In large IT shops, automating the management of hundreds of ongoing development projects to ensure they meet objectives and align with business goals has received scant attention. But that is beginning to change as vendors such as Mercury Interactive Corp. ramp up their offerings under the banner of IT governance.
Last week, Mercury Interactive, of Sunnyvale, Calif., launched the latest release of its Portfolio Management tool along with the new Mercury Portfolio Management Fast Start professional services offering. Both offerings are available now.
Mercury Portfolio Management, technology acquired in last summers purchase of Kintana Inc., is designed to help align IT development projects with business objectives, cut IT waste and give large enterprises the biggest bang for their IT dollars.
Release 5.5 incorporates a variety of new features, including enhanced project score cards, metrics and ratings, to better align project priorities with business objectives. "It gives a clear place to start with the right metrics," said Alex Lobba, Mercury Interactives vice president of product management for IT governance.
The new release also allows line-of-business managers and IT departments to pose a variety of "what-if" scenarios to assess the impact of different choices and take the guesswork out of portfolio mix decisions. It allows a more apples-to-apples comparison of different projects by guiding the collection of cost data, resources required and the process of determining the potential impact on an organization.
Mercury Interactive also improved the flexibility of the user interface with more configuration options and enhanced dashboards that allow IT and business managers to track progress, issues and project results.
The new Fast Start services offering provides training on the tool for 15 portfolio managers and analysts, and it includes data entry for the top 50 to 75 projects to give "a quick read of where they stand," said Lobba.
One user working with the Fast Start program found it validated assumptions made on "gut feel," said Bob Moore, vice president of IT at Paetec Communications Inc., in Rochester, N.Y. "It substantiated what our gut feel was and made it easier to report back to senior management. Now we can have a better plan," Moore said.