Peregrine Helps Predict Glitchy Systems

The company announces its focus on integrated, predictive IT management along with an update of its BI Portal 5.2 and a planned equipment-investment analyzer called DecisionCenter.

Peregrine Systems is smartening up its IT-asset and service management software, making it able to predict which equipment will hiccup by giving the software a shot of data analytics.

The company on Tuesday will announce at its Las Vegas Synergy05 users conference a vision its calling Optimal IT. Optimal IT will meld IT asset management, the management of IT services and the type of predictive analytics used in areas such as supply chain management.

Peregrine Systems Inc. is known for two technologies. The first is service management, or helping organizations to manage internal IT resources, including trouble-ticket management.

The second is IT asset management, or the tracking of all the IT equipment that exists in an organizations infrastructure, including servers, desktops and networking equipment, as well as licensing compliance, who owns what and how much its worth.

Optimal IT technology will use the information stored within Peregrines ServiceCenter and AssetCenter software to help customers deal with problems before they happen, according to Craig Macdonald, vice president of product marketing and products management for the San Diego company.

Two products are planned: One, available now, is an update of Peregrines Business Intelligence Portal.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Peregrine Systems IT asset-management offerings.

Peregrine first launched BI Portal in September 2004, the first time it delivered BI (Business Intelligence) to its customers. "They said, Hey, this is great; now what report should we run, and how should we use this?" Macdonald said.

Over the past 18 months, Peregrine focused on building a set of reports. The result is BI Portal 5.2, which now features out-of-the-box analytics capabilities to answer questions such as, "What trends are taking place in the efficiency of the IT environment?"

The second product, DecisionCenter, is now in development and is expected to be available in the first half of next year. Macdonald said it is being designed to analyze information about IT equipment investments to help organizations put into context the payoff theyre getting for particular items.

"We get information about downtime when a system is out," Macdonald said. "We also can correlate and understand what the cost of the downtime is. With DecisionCenter, were building a set of analytics that help tie together changes in investment [that organizations] could make to infrastructure, and how effective theyd be in reducing costs from outages or downtime."

DecisionCenter will enable users to run series of what-ifs, Macdonald said, including scenarios such as if a company invested more in CRM (customer relationship management) than in supply chain management systems, for example.

The underlying issue, Macdonald said, is that organizations tend to over-invest in everything, due to service level agreements that dictate 99.99 percent uptime.

If a given system has a devoted higher-level executive as one of its users, that executive will be a squeaky wheel when his or her favorite system is down, even if the systems downtime doesnt matter much to the bottom line.

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Bill Snyder, a vice president at Gartner Inc., said that Peregrines offerings are an answer to the fact that IT organizations have had difficulty proving value to business users, because the IT department itself doesnt understand why costs are what they are. If you cant understand cost, you cant prove value, Snyder said.

"Number one, understand what costs are," he said. "Two, understand why costs are doing what theyre doing, which drives a need for analytics. Analytics is taking data that resides in the asset management program and understanding why costs do what they do, and then doing a little analysis on a going-forward basis of what costs [will] look like and how you can control them, whether by bringing in new tools, adjusting human resources as appropriate, or aligning business behaviors that are driving costs."

Analytics mixed with asset and service management is a fairly fresh area, Snyder said. While there are tools that do chargeback, as well as plenty of straight repositories to hold the data, translating data into something useful—outside of static reports—represents a new cut on the data, he said.

Peregrine is focusing on the problem more than its competition, Snyder said, comptetition that includes Computer Associates International Inc., BMC Software Inc. and Altiris Inc. Its position at the head of the pack will likely be challenged over time, however, as more companies enter the fray, he said.

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