BMC ITSM goes social with Facebook-inspired MyIT 2.0

BMC Software takes ITSM in a consumerized direction with MyIT 2.0. IT pros like the idea, but execution and licensing models remain in question.

An IT service management vendor has married the often-conflicting worlds of IT service management and consumerization.

BMC Software Inc.'s MyIT 2.0, an update to the original MyIT application released in 2012, tackles ITSM in a new fashion with a user interface reminiscent of Facebook for IT help desk issues, analysts and customers said. With bring your own device (BYOD) and end users holding more control, IT may welcome something that gives them a more welcoming interaction with IT.

In MyIT 2.0, end users can submit requests for assistance with technical problems in a forum-type setting that can be addressed by both IT and other end users. It's more engaging than simply submitting a help desk ticket, according to Kim Olds, senior user support specialist for Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland.

"It's more of a dynamic, involving process, instead of such a rigid process," said Olds, whose network runs BMC Remedy ITSM 7.6.4.

The new suite of IT service management (ITSM) products, dubbed "New IT," includes three product updates: self-service IT help desk app My IT 2.0, social-based app store AppZone 2.0, and the latest update to its digital service management platform, Remedyforce.

They've tried to get rid of the very bureaucratic approach within IT service.

Robert Stinnett, data center automation engineer, Carfax Inc.

With these updates, BMC has added the element of crowdsourcing to ITSM. If a problem is common enough, there could be an answer simply by posting it in the MyIT 2.0 environment, according to Robert Stinnett, data center automation engineer for Carfax Inc., based in Centreville, Va., and who recently tried out a demo of the MyIT 2.0 beta version.

"They've tried to get rid of the very bureaucratic approach within IT service and make it something more people understand nowadays," Stinnett said.

Other vendors have added some social and mobile elements to their ITSM products, but BMC is the first to make IT interaction models mirror those that users have come to expect in their consumer lives, according to Jarod Greene, research director at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

Removing the need to fill out forms for IT help desk requests could lead to both happier end users and lower IT costs, analysts said.

"[MyIT 2.0] changes the scope to say, 'We don't want you to fill out forms. Tell us what's broken and we'll dispatch resources or we'll tell you how to fix it,'" Greene said.

MyIT 2.0 includes a portal for outage or system problem notifications, something Olds believes would have helped her district last year when a power outage knocked out her central office.

"Anybody subscribing would have understood there was an immediate effect on the network," Olds said. "That would be for more proactive communication as opposed to reactive communication."

AppZone 2.0 for curated apps

With AppZone 2.0, BMC offers a curated enterprise app store comprised of applications vetted by both IT and end users. This means IT gains a certain amount of control while still giving users some flexibility, and it prevents users from accessing apps that may get them into trouble, one analyst said.

AppZone 2.0 works with both custom apps and widely available apps, including those for a variety of different form factors, such as the Web, mobile, Software as a Service and desktop apps, according to Jason Frye, BMC's chief technology officer for consumerization technologies.

"We become an aggregator of different applications while plugging into the system of record," Frye said.

BMC perception, usage concerns

There are some concerns over how MyIT 2.0 would integrate into a highly regulated and audited setting, including healthcare where users must adhere to HIPAA privacy regulations, although Frye said MyIT has or will be certified against agency requirements like FedRAMP.

"This is a great framework, but how in the world do you populate this for your company?" Stinnett said. "A lot of times something looks good on paper, but in practice, it's a nightmare to try and populate the data if nobody is going to use it."

Data, including services and applications, can be imported from existing systems into MyIT 2.0, according to Frye, adding that users can "self-source" and populate data that's most important to them into MyIT 2.0, making the job easier for IT to curate content.

Olds said many longtime district employees among the 10,000 in her network don't even use desktops. Because BMC's New IT features are licensed on a per-user basis, Olds would need the scope to be limited to the employees who would actually use it.

"We'd have to work out a cost factor to see what we could realistically use and not waste the money," Olds said. "We could start out with 1,000 licenses, but how do you pick those 1,000 users?"

Frye said, using Olds' example, that 1,000 users could be licensed and then consumed based on actual usage versus trying to guess which users might actually use MyIT 2.0. Usage can be flexed up or down in 100-user increments based on monthly or yearly usage volumes.

MyIT 2.0 is available in beta right now and will be widely available in April in two versions: basic and premium. Premium will include real-time alerts, location services and crowdsourcing capabilities. While the basic service is free to all existing Remedy On Demand and Remedyforce customers, the premium pricing starts at $2 per user per month, with volume discounts starting at 1,000 users. The basic product is available as a standalone for non-BMC service desk customers, starting at $1 per user per month with similar discounts.

AppZone 2.0 is available for $3.50 per user per month with volume discounts for over 100 users and further discounts if purchased in conjunction with MyIT 2.0. The new version of Remedyforce will be $79 per user per month.

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