For a number of years there have been software products that have helped IT departments and software vendors to manage the process of delivering an IT project. These have of course included the simple project management tools such as Microsoft Project to very sophisticated tools such as those delivered by Planview Project Portfolio management. But when it comes to business projects other than using the project management tools or maybe lifecycle management system for product delivery there hasn't been much available to help. So it was a nice surprise when Planview requested a briefing to talk to me about Planview Enterprise.
Let's start by answering your question, who are Planview? Some of you reading this may already know, but others of you don't. Planview started life in 1989 providing IT portfolio management solutions. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA with offices across the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific, The company has a customer base of some 550 customers, including Citi, T-Mobile, BP, R. J. Reynolds, Aetna and Hallmark. Their technology partners include the likes of Microsoft and Business Objects, whilst their service alliance partners include Fujitsu and Hitachi consulting. A number of value added resellers (VARs), international distributors, vertical solution providers, system integrators, and consulting firms currently participate in the Planview Global Partners Program.
So what about the product? What does it cover? Well Planview Enterprise covers a very large area of executive life. Starting with business strategy, it provides a means to document the priorities and strategies of the business, which drive revenue and competitive advantage. Next, of course, is the need for financial management and here Planview Enterprise provides the capabilities to record and monitor budgets and funds in terms of cost of delivery of various business projects. Now all projects need work and resource management so that people that scare resource can be effectively managed to the benefit of the enterprise. What is more important in today's rapidly changing business environment is the ability to manage changing requirements and priorities. That of course leads to the need to provide demand management capabilities so as to understand quickly the effect of any change on the ability to deliver. To survive in business, companies have to continually invest in new products and services. A lot of money is wasted in poor control of ideas and also the more concrete products/services that may be developed. Here Planview offers capabilities in its Requirements Management process accelerator that was launched in January 2009. Lastly in the management portfolio is the need to provide business process management to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness. Sounds too good to be true? Well having seen the complete suite in operation it is all there.
Figure 1: Planview Enterprise capability portfolio
Integrated with Planview Enterprise is the Planview PRISMS Best Practices library. This provides a set of some 200 best practices, all backed by thousands of process and procedural steps documented through online and on-site services, guides, and software. PRISMS includes 3 other components:
- PRISMS RPM Solutions provide a set of fixed price solutions that integrate Planview Enterprise, Planview PRISMS and Planview's SaaS infrastructure.
- PRISMS Process Maps are a set of predefined and populated process steps that can be used.
- PRISMS E-Learning is a set of both instructor-led and self-paced education.
Planview Enterprise has been developed on top of Microsoft's .NET platform and data storage is provided on either Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases. The user interface is browser-based and works on any of the well-known browsers. Data from Planview ca be exported using any of the following forms—XLS, PDF, HTML, RTF or TXT. The XLS interface is two-way.
This is a most impressive application set. Planview have extended their knowledge of project and programme management of IT projects to business, but done it in such a way that the final product is extremely business user friendly.