far as 18 months away. In the meantime, BMC is taking what it has as far as in-house professional services skills and focusing them on different geographies to educate the VARs who will perform the services work for the vendor, Donahoo said.

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Education for BMC partners performing service fulfillment is critical, because by the company's own admission, BMC's diverse technology stack is no easy nut to crack. BMC offers an IT solution menu that rivals IBM's Tivoli, Hewlett-Packard's OpenView, and Computer Associates International's Unicenter in the current race to couple complex IT infrastructures with real business processes. Like its rivals, BMC can compete at the application management layer, the infrastructure layer, and in the realm of change and configuration management, with ways to plug just about anything else in, Donahoo said. This is a big reason for keeping service delivery partners within the confines of their core competencies, he said.

BMC will also assist in the oversight of the subcontracting of multiple partners during a complex deployment--another quality-control measure.

"For example, you take a scheduling partner that's really strong in scheduling. And you have another partner who is really strong in process consulting or business process engineering, and we hook them up together as partners," said Donahoo.

BMC's own territory managers will act as channel managers that partners performing services can "fall back on for a knowledge base of who has expertise in which area of BMC technology," said Donahoo. "Inside sales groups act the same. They have leads and are incented to give them to a partner."

BMC wants to hear from prospective partners right away. The company's goal is to increase its indirect sales for all its business units by 20 percent, said Paige Erickson, worldwide vice president of channels and alliances.

"Four years ago we were on a path to our own professional services organization," Erickson said. "Part of that not happening was the economy, and other things. But BSM [Business Service Management] requires services, and our partners want a program like this. They find it very appealing, because services is where they make money."