Checking the news these days is often depressing with the words ‘cutbacks’ and ‘recession’ being in most headlines. What we hear too little of are words like ‘expansion’, ‘bigger’, ‘more’, etc.
Planview today announced its new solution set, Enterprise 10, and it's big. This product suite expands well beyond the traditional boundaries of PPM (Project Portfolio Management). There are three major components to this new release that warrant mention.
1) Planview has now added considerable capability to its solutions to support product rollouts, product enhancements and new product development. If your firm creates new products (and rolls them out into the marketplace), you may well need a solution like this. This application should appeal to manufacturers, consumer product firms, etc. as well as to any firm with an active R&D (research and development) program. Developing new products (or enhancing existing products) often involves the seeding of many research, pilot and proof of concept activities. The entire portfolio of R&D activities must be managed to ensure that the company:
- is not funding redundant, wasteful efforts - does not continue to fund development efforts that no longer align with the company’s product roadmap - funds the most promising and highest potential value R&D initiatives - identifies the risks, rewards and dependencies behind each development effort - can mainline new products with a minimum (or absence) of project startup failures
This new capability is a logical outgrowth of the PPM space but the necessary functionality must be more than a simple chop and copy of a PPM product. Since R&D funds are just as much under the chopping block as other corporate expenditures these days, solid new product development processes are a corporate must. A software product here must support all forms of solutions that a firm may wish to rollout to the market or internally to its employees.
StageGate integration is also part of this new functionality.
2) Planview gained a significant amount of financial savvy for its products with its acquisition of Business Engine. Business Engine was a PPM darling among the Wall Street and commercial banking world as its products spoke to the complex projects found in these firms and to the financial language and metrics that the executives in these firms used to measure their initiatives.
This financial savvy is now at the core of Planview’s Financial Management capabilities for Portfolio Management. Finance personnel can use their favorite tools (e.g., Microsoft Excel) and metrics in evaluating project portfolios, their financial standing, etc. This new Financial Management capability permits a seamless accountability between the cash based world of projects vs. the accrual accounting world of Finance. This solution appears to do a solid job of bridging the gap between project tracking, project accounting and corporate finance. If your projects don’t fit neatly into the accounting calendar and standards of your Finance group, get some help from a solution like this.
3) The User Interface (UI) and analytics within the suite have been materially enhanced. Very simply, the product is easier to use and the analytics make the information more valuable.
There is actually a lot more to this announcement. Among several new capabilities, Planview has created Planview OpenSuite for IBM Rational ClearQuest. The company has also created deeper linkages between its requirements management and resource management capabilities.
Planview Enterprise 10’s functional expansions open up the potential for new software buyers for the company. The product suite now should appeal to Product Developers, COOs, Product Managers, VPs of R&D, etc. as well as the usual IT executive. The software’s new analytics and wider scope also make it more useful as a corporate strategy tool and thus should find popularity with other CXOs.
A larger PPM scope gives users an opportunity to make all kinds of projects, IT or otherwise, more operationally excellent. That may be the best kind of PPM solution to have in a tough economy.