Management software takes off

Known as IT portfolio management or enterprise service automation, the movement to track both the cost and business value of IT assets is off to a roaring start in 2004. In March, Niku Corp. unwrapped a portfolio management suite and PeopleSoft Inc. upgraded its Enterprise Service Automation for IT product.

A principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., Margo Visitacion said, “We saw early adopters last year. Now it is hot because companies can’t afford to waste money and IT has to show value. There is not a lot of wiggle room in budgets anymore.”

Niku, a best-of-breed IT management ISV, has introduced Clarity, a suite that includes a set of portfolio management modules for applications, hardware, and network assets.

Prior to Clarity, Niku offered only a single portfolio module for project management.

“IT has not had its own management and governance system. This is the system of record of what they are doing,” said David Hurwitz, vice president of marketing at Niku.

IT portfolio modules are similar to investment portfolios, only that an IT portfolio includes IT holdings rather than stocks and bonds.

Harrah’s Entertainment uses Niku as a strategic tool rather than an operational one, according to Heath Daughtrey, the company’s vice-president of IT services.

“The power of Niku is to have a centralized, integrated repository,” Daughtrey said.

Earlier, PeopleSoft announced it is ramping up its own solution by broadening the reach of PeopleSoft for Enterprise Service Automation for IT with versions in Dutch, French, and German.

The company also announced PeopleSoft Project Costing Process Integration Pack for SAP AG, a module that will allow IT charge-back financial data to be imported directly into an SAP general ledger system.

Making resource capacity and resource allocation visible is one of the major benefits for companies deploying this kind of software, according to Daughtrey.

“Whatever criteria your company uses, we can encode (it) into our application to allow you to see which (IT projects) are better or worse for your company based on how they align with your strategic business objectives,” said Carr Phillips, director of Enterprise Service Automation at PeopleSoft. Times have changed, he added.

“The need for the CFO to track every IT dollar every time it is spent within an organization is being driven not only by the current economic climate but by governmental compliancy issues such as Sarbanes-Oxley,” Phillips said.

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