Changepoint announced new branding last year and it has now revealed what it has been working on for the last eighteen months. In a triple announcement, it has revealed a new product, SPM, and completely updated all others. For the last few years Changepoint has been seemingly dormant. Born out of Compuware and acquired by Marlin Equity in January 2014 it made two acquisitions to add to its Enterprise Services Automation solution. In 2014 it acquired Daptiv, a leader in the PPM space and in April 2015 it bought a start-up, BarometerIT, that became Changepoint Enterprise Architecture Management. Since then it has not made a significant announcement but has clearly been working hard.
It has now announced the launch of Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM). This is a major update to its services automation solution and a complete revision of its Analytics architecture. These are not minor updates and Changepoint has risen, if not from death like a Phoenix, but certainly with a major splash that might make a significant difference in some markets.
Enterprise Times spoke to Eric Bergman, VP of Product Management at Changepoint and Matt Scheuing , CEO Changepoint about the news.
Strategic Portfolio Management
The latest product is a module build onto the Enterprise Architecture Management platform and fully integrated with the PPM solution. Scheuing commented: “Its really the convergence of the PPM and the Enterprise Architecture market. We have taken the best of Daptiv on the Portfolio management side and Barometer IT, our Enterprise Management application and really melding that value proposition together to provide strategic planning, prioritisation of initiatives, etc. At a strategic portfolio level versus a more executional level.”
In effect, SPM sits above both the PPM and EAM solutions with the ability to drill down into both. It consists of three core features supported by a revitalised analytics engine. Changepoint has worked with several customers over the last year to enhance and finalise the product.
One early adopter was Wi-Tronix, LLC. Jon Verson, PMO Director of Wi-Tronix, LLC. Commented: “Changepoint has streamlined our portfolio planning process by providing intuitive, collaborative experiences to visualize our projects, roadmaps and priorities. We can now make quick and informed decisions on resource allocation, in real-time,”
Using a Kanban board, organisations are able to track initiatives delivering transparency for portfolio tracking across the organisation. Each initiative is placed in a phase such as funnel, analyse and review. These can be configured by each organisation. This means it can support those using services design principles to track multiple initiatives for example. The multi-user drag and drop interface allows authorised people to access, view, add and update the status of different initiatives through to completion. For organisations with multiple initiative users can apply filters to limit by interest.
It is critical for organisations to understand the priority of their projects and initiatives. This tool enables the organisation to map costs and benefits on a weighted scale to help prioritise those initiatives. The system calculates an overall score and allows the user to sort the initiatives.
This tool delivers a visual roadmap that allows organisations to map initiatives with built in constraint analysis on a timeline. The solution also highlights resource and budget constraints. A user can reschedule initiatives using a drag and drop interface to quickly identify the optimal timing for each initiative.
Underpinning SPM is an analytics engine using the Neo4j graph database to provide insights and visualisation to further enhance the solution. This new analytics engine is available across both EAM and SPM.
Bergman summarised by saying: “It is the top down portfolio planning of the strategic ideas and initiatives, ultimately funding what you want to make and injecting into your business in a certain timeframe.
“Once you’ve got all of these ideas, you can quickly prioritise them in a lean way, looking at the investment you need to make as well as the outcomes of the value that would deliver to a business. Once you do that you can lay all those ideas, align them to your strategy and assess where they’re at from a planning or execution standpoint.”
A new look for Changepoint Services Automation
The latest release of Changepoint Services Automation (SA) is also generally available. It includes a major update of the user experience and enhancements for managed services organisations.
Bergman explained further saying: “It is a major release, and it is a completely new UI. Why does that matter? It matters because there isn’t a services delivery use case, that Changepoint can’t handle. Its history and success to that product has always been in its strengths and capabilities and enterprise grade capabilities, whether that’s integration, financial planning and management, resource project management, revenue recognition, scalability etc to 10s of thousands.
“What we knew we needed to go do was to uplift the user interface from a visual design and interaction design standpoint, to meet the needs of today’s enterprise… That was that is the mission behind change point 2020 and why it is a major release.”
The managed services enhancement enables organisations to ties resources to tasks within contracts. For example a client requires an upgrade. Previously this would have been completed using a project with resources tracked against it. The new version allows the same tracking of resources and costs without the overhead that project management sometimes brings.
Bergman explained: “What we were missing and what we just aligned around a single UI was how you schedule servicing in a managed services environment. This new module can now look at a calendar against the customer and their contracts and their service levels, you can now schedule and record time. That gets bound back to that contract.”
Changepoint has also completely updated its Analytics platform. Scheuing explained that this is now provided in three ways.
- Changepoint has implemented the Neo4J Graph Database which looks across a replicated data set to draw out insights from its EAM and SPM products.
- It also leverages the IBM Cognos Analytics platform, tied into the transactional Microsoft SQL database to provide ad hoc and operational reporting for the solutions such as SA and PPM. This is also enhanced by integration with IBM Watson which provides a natural language interface for users to query their data.
- There is also support for third party analytics engines. Thus is organisation want to use Power BI or Tableau they expose the data to those solutions. The new platform is available across the portfolio with PPM and SA users able to leverage the IBM Cognos and IBM Watson functionality.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
These are three significant announcements from Changepoint who will continue to develop its products in the coming months. There is also likely to be a bigger marketing push from an organisation that has updated its product suite to see it compete more effectively in the Enterprise market.
Changepoint CEO, Matt Scheuing noted: “Our singular mission has been to help customers achieve better outcomes through effective management of their resources and portfolios of projects, services and applications. We’re now expanding our focus to help them with strategic planning. Customers have a growing need for speed, responsiveness and transparency. Better alignment of resources, projects and execution with strategy is key to enabling this for a business, and visual planning tools will make this work much easier and more successful.”
The Strategic planning tool is a natural progression from EAM and PPM. It is one that will appeal to businesses across multiple sectors. Scheuing believes that it will appeal to Enterprises that have more mature project portfolio management in place.
Changepoint are not first to market. Almost a year ago Clarizen launched Clarizen Eagle. The Changepoint solution appears more comprehensive and its integration into both EAM and PPM potentially offers far more. It will interesting to see how both products develop and roll out across 2020.
Why does this matter? Organisations need greater agility than ever before. Scheuing summarised the advantage of SPM saying: “What SPM allows organisations to be more business agile. To think in more innovative ways. To be able to plan in more innovative ways and that encapsulates the ability to adapt to change. That is business agile. How can we pivot investments quickly to react changing business priorities. That is at the core of what SPM provides a business. It enables BizOps.”