CA releases packaged services for project portfolio management

As part of a broad strategy to deliver on-demand project portfolio management (PPM) applications, CA announced two new "productized" implementation service offerings.

As part of a broad strategy to deliver on-demand project portfolio management (PPM) applications, CA announced two new "productized" implementation service offerings.

In a discussion with Carl Landers, VP Marketing for CA Clarity PPM, and Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist, the company said the on-demand product is "100 percent feature-complete" with respect to its on-premise counterpart.

Here's a screen capture of the Clarity browser-based product; click the image to see a larger version:

The Essentials edition is suited to organizations with little experience or maturity in managing a portfolio of projects. Folks in this category need a low-risk, relatively uncomplicated way to learn about and adopt PPM. Essentials implementations last five days and cost $15,000.

The Best Practices Edition adds functionality, along with complexity, to the Essentials version. This middle tier is best for organizations that already possess some experience with formal project management processes. CA implements the Best Practices edition in 30 days with a fixed-price of $75,000.

The IT Governance edition corresponds to the high-end functionality in CA's on-premise Clarity product. The company does not offer fixed price implementation services for this edition, since buyers will likely require more tailoring and integration with IT management applications.

The following table describes CA's on-demand products, along with a summary of the new packaged consulting services; click the image to see a larger version:

THE PROJECT FAILURES ANALYSIS

These offerings caught my attention for two reasons:

  1. Project portfolio management is a collaborative activity that benefits from being web-accessible, making it well suited to the on-demand format. CA articulates this vision well.
  2. Fixed price, fixed scope packaged services force consulting organizations, such as CA's services group, to design efficient implementation approaches, which drives down time and cost for customers.

When combined with milestone-based billing, packaged consulting services shift the balance of power from service providers to customers. In a milestone system, the customer only releases payment after certifying the vendor has satisfactorily completed work at certain predefined points. The desire for prompt payment is an incentive for service providers to work efficiently and make the customer happy.

Fixed price projects can work well when vendor and customer explicitly agree on scope before work begins. Projects that are likely to change mid-stream may not be good candidates for a packaged services engagement.

By combining on-demand delivery with packaged implementation services, CA's offerings reduce risk for organizations considering a PPM solution. Although project portfolio management is a reasonably mature category and CA is certainly not the only vendor offering solid products, the combination makes sense. I expect other vendors will release similar service groupings, if they haven't done so already.

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