Status Check

: Royal Caribbean’s Portfolio Management “>

Status Check: Royal Caribbean’s Portfolio Management
How a project manager with Royal Caribbean dealt with his portfolio management vendor’s change in ownership

Richard Shapiro is program administration office manager for Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises. He joined in 2000, when the company was using Niku’s Clarity portfolio management software. Niku had acquired the software-then called Workbench-from ABT. In 2005, CA acquired Niku. Like many technology managers, Shapiro had to deal with forming a relationship with a new vendor-and making sure his voice was heard.

How were you using Clarity when you first arrived?
It was essentially being used as a repository for project lists. Here we had a little database telling us what projects were going on and who was working on them. That’s basically what it was back then. We didn’t look at the tool for portfolio governance.

And how was your relationship with Niku?
Niku was a very small company, and we were a very prominent voice in that community. We gave feedback to Niku on how we wanted the product to change. We needed the product to do things, and they listened. They were very responsive to those changes. You’d see pieces of that come out in future releases of the product.

Then CA came along. What was your feeling about the acquisition?
Watch and wait. The immediate response is no substantive change at all-you’re doing what you’re doing. The CA people reached out to me right away and said, “You’re one of Clarity’s valuable customers, so tell us what you want us to do.”

So, how should companies deal with bigger companies acquiring their vendors?
Most big companies are big because they’re successful, and they’re successful because they listen to customers. So, don’t forget that; don’t be intimidated. Make your voice heard. Also, leverage your other business with the same company. The odds are your company probably owns several [of the vendor’s other products]. We have other CA products here; CA wants more business with us. The best way to do that is to keep internal users happy.