BMC Acquires Mainframe Toolmaker Compuware

Enterprise software and services company BMC finalized its acquisition this week of mainframe application development tools provider Compuware. The deal, which was announced in early March, brings together BMC's Automated Mainframe Intelligence (AMI) offering and Compuware's Topaz suite, ISPW technology, and classic product portfolios to modernize mainframe environments, the companies said.

"This move should allow BMC to spread the word that modern tools matter for the mainframe engineer,” Forrester Research analysts wrote in a blog post.

Spreading that particular message has been the mission of the Detroit-based Compuware since it launched its "mainframe renaissance" back in 2016, two years after Chris O'Malley began serving as president and CEO.

"We've been working our tails off for five and a half years to revitalize the future of the mainframe platform," O'Malley told ADTmag, "and we've made massive progress. July 1 will mark the 23rd consecutive quarter we've brought out new capabilities. We were there when the early adopters began breaking down these mainframe silos and adopting agile and DevOps. Things are massively different for mainframe developers today, and as more and more responsibility falls on their shoulders, there's a real need for the combination of BMC and Compuware to help solve some hard problems and take the next steps in agile and DevOps."

The acquisition was, in fact, a natural step for two companies that have been working together for years, O'Malley said, and a "necessary accelerant" for the "mainstreaming of the mainframe."

"There's no overlap between the two companies," he said, "other than the fact that we're both mainframe vendors. Our principal focus has always been on the development tools space, and they're really strong in database tools. We're totally complimentary."

BMC certainly agrees. "With market needs disrupting business models more rapidly than ever before, it's the ideal time to bring Compuware to our portfolio and help our customers embrace agile and DevOps practices for the modern mainframe," said Bill Miller, president of the ZSolutions group at BMC, in a statement. Compuware is now a part of the BMC ZSolutions organization.

In addition to its product portfolio, Compuware brings an accelerated feature release cadence to BMC, a trend that has been spreading throughout the software industry. The organization will continue releasing new capabilities every quarter, O'Malley said.

"Feature velocity is one of those things that has changed significantly in the mainframe world," he said. "We're in the process of rewriting the future of the mainframe, fast, and we will be working with BMC, side-by-side, as one culture, to continue doing that."

Fifty percent of respondents to Forrester's "Analytics Global Business Technographics Infrastructure Survey, 2019," said they plan to grow their use of the mainframe over the next two years; 93 percent of respondents in the "2019 BMC Mainframe Survey" said they believe in the long-term and new workload strength of the platform.

"When I started at Compuware, there was a dearth of innovation on the mainframe," O'Malley added. "CIOs viewed it as somebody else's problem. There were three degrees of separation between them and the platform. It was not part of the future; it was part of the past. But that attitude is definitely in the rear-view mirror. I'm proud of our people and what we've achieved -- and the fact that we did it all from Detroit, which they said we couldn't do."

This acquisition was one of the largest in BMC's history, the company said, and its third acquisition in less than two years.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].