CA Aims to Help Improve IT Governance - 2

Company announces release of Clarity 8

CA on Oct. 9 made its biggest bid yet to help IT customers get their budgets under control when it introduced a major upgrade of its Clarity project portfolio management software.

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

Among the four modules is Clarity Risk and Controls Manager, designed to help IT customers effectively manage risk and compliance initiatives such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and others. This module 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 are Clarity IT Portfolio Manager, Clarity IT Financial Manager and Clarity Business Relationship Manager.

Taken together, the modules 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 portfolio management, or PPM, is necessary but insufficient for IT governance because governing just the project portfolio gets you only to 20 or 30 percent of your total IT budget, Hurwitz said.

Clarity 8 also capitalizes on PPM and synergies with CAs ALM (application lifecycle management) and IT service management product lines, according to Daniel Stang, an analyst for Gartner, in Stamford, Conn.

"What were seeing is three technologies [PPM, ALM and IT service management] that ultimately could continue to converge over time,

Stang said. "PPM brings resourcing, project management, [and] 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."

CAs Clarity IT Portfolio Manager is an IT service portfolio management module that provides CIOs with a dashboard showing the full cost of each business service. It combines assets, applications, people, projects and support into a single view for comparing IT investments.

The Clarity IT Financial Manager module manages IT expenditures, chargebacks and cost recovery.

The Clarity Business Relationship Manager module addresses a new trend of embedding

business-savvy IT personnel within business units to act as liaisons to IT, according to Hurwitz.

"[The Clarity Business Relationship Manager module is] about how 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.

Clarity 8 is due by the end of October. CA also will introduce a fixed-price starter service, called 30 Days to Clarity, to help customers quickly implement the software.