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“If a business is not digital, it’s dying”: BMC’s APAC president

Zafirah Salim | Dec. 15, 2014
In this interview, Gavin Selkirk, Regional President, Asia Pacific of BMC Software, explains the rationale behind its new "Living IT" initiative and shares insights on the company's standing on digital transformation, including BMC's future plans, following the company's recent privatisation.

Since BMC's privatisation last year, how has the company sought to address digital and corporate transformation? Is the company taking on any new approaches?

In terms of corporate transformation, we increased our investment in research and development by US$120 million this year, moved from a licensing model to a more cloud-friendly subscription model and appointed leaders across all portfolios to spearhead innovation.

We also took the opportunity to digitally transform ourselves, embracing mobility. We recently flew some of our internal IT guys to lead workshop sessions with customers. Our IT people optimise usage of our products and solutions better than anyone because they understand it so intimately. Feedback from the customer organisations involved was tremendously positive because our IT guys were the perfect BMC ambassadors and were eager to part with their know-how.

BMC is said to be a firm believer in digital transformation. What do you think are some key challenges enterprises face in adapting to digital transformation?

It is clear that the rapid rate of digitisation is introducing new kinds of technology to the workplace at an astonishing pace. Some of these new technologies, coupled with rapidly evolving business models and working practices, are resulting in a direct impact on enterprises. Many see this as a chance for digital transformation but are constrained by their legacy IT.

Enterprises need to manage what amounted to "bimodal" IT, where they innovate at the edges but still operate core legacy systems. The challenge is for the business to be able to industrialise the back end and make it scale, and this is an issue that affects several developed enterprises, which have a stronger reliance on hardware.

There are some mobile-first countries that are not trained in legacy thinking about mobility. We see some disruptive changes in North America and Europe that are not happening in Asia as quickly, but they will. Disruption is being caused by the consumerisation of IT and the impact of technology on the way governments deliver services to citizens. More thought has to go into deciding on an IT solution to serve the needs of a mobile world.

IT has played a much bigger role over the last decade, because it is increasingly integral to a business, so the roles and responsibilities of CIOs today have expanded. CEOs and other business department heads are also paying more attention to IT and have a say in any IT change. Long-serving staff members in some countries may not be as open to change, resulting in integration challenges.

How would you describe BMC's business landscape in the Asia Pacific region, and can you share and explain the company's business strategy in Asia?

 

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