Compuware Targets the High Tech Space
The project software space has been going through a lot of consolidation in recent years; however, the amount of innovation in this space has been thin. Acquisitions generally are about market share increases not necessarily about innovation.
I had a good quick call today with Lori Ellsworth, a vice president at Changepoint Compuware. We discussed the latest Accelerator that Changepoint Compuware was introducing today. What I liked about the conversation is that it shows a focus in the PSA (professional services automation) and PPM (project portfolio management) space around building vertical versions of solutions that enable faster time to value for prospective customers.
In the case of today's Accelerator announcement, Changepoint is delivering a preconfigured version of the software for software and hardware companies. This focus on the technology sector is based on a number of data points Compuware has seen related to faster than normal economic growth occurring in the technology sector and in the services sector. Given the growing importance of service revenues inside technology companies, this seems like a good fit for another Accelerator in the Changepoint offerings. (see screen shot below)
I discussed with Lori my observations that many service organizations are still not operationally excellent yet. As Changepoint approaches software firms, they will undoubtedly encounter a few firms that are growing at an exceptionally rapid pace. These high-growth technology firms may have old solutions for resource management, billings, etc. that are woefully inadequate for the growth they have encountered or will soon face. It is very difficult for any company to remain operationally excellent for any period of time when that company is undergoing rapid growth. Compound that with a phenomenon in software as a service companies (SaaS) where service professionals may work on dozens of unique clients weekly in small doses of time, and we see a very different kind of service operations challenge appearing.
On balance, I like the concept of creating these vertically specific, preconfigured solutions for service-based companies. Changepoint should be able to assist technology customers in new product development, professional services deployment, help desk and support services and other areas. The challenge these customers will face though is to continue to grow, mutate and adopt ever more efficient and effective business processes that help them remain market relevant and operationally excellent. Any smart high-tech company that has not embraced an enterprise-wide PSA/PPM solutions set does so at its own peril.