In-Depth

Project management makes for a credible integration story

Gartner, which plots market leaders and challenges in a “Magic Quadrant,” says the 2004 project and portfolio management leaders are Primavera, Niku, Mercury, PlanView, Systemcorp, and Lawson Software; and the challengers are Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and PeopleSoft.

All these vendors can do some level of planning, resource management, time and expense, and progress reporting, and offer integration with Microsoft Project, says Matt Light, research director at Gartner. The difference, Light says, will be in integration — at both the project and portfolio levels, and both within the suite and with other applications running in the enterprise.

"Those in the leadership quadrant all have a credible integration story, as do the challengers," he says.

Within the two quadrants, are vendors with roots in project management, as well as ERP players (Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft) that are making a push in this area. Because many organizations are using ERP systems as platforms for running their businesses, an ERP-based PPM solution offers those organizations "the ability to manage data in a consistent format rather than fool around with integrations," Light says.

It also reduces the number of vendors the organization has to work with. The disadvantage, Light adds, is “they have not tended to specialize in the projects and the resource aspect of things. Some ERPs have made progress, allowing better planning and tracking natively in their solutions and so are posing a challenge to PPM providers, he concludes.

Mercury Interactive, with its roots in testing automation, is also making a play in PPM and IT governance, bolstered by its purchase of Kintana in 2003, while Microsoft is targeting the enterprise with Project Server 2003.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.

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