BMC unit upgrades help desk, IT asset management apps

BMC Software Inc.’s Remedy Corp. unit this week will announce a new version of its IT service management applications that includes upgrades to tools for tracking the life cycle of IT assets and managing changes to corporate systems.

Both of those areas were neglected during Remedy’s prior ownership by Peregrine Systems Inc., said John Ragsdale, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. “Change management and asset management took a back seat during Peregrine’s ownership, so Remedy is correcting that,” he said.

The IT Service Management 5.5 release also includes revised software for managing help desks and service-level agreements. This is the first upgrade by Remedy since Houston-based BMC bought it from Peregrine in November. Remedy remains a separate company within BMC and is based in Mountain View, Calif.

Health First Inc. in Rockledge, Fla., upgraded to Remedy’s Help Desk 5.0 software in January and plans to install all four of the new modules later this year, said Jose Lanza, IT support and operations supervisor at the nonprofit health care provider.

Health First chose the Remedy software when it set up its help desk operation because of its ease of use and its integration with the other three modules, Lanza said. “This 5.5 release is going to fit just like a ring,” he noted.

Heath First operates three hospitals and 65 medical clinics in Florida’s Brevard County, and its IT systems support 6,500 employees and other end users. But the company’s rapid expansion is causing “huge problems” for the IT staff in tracking the configurations of servers and applications, Lanza said.

The help desk software lets end users create their own e-mail trouble tickets for IT problems and to reassign the tickets to other help desk workers if they’re not satisfied with the initial response.

“ROI for Health First is not so much dollars but customer service, and we have that,” Lanza said.

Jim Grant, Remedy’s general manager, said the new version also includes a Web-based user interface and support for Web services technology. The revisions let users focus not only on helping to reduce their companies’ IT costs, but also on aligning corporate technology investments with goals defined by business managers, he said.

Ragsdale said the overhauled user interface in the 5.5 release creates a fully Web-based software client that should be easier for IT workers to use than Remedy’s existing applications.