Best practices are key in IBM software portfolio tool

Best practices are key in IBM software portfolio tool

IBM is upgrading its software for managing enterprise software development projects, emphasizing best practices and integration with Rational tools.

IBM Rational Portfolio Manager 6.2 is the company's project and portfolio management application. "The main goal [of the product] is to align software development projects with business strategy," said Ashok Reddy, program director for Rational Portfolio marketing at IBM.

Rational Portfolio Manager bridges the gap between developers, testers, and businesspersons. "Somebody at the executive level can get a view into the status of projects," Reddy said.

New features include the ability to customize best practices by using templates. IBM Rational Method Composer ships with Version 6.2 for applying best practices and development tools to project plans.

Integration with Rational software development tools, meanwhile, means metrics can be collected from these tools and displayed with Rational Portfolio Manager.

IBM is differentiating itself from other products in a crowded marketplace with functions such as workflow and integration with Rational tools, said Forrester Research analyst Margo Visitacion.

"This [release] just continues development and evolution of the product," Visitacion said.

"There's not a lot of differentiation in the marketplace right now," Visitacion said. Other players in portfolio management include vendors such as Compuware and Mercury Interactive, she said.

A Web services-based API toolkit in Version 6.2 enables connections between Rational Portfolio Manager and external systems such as SAP. Data from the SAP system is automatically entered into Rational Portfolio Manager, saving users from having to re-enter data.

Also new in Version 6.2 are graphical capabilities for designing workflows. Additionally, analytic capabilities provide a dashboard for viewing data, measurements, and trends across a software portfolio.

Key to the product is the ability to prioritize development efforts; users through Rational Portfolio Manager can devote the right skills and resources to projects. An analytical dashboard is included that helps automate decision and approval cycles for software development teams while finding trends and overlaps in projects, according to IBM.

IBM Rational Portfolio Manager 6.2 is available now.

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