CA plugs gap in IT governance suite

Computer Associates, which bought IT portfolio management vendor Niku earlier this year, has now launched Niku in New Zealand but there are no local customers yet

In June, Computer Associates bought IT project and portfolio specialist Niku, thus taking over Niku’s flagship product, Clarity, which is now being launched in New Zealand.

Clarity is an integrated IT governance (ITG) suite that consists of six modules: portfolio manager, resource planner, project manager, demand manager, financial manager and process manager. It covers investment selection, strategic planning, service management, service delivery, change management, and results assessment. One of its purposes is to make connections between business and IT departments more efficient.

“IT governance to us is when the demand from the business equals the service which the IT department delivers,” says David Hudson, Clarity’s Asia–Pacific regional manager.

Planwell Technology is the local partner for Clarity. There are not yet any customers in New Zealand but Planwell sales manager Stuart Maitland says some of the customers in Australia have local offices in New Zealand and it is likely that the first customers will come through them.

Portfolio management software has been criticised for not taking the inter- and intra-departmental politics out of project selection. At the recent IT Financial and Asset Management Summit West conference in Las Vegas, several IT managers said, despite using metrics like net present value and internal rate of return to rank the worth of different projects, such tools don’t eliminate the inter-organisational bickering that can accompany project selection and allocation.

One attendee, Freescale Semicon­ductor CIO Sam Coursen, said: “I can’t imagine any tool that would remove organisational dynamics.” Another, Becky Hamilton, information management director at Hi-Bred International said: “IT portfolio management techniques don’t help you get past politics.”

However, Hudson dismisses such accusations.

“The software is designed to help make decisions and avoid politics. It is an objective guide to what seems to be the most beneficial option, but human beings can overwrite it if they wish,” he says.

Clients can choose to buy and implement one or a selection of modules, or the whole system. Depending on how many modules an organisation buys, the price varies from US$150,000 (NZ$218,000) to a few million dollars. Hudson says the average price is US$250,000.

Niku is now part of CA’s business ervices optimisation unit.

Rob England, principal consultant for CA professional services in New Zealand, says IT governance “has become a hot topic recently and we realised we had a hole in that area.

“The acquisition of Niku filled that hole and made our ITG suite bullet-proof.”

Other porfolio management software on the market includes Artemis, PlanView and Primavera.

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