A Proliferation of PMO Tools

One evolution in project management involves software tools. John Musser, who advises Fortune 500 companies on setting up project management offices, is finding that an increasing number of companies, especially departments or divisions, are managing their PMOs using tools delivered through a software-as-a-service model. “It’s much easier to deploy and provision,” he says.

Hosted application vendors include eProject of Seattle, 37signal of Chicago, the maker of Basecamp; Vertabase of Detroit; and Intuit’s QuickBase. However, some hosted tools don’t have as many features as enterprise applications and may not integrate as tightly with enterprise applications, Musser says.

Another option is Open Workbench, an open source successor to the desktop project scheduling application from CA Clarity, formerly known as Niku.

In addition to CA Clarity, traditional project management software vendors include Planview, Primavera and Microsoft with its Office Project server.

More recently, vendors have added capabilities such as project portfolio and service portfolio management, according to Michael Vinje, a principal at Trissential, a project management consultancy. Planview, for example, acquired Business Engine, a San Francisco-based provider of portfolio management tools, in February; Primavera acquired Portland, Oregon-based ProSight, also a portfolio management tool provider.

Phil Murphy, an analyst with Forrester Research, said in a Feb. 15 report that independent project portfolio management companies such as Planview have a challenge if they are to remain competitive against CA, Compuware, Hewlett-Packaard and Microsoft. “To compete, the independents will have to assemble portfolio management suites that span existing applications, new investments and performance and runtime perspectives,” he wrote.

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