What is most valuable?
With so many cool features available in BMC's own applications like ITSM, it's easy to overlook the platform features that enable them. ARS really shines when it's workflow directly supports critical business processes. And it's this workflow - how easily its translated from business process, how quickly it can be developed, and how fast it can be deployed and used - that I consider it's most valuable feature to the business. It has all of the other features you'd expect in a robust enterprise platform (architectural scalability, flexibility to adapt to Windows/Unix shops, tons of UI widgets, a variety of DB options, cloud offerings, etc.) but it's workflow engine is what makes it a great platform for pretty much any business need.
How has it helped my organization?
As a platform it provides a way to rapidly develop and deploy a number of small, but important applications. One example of this is how call center quality is evaluated and measured - we use Remedy to track, grade, and ultimately development improvements to the processes, ultimately benefiting the customer.
What needs improvement?
There are two areas where I think improvements could be made; web support of custom applications and upgrades. BMC provides a couple of modern web interfaces with SmartIT and MyIT, but these are limited to fronting their own (ITSM) applications. Having a modern web layer for custom applications running on the ARS platform would help a lot (indeed there are several very large technology companies who do this for themselves, but having a BMC solution would simplify the DevOps process and associated infrastructure). Upgrading to a new ARS version in a complex environment remains a challenge. It's not that any one part is hard (and BMC has the ability to offer a zero-down-time option), but it's often a manual, long, and time-consuming process. Managing multiple tasks and handling them as part of the installation would simplify things).
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using the Remedy Action Request System (ARS) platform by BMC Software, running 100% custom applications (not ITSM). The larger, primary system is running ARS v8.1 and we're in the process of upgrading to ARS v9.1. There's also a smaller system running an older version that's being phased out.
Personally, I've been developing business solutions with the ARS platform for over 20 years. The last couple of environments I've been working have some applications over 10 years old.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
We had no issues deploying it.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There have been no issues with its stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
BMC has done a good job of keeping ahead of enterprise growth and continues to offer new features that make administration, scaling, and performance tuning all easier to manage.
How are customer service and technical support?
Fair/Good - In environments as complex as ours, the basic needs are pretty much taken care-of in-house. The issues we generally face are complex and deep within the technology, and these always take a bit of time to bring the vendor up to speed. (To be fair, BMC offers higher support tiers, providing a more bespoke support experience, but I haven't had the opportunity to experience this tier.)
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
The platform was in place prior to my arrival.
What was our ROI?
That's more of a question for leadership, but I think that it needs to be compared against custom platforms and evaluated from a total-cost of ownership perspective. There's hard evidence that, while licensing sounds expensive, having the development staff focus on core business process automation rather than low-level platform development/maintenance is a worthwhile trade-off and is a bigger benefit to the business (assuming you treat the AR System platform as such).
What other advice do I have?
Pretty darn good, but nothing's perfect. Know your business, their processes, and how they use other tools - seriously. "Implementation" often is interpreted as focusing on just a software installation, like running setup.exe and watching the blue status bar make it's way to 100%. Frankly the software install is so well defined that it should be automated - and it typically only represents 20-30% of an overall deployment. 80% of an implementation should be spent analyzing, configuring, and testing the various configurations and integrations required by your unique business. Don't forget the training and knowledge transfer! Vendor teams can help (a lot) in guiding you through this, but they don't know your business like you and your customers.
Make sure you think about, and understand the differences between what BMC calls the brand, "Remedy", their application suite, " Remedy IT Service Management", and the platform, "AR System". Calling something "Remedy" without this understanding leads to a lot of confusion.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Mar 23 2016