IT departments looking to beef up their IT project and portfolio-management capabilities have a choice of commercially available products at their disposal, says Gartner analyst Matt Light. Companies such as Lawson Software, Mercury, Niku, PlanView, and Primavera offer software tools that cover project planning, prioritization, resource allocation, and time- and expense-tracking tasks.
Pacific Edge Software Inc. and ProSight Inc. offer tools for analyzing portfolios of IT assets the same way investment firms analyze portfolios of financial assets. Not to be overlooked are the big ERP vendors that provide project-management apps that feed off their financial accounting apps. One example is PeopleSoft's Enterprise Service Automation software.
Users can mix and match among the various applications. For example, Office Depot Inc., which has 600 IT employees and six data centers, uses Pacific Edge's application for portfolio and project analysis, and Troux Technologies Inc. software for financial management and resource planning. Together, the systems enable Office Depot to meet a corporate dictate that 5% of IT spending be directed toward strategic initiatives. That's triggered a shift from a culture whose knee-jerk response to new projects was to install additional hardware, says Rachel Pace, senior manager of the retailer's project-management office. Now the company has a much clearer sense of who owns what resources, she says, and has reined in runaway spending.