As is well known industry knowledge by now, the sun has almost set on BMC’s Service Desk Express, with full support of the product ending in May 2015. Customers are being encouraged by BMC to migrate to either the cloud-based Remedyforce application or to one of the BMC on-premise/hosted alternatives, of which there are many. Either way, customers need to make a move.
But, as these customers are making decisions about their migrations, is it possible that BMC is preparing to announce another product sunset?
Track-It customers, we’re talking to you.
We’re hearing buzz in the marketplace that BMC Track-It is on its way to the big desktop trash bin in the sky. But before we get to that, let’s run through a little background.
A Story of a Software Company
There once was a software company called Magic Solutions that delivered help desk and asset management software. A very good company with a lot of very good (and happy) customers. In 1998, Magic Solutions was acquired by Network Associates who then sold their “Magic” assets to BMC in 2004. It was a questionable market play by BMC at the time. BMC Remedy, acquired a few years earlier, was clearly the ITSM flagship. Magic brought BMC to the small-medium size market for the first time — but with technology that was already 15 years old.
“Magic” became BMC Service Desk Express, and throughout the years the changes just pushed it further away from what the product originally was, and what all of those customers invested in. It lived in a product portfolio that also contained BMC’s other ITSM products and at that time many considered that it would not have lasting power among an already full set of offerings. After all, why invest engineering resources into a product when other supposedly superior products are in the portfolio?
And the many were correct. This is where the BMC Track-It story comes in to play.
BMC Expands its “Footprint”
BMC then went on to acquire Numara Software in 2012, and the TrackIt and Footprints products along with it. At the time, we talked on this blog about what it could mean to customers.
When BMC acquired Numara it was dressed up as an addition to its “cloud” offering when in reality the product had nothing to do with the cloud. Numara didn’t even have a cloud offering at the time. Remedyforce was the only SaaS ITSM solution BMC had to offer, so BMC was again buying a customer base that they believed they could ultimately transition into Remedyforce.
Unfortunately, market forces came into play. BMC Track-IT customers, when approached by BMC, decided that if they were forced to change, then they would do their due diligence and research the market. Every “easy” transition became a competitive sale, just to protect the maintenance base. Moving to Remedyforce was by no means a slam-dunk.
BMC backed off this strategy, but never restored the engineering investment that Track-IT had enjoyed in its climb to being one of the leading SMB ITSM products in the market. And the sunset question started being asked — would BMC Track-IT follow BMC Service Desk Express?
And here we are today. There are many questions Track-It customers have right now, and we know this because they are asking. Here are a few we wonder about as well:
Just how big can overlapping product portfolios expand before busting? History tells us there is a breaking point.
What will ITSM vendors do to invest in the support necessary when they purchase these customer bases? It’s possible but not realistic to believe that any company can add products without a commitment to the ongoing support and necessary investment.
How can customers know that the ITSM solution they invest in today will be provided to them tomorrow? While an ITSM vendor may build and promote an “easy” migration, customers will always do the right thing — explore what other options are available to them. History tells us that customers absolutely hate being forced down a path.
Change happens. Acquisitions are made. These can be very good for business, innovation, and customers. But in some instances, it’s not as simple. In this case, the writing is on the wall that the challenges for Track-IT (and SDE) customers to move to a new BMC solution is moving them further away from what they wanted in the first place.
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