Mercury Spruces Up Governance Tool

The Mountain View, Calif.-based software vendor also is rolling out Mercury Managed Services for IT Governance, a hosted offering designed to help companies deal with compliance issues more quickly.

Chris Lochhead, chief marketing officer at Mercury, said IT managers are looking to help automate the way they manage compliance with regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. "People are looking for a repeatable, sustainable approach," he said. "People thought it would be a finance issue, but it has turned into this huge IT thing."

Accenture has adopted Mercury's software as one foundation for its governance practice, said Bob Suh, chief technology strategist for global technology and systems integration at Accenture, based in the integrator's Wellesley, Mass., office. New York-based Accenture is a close Mercury channel partner.

"It's extremely important," Suh said. "We have been working with them on several deals where clients, having done Sarbanes-Oxley, recognized that they need a more disciplined way to audit and track who's touching what in each system."

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Beyond compliance, the new version's scenario-planning tool acts as a broader portfolio management tool, letting companies and their solution providers analyze the impact of redeploying IT personnel or study the potential impact of delaying or accelerating projects, Lochhead said. Other enhancements include a next-generation dashboard and tight integration with document management software from Documentum through an OEM agreement.

"A common problem in IT organizations is a lack of ability to articulate the value that they bring. Our clients have found this to be very helpful," said Ryan Helft, project manager at FocusFrame, a San Francisco consulting firm that helps companies optimize their ERP and CRM applications. Another key feature of the Mercury upgrade for FocusFrame is the Documentum integration, he added.

An average starting deployment of Mercury's IT Governance Center runs $150,000, according to the vendor, but that can balloon into the multimillion-dollar range. An engagement for Mercury's managed services offering costs roughly the same. However, the company said customers can experience an overall cost savings of about 20 percent because they don't need to make the additional infrastructure investments to run the software on-site.

The IT governance software has helped Mercury step up its business through partners, according to Harry Gould, the vendor's vice president of alliances. "This becomes an application that a client partner can use to talk to a customer about changing the way they run IT," he said. Mercury's other products focus mainly on software testing and deployment tools.

In the first quarter, 36 percent of Mercury's new business was driven by the channel, Gould said. The company's first-quarter sales were $199 million, up 27 percent year over year.

About 60 percent of Mercury's revenue is license-related, and the company doesn't have grand aspirations to create a huge professional services arm, a fact that should appeal to potential partners, Gould said. "We have a very strong value proposition. We want to sell products; they want to sell services," he said.