Co-Founder of Remedy Inc.
CTO for the Service Management Business Unit at BMC
Product Architect for Remedy Applications
Check out more articles and details about Doug Mueller here
I have got a rare chance to chat with Doug Mueller on last Saturday at the Virtual Conference 2009 event conducted by BMC, which is by the way mind blowing and really useful in many ways.
Doug is a very humble man and talks to the great lengths of time explaining the most complex things in simple and plain language which is not a rare quality for a Jedi master :)
He is real good with Remedy platform (he wrote it, remember!) and has high hopes for the platform to takeoff in new directions in the next couple of years and explained how BMC is investing huge amounts in to development of Remedy as a platform than just ITSM apps.
There are two parts in this interview series, part is here and look out for part in couple of days.
Here is the transcript of the interview part 1:
Venkat Maddala: Hi Doug, recently I came up with a timeline of all ARSystem releases from version1 to 7.5 in a time line fashion, most people liked it. But people are really intrested in knowing the origins of Remedy and how you and Larry came up wit the idea and what are the problems faced in the initial days . (If you haven’t seen the interactive Remedy timeline yet, check it out here)
Doug Mueller: Well, things started with the idea of forming a company to pursue System and Network Management. We didn’t have a specific product in mind when we started the company.
Venkat Maddala: So at what point that you have decided to build a platform
Doug Mueller: The first thing we did was sit down and write down every product idea we could think of and each of us ranked it from 1 to 5 for each product. Larry from a business, Dave from a marketing, and myself from a technical perspective. We put the lists together, added the numbers up and ranked the resulting product idea list. We took each idea and started looking at it.
Idea #1 lasted about 4 days before we decided it just wasn’t feasible.
Idea #2 lasted about 2 hours.
Idea #3 was a trouble ticketing product for network management. This one held together.
We took a look at it and thought what we would like to have in a solution that did this — we all had network and system management backgrounds.
Venkat Maddala: I believe this is the first trouble ticketing tool in the industry at that time
Doug Mueller: Yes, it was the first trouble ticketing system out there. We looked at bug tracking systems, we looked at a lot of other things. We decided we wanted something that users could get in the middle of and adjust the workflow and logic.
One of the things we looked at was a product at Xerox that they used in house (Larry worked at Xerox for a while). It was actually called Action Request System — this is where the name came from, we got permission from Xerox to use it for our product. It had some interesting ideas that we incorporated.
Venkat Maddala: Xerox? Havent they lost GUI and Mouse to Apple and MS, and they missed out on the next best thing
Doug Mueller: Yes, another example of Xerox not picking up on things. We offered to buy the name and they gave it to us (even did a trademark search for us to find out it was OK). They could have made millions on the offer if they had accepted.
Venkat Maddala: Bad luck haunts Xeros in software industry (Xerox lost Computer race by giving GUI to Apple and ARSystem to Remedy)
Doug Mueller: So, a platform was the idea from the beginning. In fact, that is what we really produced for the first release — a platform. The applications came along later. After release, we found that folks were using the system for help desk and that was a bigger market opportunity than trouble ticketing so we followed the market and trouble ticketing became help desk so the market did the same thing we did and moved to help desk. (and thus the birth of ITSM)
Venkat Maddala: Can you tell us more about how the platform was developed in the early days
Doug Mueller: Development during the first year was really two engineers, myself and a gentleman named Mike Gannon. We developed on Solaris. The database was Sysbase. The UI was OpenLook. That was the first release in Dec 1991. We then added Oracle support and HPUX support early in 1992. Then other DBs and other platforms over the next two years. Windows client development started in mid 1992 with the first release in early 1993 I think.
Venkat Maddala: What about actions in AL and Filters? how are they started? does customers requested or you came up with all the actions
Doug Mueller: We ALWAYS were active with customers (we had 4 we worked with from the beginning of implementation). Specific actions were a combination of our ideas and requests for capabilities from customers. The first release had only filters with about 5 actions. Active links were added in the late 1992 timeframe. Various actions have been added over time.
Venkat Maddala: Change of topic, any regrets over Peregrine handling things with Remedy when it had control in 2001, and anything to share about the whole experience with that company.
Doug Mueller: The entire experience with Peregrine is one big regret. I was not in favor of the acquisition (but from a control perspective not that I knew about the business problems). The entire experience was terrible. They tried to kill the product. They tried to force customers to convert. And yet, at the same time, while saying negative things about the technology and product, they took ideas from it and some of the players have taken models and architectures and put them in use in later companies. We refer to the Peregrine times as “the dark times”. Not fun or pleasant memories.
Venkat Maddala: Isn’t the product Service-Now was founded by Peregrine CTO? Do you feel they have copied from Remedy?
Doug Mueller: Unfortunately, I cannot safely answer this question. But I can just suggest that you look at the model and approach and concepts and make your own judgement…
Venkat Maddala: I understand that, I have seen the Service Now product and felt they have better UI than remedy 7.1, but 7.5 changed that opinion also
Doug Mueller: Yes, they came later and just used all web stuff (no legacy issues with existing customers) so were able to take a lead there. 7.5 went a long way and you will find that the gap is essentially closed completely by the next release. And, from the platform and capability perspective, we totally blow them away.
Venkat Maddala: But the SaaS approcah is working for some of the clients and in general companies prefer not to have issues with maintainence and development of applications. Do you see BMC coming up with SaaS service directly but not from other vendors
Doug Mueller: SaaS is a delivery model. AR and the apps can work in that model. There are a couple of customers going through partners who are providing a SaaS offering of ITSM. BMC is working on this topic and I would expect you to see some news in the not to distant future on this topic from BMC. How is that for being cryptic?
Venkat Maddala: Nice one, I got u.
Venkat Maddala: I have attended webinar on Aeroprise for BMC, about mobilizing ITSM, do you see that next client tools for ITSM will be specifically built for this cause?
Doug Mueller: No, the ITSM suite will focus on the web client as delivery. The Aeroprise solution — which BMC resells as a BMC product — will be the mobile solution going forward.
Venkat Maddala: I hear about BMC developing app for iPhone, any news on that?
Doug Mueller: Unfortunately, I have to step out of my office for a bit and need to run. I will be back online for sure in a bit over 2 hours and likely before then. Feel free to contact me when I return if you want to continue this conversation.
That’s it for the part 1 in the series check out tomorrow for the second part to find out more interesting information about future of Remedy and about iPhone too. Part 2 will be published tomorrow or over the weekend.
Did anyone heard about Remedy 8.0 features list? Come back later for more info on this…….