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How BigFix Administrators Need to Prepare for the Divestiture

IBM is divesting BigFix, Domino, Notes, and other software lines to HCL. It’s not a reason to jump ship, but do a muster drill to be safe.

Tom Mulvehill of IBM Security recently briefed Info-Tech Research Group on BigFix’s product roadmap and its part of the larger divestiture to HCL Technologies. This divestiture is occurring from December 2017 through mid-2019. Meanwhile, IBM and HCL have mutually agreed on a BigFix product roadmap. IBM will focus on IBM MaaS360 for endpoint management post-BigFix divestiture.

Our Take

IBM and HCL are striving to make this transition smooth, but there will still be turbulence. The cross-over period will be very helpful for the product roadmap, development teams, and technical support teams.

One can expect trouble with the following items:

  • Legal and regulatory constraints: since HCL is based in India, CFIUS is involved.
  • Partner support for BigFix: IBM and HCL have not publicly provided guidance to IBM partners that currently support BigFix.
  • BigFix technical support: this team is being transplanted into HCL, and the traditional staffing concerns with any merger and acquisition apply.

You should evaluate alternatives to BigFix if one of the following applies to you:

  • You rely on an IBM partner for product upgrades or technical expertise;
  • You make good use of IBM’s technical support services for BigFix;
  • Your timeline for BigFix implementation is within the next two years; or
  • Your BigFix renewal is approaching in the next two years.

Regardless, you need to start documenting your BigFix knowledge. Document common processes and procedures (e.g. moves, additions, changes, and deletes), configuration settings, and common errors. This information will help beyond any RFIs you draw up: it will help you navigate the changes to technical services and to the partner-base.

This divestiture shouldn’t be the end of BigFix. Be safe, though, and investigate what a migration to a new management tool would look like.


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