CA Aims to Help Improve IT Governance

The company will introduce a major new release of its Clarity project and portfolio management software, which will include four new modules and 150 individual enhancements.

CA on Oct. 9 will make its biggest bid yet to help IT customers get more of their budgets under control when it introduces a major new release of its Clarity project and portfolio management software.

Clarity 8, in development since before CA acquired the software with its Niku acquisition in 2005, includes four new modules and 150 individual enhancements aimed at helping customers improve IT governance.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read more about CAs Niku acquisition, click here.

Among the four new modules is the Clarity Risk and Controls Manager, which is designed to help IT effectively manage risk and compliance initiatives such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA and others.

It is a solutions pack that includes software, a Cobit and Unified Compliance Project framework, and professional services from CA or from partner PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The other modules include the Clarity IT Portfolio Manager, Clarity IT Financial Manager and the Clarity Business Relationship Manager.

Taken together, they expand the range of IT functions that can be managed like a development project, according to David Hurwitz, vice president of marketing for CAs business service optimization unit in Redwood City, Calif.

Project and Portfolio Management is necessary but insufficient for IT governance because governing just the project portfolio only gets you to 20 or 30 percent of your total IT budget, he said.

Clarity 8 also capitalizes on the synergies that exist between itself and CAs existing application lifecycle and IT Service Management product lines, according to Daniel Stang, principal research analyst for PPM applications at Gartner in Stamford, Conn.

"What were seeing is three technologies that ultimately could continue to converge over time. We expect to see touchpoints, further overlaps and handoffs between [all three technologies].

"PPM brings resourcing, project management, allocation of capital and funds to the work that IT does, justification of IT work back to business initiatives, more effective project management and execution, and more accurate planning," he said.

Clarity 8, considered one of a handful of market leaders, competes with PPM offerings from Planview, Compuware, IBM, Primavera and HPs Mercury Interactive acquisition.

The new Clarity IP Portfolio Manager is an IT service portfolio management module that provides the CIO with a dashboard showing the full cost of each business service.

It combines assets, applications, people, projects and support into a single view to facilitate a comparison of IT investments.

The Clarity IT Financial Manager module manages IT expenditures, charge-backs and cost recovery.

"There is a lot of room for improvement with chargebacks. IT hasnt had systems to do this in a defensible way. Were stepping into that breach," said Hurwitz.

The Clarity Business Relationship Manager addresses a new trend to embed business-savvy IT personnel within business units to act as a liaison to IT, according to Hurwitz.

"Its about how do business relationship managers convey to executive-level customers what IT is delivering, what it costs them, what projects are coming and which IT performance metrics are most relevant to them," said Hurwitz. Such information is made available to business executives via a portal.

CA will also introduce a fixed-price starter service to help customers quickly implement the software. It is called "30 Days to Clarity."

Clarity 8 is due by the end of the month.

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