RealTime IT News

Mercury Draws Up Optimization Blueprint

Going all or nothing, Mercury Interactive Corp. executives earlier this week rolled out its business technology optimization (BTO) product suite.

The announcement signals the company's new focus and direction on business application optimization, a buzzword already long-familiar in the industry and one software companies are looking at to drive software sales.

Slowly, best-of-breed software solutions are being replaced by suites that integrate end-to-end along the information chain within corporations. Mercury officials said the future direction of the company would center around its "optimization centers," four business components addressing different areas of the enterprise.

Optimization, in this case, deals with IT projects as well as integration. According to Chris Lochhead, Mercury Interactive's chief marketing officer, keeping costs and time spent on a project mean just as much as integration.

"Tech spending is about one-half of capital spending, so there's been a revolution to optimize IT," Lochhead said. "The defining part is finding areas that bring ROI faster."

He points to figures that show there's a lot of work to be done in the optimization/integration arena. Ninety percent of IT projects run late, he said, 50 percent are over budget and 50 percent of the projects that are completed don't cover the requirement needs of the project.

The new BTO approach, according to company officials, is to bring disparate IT functions under one umbrella, driving down costs while improving the overall efficiency of the IT department.

Enter the four components helping make up the BTO: Quality Center, Performance Center, Business Availability Center and IT Governance Center. Each is a separate component that can address pressing needs within the IT department, while remaining compatible with the others for future growth. Depending on the product, Lochhead said the software starts around $20,000.

"We're not forcing our customers to eat the elephant in one bite," Lochhead said. "They can buy into it in small bites."

  • The Governance Center ties in resource, demand, project and portfolio management into one area and is a product that came as a result of its acquisit ion of Kintana earlier this year.
  • Quality Center is a software set to ensure the quality of the project, ranging from business processes testing to functional tests.
  • Performance Center makes sure the nuts-and-bolts, as well as performance, of the project are met. They include load testing, application diagnostics and capacity planning.
  • Customer assessments, end-user and service-level management make up part of the Business Availability Center, a software suite of "best practices" to run on projects already in the field.

"We still think there's a lot of work to do in the optimization centers," Lochhead said. "With BTO, we can get that figure of 90 percent of projects being late down to 40 percent. We want to get that down to five or 10 percent."