Network managers need all the help they can get.
Noting this prevailing view, IBM (IBM) subsidiary Tivoli Systems continued to augment its portfolio of management products today with the acquisition of help desk software specialist Software Artistry for $200 million, offering further proof that problem-resolution capabilities and management software tools will be increasingly offered as a single integrated package.
The confluence of these functions enables a help desk call center to access more management information, giving personnel a better understanding of a particular network or system problem's scope.
Tivoli competitors have already made moves in this area. Hewlett-Packard (HP) purchased help desk software supplier Prolin in April to add to the company's OpenView suite of management tools. Computer Associates (CA) released new and updated versions of its help desk software tools for its Unicenter network and systems management software in February.
But Tivoli executives claim these tools do not compare in scope to what Software Artistry can offer and cannot address the needs of large corporate enterprise networks.
"We're setting the stage for others to follow," said Gail Daniels, vice president of worldwide marketing at Tivoli. "We think this sets us apart."
The hot new phrase in management software is "service levels," a term used to explain management applications that are closely tied into a variety of decision support, problem resolution, and automation tools to offer an end-to-end view of network and system problems. For example, PC problems with "push"-style technologies such as PointCast could be correlated to slow response times on a particular segment of a corporate network.
Integration of all of these functions also provides predictive capabilities that allow administrators to nip issues in the bud before they become unmanageable.
"These are the things that are really driving the future," Daniels noted.
Tivoli is locked in a heated battle with CA for dominance in the lucrative enterprise management software market. HP also has stepped up its focus in recent months, adding a bevy of functionality to OpenView.
The Software Artistry package, called SA-expertise, will be integrated into the base TME 10 framework, but the tools also will continue to be offered as standalone products for a wide variety of operating systems. The Indianapolis, Indiana-based firm will become a unit within Tivoli.