Transforming IT: Inside Out, Bottom to Top

When Scott Crowder took over as BMC’s new CIO in February, he knew status quo was not an option. Too many changes were happening at BMC, and across the industry, new technologies were transforming how businesses, employees and customers interact. Crowder decided to get radical — and re-think the entire IT operation and organization from the ground up.

In the year prior, BMC privatized the business with new ownership led by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital. The company hired several new executives and re-organized into distinct business units to accelerate growth and innovation. The company unveiled key new products to transform the IT experience, along with products and partnerships that extend BMC’s value for cloud, big data, DevOps and workload automation. With all this change, BMC IT would need to evolve its structure and practices in order to become a true digital business driver.

Crowder immediately assembled his leadership team for several weeks of brainstorming and workshops to re-imagine how IT would be managed at BMC. Knowing that personal roles often get in the way of change, Crowder challenged the team to brainstorm with completely open minds — as if their current jobs didn’t exist. “No stone unturned” was the mandate.

BMC IT TransformationWhat emerged was a dramatically changed IT organization, designed to deliver business value, fully leverage and evolve the talents of BMC’s 420-person IT team, and tap into the latest technologies and industry insights. “In order to deliver the best outcomes, people and process must come before technology,” says Crowder. “Without the right organizational structure that puts staff into the right roles and enables them with built-in growth opportunities, it’s not possible to maximize value and drive constant improvement.”

The new IT organization features three distinct teams that didn’t exist before:

IT ENABLEMENT: Like most IT organizations, BMC IT had focused most of its time and energy on “business enablement” — delivering services and solutions across the business — along with managing the IT infrastructure required to deliver those services. Going forward, BMC decided that it needed equal emphasis on the IT operation as a whole, routinely analyzing and optimizing based on team insights and industry trends. The strategic “IT enablement” team is chartered with driving IT efficiency and staying ahead of the demand curve, while adopting the latest BMC innovations as a real-world learning lab for the business.

CLOUD SERVICES: One of the most transformative changes was the decision to collapse traditional “platform”disciplines and teams that focused on Unix, Wintel, compute, storage and networking technologies. In its place is an integrated “cloud services”team that runs one of the largest private clouds in the industry for a company its size. This includes a massive R&D cloud with approximately 16,000 virtual machines, which are now managed by BMC’s Cloud Lifecycle Management software and BMC’s server and network automation tools.

UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS: Mobile and social technologies have forever changed how we communicate, and the evolving mix of office workers, road warriors and telecommuters requires a more agile communications fabric that adapts to employee needs. To that end, BMC IT combined many of its previously separate collaboration and communication technologies into a single “unified communications”effort, managed by a single leadership team. The new effort brings together email, voice, video, telephony, chat, conferencing and streaming technologies, along with foundational networking expertise and mobile and social innovations —all designed to enable the best user experience for BMC employees, customers and partners.

The unified communications effort is a great example of how IT can deliver cost savings while simultaneously improving the user experience. As Crowder recently shared with CIO Review magazine, BMC expects to save nearly $4.5 million annually by disconnecting outdated systems and upgrading to the latest WiFi access points and Microsoft Lync 2013. “Gone are the days of staring down a conference phone and audio-only communications. Collaboration of rich audio, video and content sharing is the way we collaborate today,” said Crowder.

In addition to the teams listed above, BMC IT re-aligned the rest of its resources into several optimized groups:

  • Office of the CIO: Focused on business value realization, IT organizational readiness, change readiness best practices and internal/external communication.
  • Business Enablement: Integrates all the business-facing functions into one organization, focused on customer engagement, client advocacy and business architecture.
  • Solutions Delivery: Consolidates all business systems and software delivery into one organization accountable for designing, developing and delivering innovative solutions that drive business value, provide competitive advantage and delight customers.
  • Support Services: Dedicated 24×7 support for all employees, including NOC, Service Desk, End User Services and DevOps, and Level 2 support for critical business systems. Enables Solutions Delivery to be completely focused on delivering new functionality.
  • Service Governance: Consolidates governing functions including project management office, service management processes, IT governance, enterprise portfolio management, Information Security, Security Operations Center (SOC), IT metrics and financial oversight. Ensures process consistency across critical IT functions that support the business.

Crowder is especially proud that his IT team was willing to “start fresh”and move beyond prior roles, structures and practices in pursuit of a future-oriented IT organization. Where the team was “designed for scale”before the change, Crowder says it is now “designed for growth.”

As an extension of the new organizational structure, Crowder’s leadership team developed eight core themes that serve as a mantra to drive change throughout the organization:

  • Remove perceived IT bureaucracy: Make sure processes are fit for purpose.
  • Keep ears on the track: Stay fully attentive to the Voice of the Customer.
  • High performance IT: Be accountable, agile and adaptive.
  • We are Customer Zero: Embrace latest BMC innovations to be a thought leader.
  • Bite-sized communications: Don’t wait for perfect information. Share what’s top of mind.
  • Visible and accessible leaders: Provide understanding and deliver “truth”on the ground.
  • Innovative IT: Embrace cloud, DevOps, mobile, social, big data, unified communications, and software-defined technologies.
  • Elevated business partnership: Be accountable, bring insights and deliver to earn your seat at the table.

Last but not least, Crowder and his team have embraced the importance of open, transparent communications to drive change — both within and outside the organization. Crowder recently shared some of the team’s tactics with CIO UK, including weekly “Brag IT”notices that highlight IT accomplishments and an “IT annual report”that has been published for three years running. Said Crowder: “It’s important for CIOs to communicate their achievements across a range of constituents, including employees, customers and peers. Doing it right maintains a steady pulse of value and goodwill generation, while also improving employee motivation.”

BMC IT is now six months into its transformation, and what may have seemed scary at the time has proven to be liberating for the IT staff. No longer are they held back by outdated structures and “this is how we’ve always done it”thinking. Of course, there’s still plenty of change to drive — and systems to upgrade, solutions to deliver and technologies to embrace — but BMC IT is clearly on a new path for 2014 and beyond.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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Tim Marklein

Tim Marklein

Founder and CEO of Big Valley Marketing, a data-driven marketing and communication consultancy for technology companies. Unique background combines front-line marketing, strategic planning and in-depth analytics across in-house and agency roles. Frequent speaker and writer on business strategy, technology marketing, competitive positioning, communications measurement, analytics and advocacy.