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I Always Feel Like, Somebody’s Watching Me

by Jarod Greene  |  July 14, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

(What c’hall know about Rockwell?!)

Last Monday we published a research note for ITSSM buyers on how to choose between BMC and ServiceNow.

How to Decide Between BMC and ServiceNow for ITSSM and Beyond

This is a note that’s been in the works for some time, and serves as a compliment to BMC and ServiceNow SWOT analysis notes that published earlier in the year.

We wrote this note because our estimates indicate that collectively BMC and ServiceNow own 50% of the ITSSM market.

We also wrote this note because our clients are asking this question at least three times a week.

The gist of the note is that choosing BMC or ServiceNow on ITSSM is too narrow of a focus. There are other things to consider.

Both have strong ITSSM offerings, but the similarities end there. Outside of ITSSM, BMC and ServiceNow are two different companies with two different strategic road maps, and “choosing between them” requires IT organizations to determine how value will be gained beyond the use of their ITSSM offerings. That starts with understanding what type of IT organization you are and how you outline the path to business value.

  • In selecting BMC, most organizations decide to demonstrate value through the end-to-end management of stable and reliable IT services composed of traditional and cloud-based environments.
  • In selecting ServiceNow, most organizations decide to demonstrate value by creating custom request-and-fulfill applications that meet a wide range of needs outside the IT organization.

We don’t recommend an “appropriate” choice to clients, contrary to widely held beliefs.

We ask organizations who they are, where they want to go and how do they plan on getting there. Based on the context, I have a discussion about what organizations with a similar story have done and talk about the pitfalls to avoid in getting there.

Sometimes they choose BMC, sometimes they choose ServiceNow. Sometimes they choose neither. And, sometimes, they choose both.

The reality is, many large, complex mature organizations value what they have with BMC’s ITOM portfolio to manage IT services and their data center environment. They just don’t love Remedy ITSM.  At the same time, these same large, complex mature organizations are attracted to the idea of using ServiceNow’s development platform to create custom request-and-fulfill applications that meet a wide range of business needs. They just are not willing to lift their BMC ITOM portfolio and shift over to ServiceNow’s, largely because ServiceNow doesn’t have the products.

From that context, I noted that BMC and ServiceNow were better compliments than they were  direct competitors. In a chart, we noted that across 18 ITOM products, BMC has many strong, best of breed products. We also noted that ServiceNow cannot make the same claim – many of their ITOM products (outside of ITSSM) were scored as weak, adequate, or not available, and that ServiceNow fills these gaps with partners.

I also noted that based on several years on dialogue with ServiceNow leadership that it was unlikely that ServiceNow would fills gaps with acquisitions. Specifically:

IT organizations should not rely on ServiceNow to expand in ITOM functionalities with specific products. ServiceNow will continue to build out its partners in ITOM to provide complimentary ITOM tools.”

And then this happened 48 hours after the note published:





In my second most notable tweet of that day, I called this a good look. Here’s why:

  • Neebula fills a gap for ServiceNow, providing top-down service mapping that is likely to compliment (not replace) the bottom-up discovery they already provide.
  • ServiceNow can compete on SDM – a place BMC ADDM or HP’s Universal Discovery hit them hard on.
  • IT Service View CMDB’s, when done correctly, are very sticky. Sticky is a must have in a subscription based business.
  • ServiceWatch gives ServiceNow a pivot into Infrastructure Monitoring and a very light slice of Application Performance Management.
  • This provides ServiceNow with another “in” into the IT organization.  If ServiceWatch is sold standalone, they can engage IT organizations who have recently licensed ITSSM tools, and want top-down discovery to populate their CMDB’s.
  • It excites the ever-expanding ServiceNow customer base, and shows a stronger commitment to ITOM.
  • Hell, the product name even fits.

I also think it’s interesting that this is an acknowledgement that the entire world isn’t moving to the cloud for all applications, and not all applications will be built atop ServiceNow.

This wasn’t the sexiest purchase for ServiceNow, but it’s solid.

  • What do you think?
  • Are you a BMC/ServiceNow customer or prospect swayed in any capability by this acquisition?

Please  – let me know in the comments, or on Twitter (@jarodgreene).

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Tags: bmc  cmdb  itssm  neebula  service-dependency-mapping  servicenow  

Jarod Greene
Sr. Research Analyst
8 years at Gartner
8 years IT Industry

Jarod Greene focuses on IT service support management, specifically, IT service desk management, organization and technology. This includes social IT management, software as a service (SaaS), IT support process improvement (including the ITIL framework), and IT knowledge management and self-service approaches. Read Full Bio

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