What is BTO?
A quick glance at the world of Information Technology and its history is certain to reveal that the industry has long been in love with buzz words, TLAs (three letter acronyms) and "techno babble." Recent examples of acronyms that spring to mind include BSM (Business Service Management), HPC (high performance computing) and SLM (service level management). Mercury Interactive is the latest vendor to attempt to promote a TLA following its recently announced acquisition of Kintana. Watch out for "BTO", soon to be understood to be short hand for Business Technology optimization.
The good thing about the recent additions to "technology speak" has been that some of the TLAs make sense and even attempt embrace concepts important to business workers, not just hardened IT professionals. BSM is one such good example. The concept behind BTO is an area that may well interest many organizations, both those working within IT departments and senior line of business managers.
There are today no companies that are unconcerned with either the cost of internal services that are consumed in order to run the business and the quality of service that is delivered to its customers. The ideas behinds BTO should have a positive effect in both of these areas. In effect BTO promises to help organizations make the most efficient use of their IT systems thereby optimizing the costs associated with the delivery of said services. However, BTO is also designed to take account of real world business objectives to ensure that the organization as a whole benefits as a consequence of the optimizations undertaking, rather than just the IT department.
Mercury Interactive has long been recognized for its wide ranging technology solutions that address issues such as application performance testing and scalability, application delivery and management, systems' tuning and, latterly, IT service management. The acquisition of Kintana for some $225 million has provided the means by which the infrastructure technology based data delivered by the company's existing management software can be transformed into the effect that the services delivered using IT systems has on business processes. In effect the company is attempting to give organizations tools to allow them to run IT, especially the associated processes and people used to manage IT, as a business whilst optimizing the business value delivered by IT.
It is worthwhile noting that Mercury Interactive (and Kintana before it) has recognized that in order for any optimization to have an effect that the underlying business processes must also be considered. Indeed the Kintana technology is best described by the phrase "software to support making decisions about business processes".
In this light Mercury Interactive has made it clear that it intends to focus on issues of "IT governance" and assist its customers to ensure that they have effective processes in place to manage the IT infrastructure. This could be valuable to the many organizations that do not employ best practice to handle, for example change management, asset and portfolio management along with "charge back" issues.
It is clear that Mercury Interactive is continuing its efforts to become a much more influential supplier of management tools. Whilst Kintana has not been widely utilized outside of North America, it has acquired around 30 significant European customers. Kintana has also enjoyed very strong links with Accenture, where a practice has been established around the software.
Altogether, this acquisition complements Mercury Interactive's existing portfolio of solutions very neatly. If the company manages the integration of the technology, the people and the channels well, Mercury Interactive has great potential to elevate its visibility quite dramatically. The existing systems management heavyweights of BMC, CA, HP and IBM are sure to have taken note.
Copyright 2003. Originally published by IT-Director.com, reprinted with permission. IT-Director.com provides IT decision makers with free daily e-mails containing news analysis, member-only discussion forums, free research, technology spotlights and free on-line consultancy. To register for a free e-mail subscription, click here.
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