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Futurum Live! From the Show Floor with BMC’s April Hickel at SHARE Dallas 2022
by Steven Dickens | March 29, 2022

Futurum Research Senior Analyst and VP of Sales Steven Dickens is joined by April Hickel, VP of Strategy for BMC. Their conversation centers on her role with BMC, the results of their latest client survey, and the company’s focus on three major themes: Security, application development, and how to increase the speed and quality of software that connects to or touches the mainframe.

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Transcript:

Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steven Dickens and we’re coming to you live from the show floor, at SHARE in Dallas. I’m joined today by April Hickel. April, thanks for joining us.

April Hickel: Well, thanks you for having me, Steven.

Steven Dickens: It’s great to be back at a live show, I think. You can really feel the buzz on the show floor down there. It’s really good. What is this? A two and a half year hiatus with us having to go virtual on chair. It’s great to be back.

April Hickel: It is great to be back and I’m amazed at the energy and how many people are here, and personal attendance. And I understand, another multiple hundred online.

Steven Dickens: Fantastic. Fantastic. So April, let’s tell our watchers and our listeners a little bit about what you do for BMC.

April Hickel: So Steven, I have responsibility for our strategy, for our ISOP business unit, which is what we call intellegency optimization transformation. And so that involves working with customers, working with analysts, talking to the market, and really managing our software portfolio.

Steven Dickens: So lots of BMC sessions, when I looked at the agenda. Tell us a little bit about what BMC’s saying at the show. What are the big themes that you are seeing? Give us an overview.

April Hickel: Sure. So we really focus on three major themes. The first one is security, and that ties back to what we understand from clients to be the number one priority and mainframes right now. So our survey, which had over 1300 respondents, that really bubbled to the top.

And I think, if you look around the world, cybercrime is increasing and people are worried about it. So we have a lot of expertise in security, both on the software side and on the services, to help people protect themselves from threats. So, that’s one thing we’ve been talking a lot about at the show.

Another other thing we’re talking a lot about at the show, and there’s lots of sessions from customers and vendors around this is, around application development and really how do you increase the speed and the quality of software that connects to, or touches the mainframe? So DevOps and application development. Then the third theme that we site is just continuation of evolution of operations. So how are people managing the health and wellbeing of the mainframe in today’s world?

Steven Dickens: Well, we spent some time with Mark Wilson earlier from BMC. He was telling us about some of the threat landscape. Fantastic perspective. What are you seeing as you engage with customers around some of the threats and how that’s changed maybe over the last couple of years?

April Hickel: Well, I think one of the things that we continue to see is people are a little bit in denial about security on the mainframe, and it’s security through obscurity, or people think of security as being access control, and RACF, Top Secret, ACF2. And those are really sophisticated practices people have in place, but those aren’t really where the threats we see are. The threats are emerging around ransomware, as an example. And how do you protect your data? And ransomware, cyber criminals are organized and efficient, and that’s really difficult to think about. We’re seeing people interested in zero trust framework. So how do I assume that the threat is already inside, rather than trying to do sort of a mote approach, like in the past. I would say, those are two examples of what we see.

Steven Dickens: One of the other areas you mentioned was mainframe. I’ll call it mainframe modernization, lots of buzz in the industry about that now. What are you seeing as the dynamics coming from the market? What are customers saying to you in that space?

April Hickel: Well, I would say we see a lot of interest in how do I respond to the drive to, more software faster? And in fact, I just sat in a session where a client was talking about, it was really the pressure from outside the mainframe that was causing the need to transform. So the cloud group, the mobile group, people who are doing applications really quickly. And then when they come to the mainframe team and the answer is, look, it’s going to take us four months to code that. And it’s going to take us four months to test it. And then take us another four months to recode where we failed the test. That just isn’t going to fly anymore. Digital services are coming, everybody’s differentiating and competing based on the experiences they can deliver. And you can’t have the mainframe be slow or no, in those cases. So people are saying, how do we do it different, but while we are maintaining the integrity, the stability of the system that we’ve had for years?

Steven Dickens: I think that’s the key point. I think it’s how do you keep on one hand the security, reliability, availability of the platform, but enhance the agility and get the platform to be more, a key constituent of a digital transformation journey. How do you get it to be more open and accessible, and have that application development happen at speed? So what are you most excited about, and looking forward to, as we start to go through the conference? Is there any particular sessions or things that you are starting to think about?

April Hickel: Well, I’m really excited about all the client sessions. So the practical application. SHARE is a great place where you can come and learn, and hear not just from vendors or from providers, but you can learn from practitioners where, how they’re creating a CICD pipeline, what tech stacks they’re using in trying to do that. So what I’m most excited about. And then frankly, I’m very excited that it’s in person, and it’s not again on a virtual meeting.

Steven Dickens: Yeah. We get a chance to hang out like this. We get the chance talk in person. We may even get chance to grab a beer later.

April Hickel: Maybe.

Steven Dickens: Well April, thank you for joining us. Great to hear the BMC perspective, lots going on the space. Thank you for joining us for this episode of, Live from the Show Floor, live from Dallas. We’ll see you next time. Thank you very much.

 

About the Author

Steven Dickens is Vice President of Sales and Business Development and Senior Analyst at Futurum Research. Operating at the crossroads of technology and disruption, Steven engages with the world’s largest technology brands exploring new operating models and how they drive innovation and competitive edge for the enterprise.  Read Full Bio.