Planview overhauls the look of its portfolio management software

Planview Enterprise 11, the first major update in over a year, has an entirely new user interface

Planview has updated the interface of its flagship project portfolio management (PPM) software to make it easier to navigate and appealing to a wider range of potential users.

"Traditionally, portfolio management has been very IT-centric, and it continues to be the biggest part of our business, but [PPM is] increasingly being adopted on the line-of-business side -- product development teams, service teams and the revenue-generating sides of business," said Patrick Tickle, executive vice president of products for Planview. "We needed to step back and revisit the core user experience of the product."

Planview Enterprise 11, which will be available in both on-premise and hosted editions, has an interface that switches the focus of the application from finding individual functions to providing an environment customized to the user's needs.

It's the first major update to Planview Enterprise since February 2012. The new interface is the result of an 18-month design and development process, one with more than 1,000 hours of feedback from 100 customers.

PPM software provides a way for organizations to track resources -- such as workers and funding -- available for multiple projects. Although originally used by IT departments, PPM software is increasingly being used by line-of-business workers as well.

The company has been expanding its functionality over the past few years to accommodate this new audience. New metrics have been added, such as revenue and FTEs (full-time equivalents). Product development staff are concerned more with revenue, while IT people tend to worry about costs, and product development teams measure employee resources in terms of FTEs, while IT thinks more about hours of capacity.

The landing page of the application has been completely redesigned to make these capabilities easier to find. A ribbon stretches across the top that hosts interactive tiles. The tiles can offer notifications, tools for creating charts and graphs, and critical metrics.

"The tiles are an interactive launch point to get to data in the system," Tickle said. With this ribbon, "we turned the navigation model around. People can navigate the product through the tiles, which are tailored to the business metrics they care about, and never touch the classic pull-down menus."

Changes have been made deeper in the software's architecture as well. A navigational search engine has been added, allowing users to quickly find a resource. Support for specific types of non-IT projects has been improved as well: Demand management now includes categories for product enhancements and support tickets. Major enhancements have been made to product road-mapping as well, which now provides for a baselining of road maps, ad-hoc milestone tracking and an easier migration process from manual road maps.

There are other changes, too. This is the first version to offer a mobile timesheet, allowing users of iPhone, Android and BlackBerry 10 devices to report their work status on a Web page. It's also the first version to come with in-memory analytics, allowing large datasets to be loaded into system memory for faster analysis.

Planview 11 will be available May 31, and the hosted version will be updated to the new edition in the first two weeks of June. A typical on-premise deployment for a customer with several hundred resources to manage would start at around US$100,000.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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