Two potentially fatal errors threaten any attempt to introduce portfolio management into an enterprise IT environment.
The first is the distortion that results from imposing a single framework for the description, definition and analysis of all IT efforts, even though some of that work is utterly routine while other efforts are wildly speculative. The second is the instant obsolescence, quickly followed by contemptuous dismissal, of measurements and analyses that dont stay coupled in near-real-time to the changing situation. Both these risks are recognized and forestalled by Artemis International Solutions Corp.s Artemis 7.
Of the three tools reviewed in this package, Artemis 7, released in September, takes the most general approach. eWEEK Labs reviewed the Information Technology Management configuration of a product that is also offered in packaged configurations for capital programs management, fleet and asset management, general cost budgeting and oversight, top-level enterprise governance and risk management, and other identifiable clusters of need for systematic identification and analysis of assets and opportunities.
We consider it an important strength that Artemis can offer a common analytic workbench to enterprise managers in other functions as well as IT, improving the likelihood that both technical and general managers can wind up speaking the same language.
The company also has offices in almost every country that we consider an important developing center of IT activity, and this might make Artemis an attractive option for managers who are trying to keep outsourced activities under the same management umbrella as their in-house efforts.
Managers may fear that the Artemis software is the camels nose that gives the companys corps of consultants a way to get into the enterprise tent, but consulting support for the product is delivered in the form of fixed-price workshops rather than on a running-clock contract. The products generality is tamed, moreover, by a modular architecture that invites tailoring to current needs and adaptation to new situations.
A comprehensive process improvement tool thats packaged for many application domains, Artemis International Solutions Artemis 7 can be deployed in packaged configurations for IT operations or for other tasks such as capital asset management. The package provides good tools for examining the effects of alternative strategies.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
The company quotes a typical configuration for five portfolio managers, 20 investment/project managers and 300 resources in the range of $110,000 to $130,000, including Web-based collaboration tools.
During tests, we found it comfortable to work with the Artemis model of moving a proposal through various stages, and we especially liked the products intuitive tools for visually manipulating assumptions to investigate portfolio effects. We also appreciated the products uniform attention to uncertainty and change at every point of the process.
We used the Web-based interface to an Artemis testbed installation that the company made available for our use, forgoing the chance to evaluate installation difficulty in return for the assurance that the product was correctly configured for our tests. We did go through the process that Artemis normally follows to document a clients planned deployment environment and found the companys procedures clear and thorough.
Artemis 7 is specified for use with Windows-based clients, but we were pleased to see that Artemis leaves infrastructure choices up to the buyer. The products server-side components run on Windows or Solaris with Oracle Corp. or Microsoft Corp. databases and with Web servers from Microsoft, BEA Systems Inc. and IBM. We did our Web-based testing under Mozilla 1.5, and we were especially pleased to find a Web interface that does not specifically require Microsofts Internet Explorer (although the latter can also be used).