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Is BSM entering the mainstream with a software guarantee?

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A question sometimes asked is "what do we need analysts for?" Well, according to Dr Jim White of Managed Objects, customers for new technology often select the short list for "requests for quotation" from the analyst's "Magic Quadrants", "Waves", or whatever. So, analysts help businesses choose sensible short lists for procurement.

However, when White asked the analysts how they select vendors for inclusion in their lists, they said they choose vendors their clients have asked them to investigate.

That sounds like its above-board and best-practice, but it seems to me it's really a bit of a circular argument. What about emerging approaches that no one knows they should be interested in yet; or newcomers to the field that no one has heard of? Or, innovative technologies that fall into the gap between established technologies? Are the analysts, in fact, a force for perpetuating the status quo, especially now they're extra-cautious after getting caught out by the dot com bubble?

If so, this probably explains why Managed Objects is so pleased to feature as a leading Business Service Management player in a new "Forrester Wave" report: Managed Objects Is One Of The Pioneers In Business Service Management, The Forrester Wave™ Vendor Summary, Q1 2007, (March 28, 2007) – read it here. It's not just that being recognised as a leader pleases White but that, until recently apparently, Business Service Management (BSM) itself was rather below the horizon for most analysts.

The other major player in BSM according to Forrester is BMC, of course, although the full report rates several other vendors too. What distinguishes Managed Objects is the way its BSM tools are architected for incremental introduction (you can address an immediate problem, so you can get immediate benefit from your investment, and expand this to a complete BSM solution later). It also integrates well with third party tools in a "best of breed" approach to BSM – with no need to replace working management tools or lock yourself into one vendor.

In addition, according to White, when Managed Objects asked Forester about further ways it could distinguish itself from the competition, Forrester suggested "software guarantees" – something I've been advocating for ages (see here, for example). So, Managed Objects now highlights that:

"We're so confident in our BSM solution, we guarantee our customer's success with our products. No other vendor we know of can make this statement and no other vendor has our near 100 per cent maintenance renewal rate to back it up," (see press release here).

Of course, a serious guarantee that means something has to be worded carefully (unlimited liability sounds good until you realise that this means the company risks going out of business from one company claiming, when its guarantee effectively becomes worthless for everyone else).

What this one means is that Managed Objects works with "milestone payments" – as I understand it, rather than negotiating a one-off payment, its gets paid as and when it delivers benefit. So, if it isn't delivering, its customers can move on with minimal penalty. Its excellent claimed customer renewal rate presumably means this is working as a business model. ®

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