RealTime IT News

Mercury Offers New Project Options to CIOs

Officials at business technology optimization (BTO) software maker Mercury Interactive announced Monday an upgrade to its Portfolio Management offering, in a bid to give CIOs more options when tracking IT projects.

Portfolio Management 5.5 expands on a product first introduced last June when the Sunnyvale, Calif., acquired IT governance software vendor Kintana. The software tracks, manages and gives IT managers a top-down view of projects within the company.

The software component is one of eight packages bundled in the IT Governance Center, a key element in the company's BTO strategy that covers IT projects from conception to completion.

Sue Barsamian, Mercury vice president of strategic marketing, said company executives are realizing the difficulties in using Excel spreadsheets in order to manage elaborate software projects.

"We find that companies just don't have a handle on what their project portfolio is and where they're spending time and money," she told internetnews.com.

The enhancements boil down into two areas: monitoring IT projects and providing best-practices examples for out-of-the-box software installs.

To increase the effectiveness of its software monitoring, Mercury developers enhanced project dashboards, scorecards, metrics and ratings to expand the flexibility of the program. With Portfolio Management 5.5, IT departments can parse projects by expense, resources or importance, giving managers the ability to check on the status of projects using the metric they find most effective.

Alex Lobba, Mercury's vice president of product management for IT governance, said using such metrics can help not just within the IT department, but throughout the enterprise. "It's not just the savings of hard dollars, it's also the way of doing business between IT and the lines of business themselves," he said. "Because now you have a true partnership, there is visibility across the board, and (IT managers) can sit with his CFO and CIO across the table looking at a real-time dashboard and make decisions on priorities."

To woo new customers, Mercury also included best practices from other customers to speed up integration of the software within the company, and supplying "what if" scenarios to see how other companies handled similar projects.

The company also introduced the Fast Start Program for Portfolio Management 5.5, which gives new customers a portfolio view of the top projects within the company in two weeks. What makes the software unique, said Zeus Kerrevala, vice president of enterprise infrastructure research at the Yankee Group, is the fact Fast Start is geared for IT departments with existing projects.

"Mercury is the only one that's taken, through the Kintana acquisition that has a product that focuses on projects underway as well as new projects," he told internetnews.com. "It's Fast Start program is fairly unique, the time it takes to install IT governance software can be pretty daunting, but it's got a relatively low price point and gives companies very little excuse not to do it."