IBM Tries to Take More Market Share from Oracle, BMC, and CA

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IBM Tries to Take More Market Share from Oracle, BMC, and CA
M. Reed - September 22, 2000

Event Summary

IBM has announced a four-year, $200 million investment to make it more cost effective and easier for companies to manage data on IBM S/390 enterprise servers. They will attempt to compete more effectively with Computer Associates (which acquired Platinum Technology and Sterling Software), BMC, and Oracle in the lucrative database tools market. These types of tools are indispensable to database administrators and system administrators to ensure that performance and uptime are maximized.

According to the vendor, IBM's database toolset, "available at half the price of competitive offerings in most cases, provides customers with maintenance capabilities that improve the functionality of e-business applications."

Janet Perna, general manager, IBM Data Management Solutions, said "The industry as a whole is facing escalating costs in systems deployment and a shortage of skills. IBM's data management tools address this concern by helping database administrators improve productivity and enhance system performance and resource utilization."

IBM has stated that it will deliver more than 35 tools for DB2 and Information Management Systems for OS/390 environments to help customers manage large volumes of data inherent to any e-business. The four areas of focus include:

  • Database Administration

  • Performance Management

  • Recovery and replication management (the ability to provide 24x7 support)

  • Application management (the ability to craft application connections to the database)

Market Impact

Given that Computer Associates has purchased Platinum Technology and Sterling Software, and has therefore "collapsed" the market for database tools, leaving only BMC and Compuware as major competitors in the space, this area should be ripe for IBM. They have the necessary research and development muscle, especially when it is concentrated on its own mainframe platforms.

We believe that IBM will be successful in this initiative, considering their extensive customer base, huge sales force, and their ability to cut deals on pricing with their larger customers. However, a four-year timeline will make it difficult for them to execute with a proper time-to-market. Most of the products they are competing with have been in use for many years, so dislodging the other vendor's products from the current customers will take a lot of effort.

User Recommendations

Most firms with S/390 systems most likely already have database and systems management software in place already. Customers should evaluate carefully whether IBM is bringing any new distinctive competency to the table, even if pricing is favorable. It should be remembered that the database and system administrators of the mainframe will have to be retrained on the new software, existing purchase and maintenance agreements may have to be abandoned at the customer's cost, and many features may not be available until much later in the four-year timeline outlined by IBM. If chosen, the contract should be carefully crafted to ensure that required features are supplied in the necessary timeline for the company.

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