IBM recently completed its acquisition of MRO Software. MRO has a range of asset and service management products under its flagship Maximo brand that underpin various vertical industry solutions, which will enable IBM to take a lead in the enterprise asset management space, as well as boosting its capabilities in other areas.
IBM called the deal a company-wide acquisition, which, in IBM terms, reveals that it has significance across the two gigantic capabilities of software and services within Big Blue.
At a product strategy level, Maximo products will become a new line within IBM’s Tivoli range, alongside its extensive IT service management (ITSM) solutions, and complementing the existing IT asset management (ITAM) portfolio, which centers on the change and configuration management database (CCMDB).
Additionally important for IBM is the fact that MRO’s software portfolio includes a service/helpdesk capability, something IBM has lacked, and which has progressively appeared to be a hole in the enormously extensive range of software under the Tivoli banner.
Tying together the requirements and implementation plans for a service desk implementation happens to be something for which many customers need extensive services advice. Indeed, IBM Global Services (IGS) has already worked with many MRO customers in the past, and future potential in this regard also extends the logic of the deal for IBM. IGS is intensively involved in taking Maximo forward, and IBM has stated that it will increase planned investments to broaden the range of Maximo vertical solutions.
Although not yet announced, there also appears to be significant potential for IBM to extend yet further the reach of this popular offering, especially in the context of IBM’s growing range of Express-branded range of software, intended to be more easily implemented and affordable, and targeted at mid-range and smaller business customers.
Among the many business needs that IBM sees this deal addressing is the need for organizations to manage assets of all types in a more integrated way, and more efficiently. Additionally, there is increasing synergy between IT, and non-IT technical assets – for example, many items of plant and equipment have IP addresses and can be communicated with remotely, and more and more items are tagged with RFID devices, and therefore can be tracked and integrated with back-office IT systems.
Maximo addresses four main asset types: facilities (including property); transport; infrastructure; and IT. Across all these types, IBM plans to bring integrated support, systems, and processes to address asset operations and management, and looking further ahead, to extend this range of asset types.
MRO had an innovative partnership with Courion, the company that is now one of the very few vendors providing extensive, enterprise-strength identity and access management (I&AM) that remains independent of a larger management software parent. In the resulting integration, Courion’s provisioning of IT access rights could be integrated with provisioning of real-world assets that people need to do their jobs, e.g. laptops, cars, or tool kits, and also with existing business processes, such as HR systems, to increase efficiency. IBM has not stated whether MRO’s partnership with Courion will be continued, but there must now be scope for IBM’s own I&AM products to be integrated in the same way.
With this acquisition, IBM has taken a lead in the enterprise asset management space (where others will now be compelled to follow), and has boosted its strength and positioning in ITSM and ITAM, and quite possibly in its I&AM capabilities. IBM seems to be highly successful in following through most of its acquisitions, and with this one the whole could be significantly greater than the sum of the parts.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)