But internally we'll refer to it that way sometimes, because what we're really talking about is full lifecycle management for services, where if it works right it turns into a management link, a hub and everything that plugs into it gets commoditized. If you can get an Ethernet cable into the thing, we can discover it, and we don't care what it is, we can manage it. You could swap out one vendor and plug in another. So you really begin to disaggregate the stacks of IT, which is the exact opposite of what HP and IBM want to do. They basically need those stacks.
Behnia: I think where we are on that journey really depends on the maturity of the individual enterprises. Different enterprises are at different maturity steps. One of the things that we did in the design of our architecture is to make sure that customers could deploy this as they go. So that we're not overshooting their capabilities or their needs. And this is one of the big differentiators for us, and where the analogy for ERP breaks. Because many of the ERP solutions were very monolithic.
Beauchamp: If you hire us to do it, we can get you a long way to it right now. It's not as cookie-cutter as it needs to be. But we're doing it for customers now on a regular basis. Every quarter we're taking the rough edges off -- where this product and this product connect. It's just in the productization of the whole thing. We still have to go in with experts and help you configure it and get it set up and interview you. And it's still got a services element that's a little rich.
Acquisitions and partnerships
You've described the BladeLogic deal as a "transitional" event for the company. Did it really turn out that way?
Beauchamp: Absolutely. When you take Blade and you add it to our network configuration automation product, and you add it to our run book automation product, you have the core of the automation suite. One of our competitors says they're all about cloud, but they have no automation tool. They've got all sorts of management widgets, but you can't provision a cloud. Without BladeLogic, we would not have been able to provision clouds. We would not have had the relationship with Cisco. We would not have been involved in as strategic a relationship as we have with Dell. We wouldn't be as involved as we are now with Accenture and Capgemini and CSC and Wipro and most of the global outsourcers and systems integrators.
How do these partnerships go beyond the usual marketing slogans -- are they having a material impact on the bottom line?
Beauchamp: It depends which ones. We won an order last December, one of the biggest orders in our history. Accenture was very involved in that deal. They are actually doing the implementation of our software. The two of us worked together on that deal. Accenture views us very importantly, as their management partner in many cases. You can't say it was just the direct sell through that was material. It was the influence and the relationship. You can tell a similar story around CSC and about many of the Asian outsourcers and systems integrators.
What can you tell us about the Cisco deal? What are you seeing through your work with Cisco? Are they successfully moving the Unified Computing System (UCS) product into organizations?