Mercury Faces Off With CA, Niku In Project Management Arena

PPM tools help enterprises understand and manage the costs incurred by IT operations on a project-by-project basis. They can be a key ingredient in communicating IT budgets in a language "the boardroom" understands.

CA, Islandia, N.Y., said today it will begin selling, servicing and supporting Clarity PPM software from the Niku Corporation, Redwood City, Calif. Adding Niku's Clarity to CA's product and support checklist will give added strength to CA's business service management (BSM) strategy, said Shari Shore, vice president of product marketing at CA.

CA's BSM strategy focuses on IT management, compliance, security and other critical facets of enterprise networking.

Earlier this week, Mercury announced a Rapid Replacement Program for customers running Niku software and those running PPM products from Changepoint, which was acquired in April by Compuware, Detroit. The replacement program will offer Niku and Changepoint users as much 75 percent of the value of their Niku and Changepoint software licenses if they transition over to Mercury's IT Governance Center PPM offering. The offer is open until June 30, said Christopher Lochhead, Mercury's chief marketing officer.

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Josh Pickus, president and CEO of Niku, said the displacement strategy being offered by Mercury is evidence that Mercury is "nervous" about the strength of its PPM competitors and is offering incentives out of desperation.

"What Mercury is saying with their displacement strategy is we are beating them and they are nervous about that. And now our relationship with CA creates even more problems for them," Pickus said.

Lochhead said he sees the situation as being the other way around. "The reason we are doing [the Rapid Replacement Program] is that when you have the leadership position what you do is hit the accelerator."

Lochhead said the real issue is about which vendor can provide the most comprehensive IT governance solution, and that Mercury is that vendor. Lochhead said Niku offers a pure form of PPM that needs to be integrated with CA's BSM products to achieve an adequate IT governance solution. On the other hand, Mercury has had a well-rounded IT governance solution since August 2003, when Mercury acquired IT governance software and services vendor Kintana, Lochhead said. "It's not about PPM anymore, it's about IT governance," he said. "We have much more functionality across IT governance, where Niku is one of the last stand-alone companies in PPM. That's why they need CA."

CA's Shore said customer integrations between Niku and CA products are available immediately. Out-of-the-box integration between the two vendor's products should be completed within 60 to 90 days, she said. The resulting product suite will be sold through CA's direct-sales force and its Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) partners. CA did not present the Niku solution to any ESP partners prior to the joint reseller agreement, Shore said.

Both the Niku and Mercury solutions are high-end enterprise products. The cost of an average deployment begins at about $200,000 for Niku, Pickus said. An average deployment for Mercury starts at $350,000, Lochhead said.