KeyedIn has announced the latest version of its PPM solution, KeyedIn Projects 7.0 at a recorded event in Minneapolis. Shawn Dickerson, SVP Marketing opened the launch saying: “We are going to introduce some enhancements and upgrades that are going to change the way you see your project portfolio and are going to help our customers embrace and realise the benefits of Agile Portfolio Management”.
Enterprise Times also spoke to Matt Muldoon, Chief Product Officer at KeyedIn about the release.
Organisations are moving away from waterfall methodology for projects and towards Agile. KeyedIn argues that companies need to adopt an Agile approach to their portfolio management and strategic decision making as well. This release aims to deliver that.
There are three major components to the release:
- Resourcing improvements
- Integration of CAST Highlight to enhances portfolio analysis for development tasks
- The first release of a new reporting tool
KeyedIn now supports both bottom up resourcing and top down resourcing. It now supports the ability to allocate Agile teams as components within resource management. The product still retains an understanding of the individuals within those teams though. A resource manager can now both request and allocate an Agile team to a project or task. The allocation can be based on a period of time, effort or a percentage of their time available.
Requests feed into forecasts so that the resource manager can then see an overview of all requests and their impact. They can then bulk select to approve these, simplifying their role. It allows for individuals in the team who have other commitments such as vacation.
The release also includes the ability to create and save up to twenty user defined filters. A resource manager can access these to use in future. New filters include utilisation bands, by employees, and by contractors.
The system also supports the ability to drag and drop individuals onto tasks. This automatically creates the associated assignment required and further increases efficiency. This is to support top down planning.
New Reporting Features
This is the first release of the new advanced report writer that will have several further iterations in the coming year. It supports a wealth of new chart types including a doughnut, and semi doughnut, a spider and radar charts. The charts are interactive and allow users to drill down into further details. While doing it keeps colour consistency enabling users a quick visual signal of where they started. It is also possible to combine line and bar charts and provide flexible, conditional formatting on data tables.
It is now simple to create and add chart widgets to dashboards using a wizard driven process. Users can publish and share widgets with others according to the webinar. It is also possible for users to determine which colours are used. This a simple feature but one that is often overlooked by others.
Muldoon joined the company 18 months ago and the rewrite of the reporting system was one of the first projects he initiated. He considered white labelling third party solutions but in the end decided to rewrite the product based on the same technology. It means that existing reports are still supported with the latest release which will please many customers. This new advanced reporting supports the requirements of those wanting embedded reporting.
This is not the only reporting strategy that KeyedIn supports though as Muldoon explained: “For those who want to use an external product, we have already written a reporting API. We have a number of customers who are already using Power BI or Tableau. They are extracting the data automatically from our systems into their Power BI systems, data sets, and then reading the reports from there.”
This is not the finished reporting product as Muldoon added: “We’re moving that on to be able to publish and to create multi, multi table reports in the next release.”
Objectively analyse Software products with CAST
Possibly the most significant update with this release is the integration to CAST Highlight. CAST Highlight carries out application portfolio analysis. The tool reverse engineers code to measure software health, risks and complexity across hundreds of software applications quickly. It identifies vulnerabilities and software companies can re-run the analysis to gauge whether changes have made an impact. Muldoon acknowledges that they have run the product across their own portfolio at least twice. It is often used as part of the due diligence processes when companies look to purchase software vendors.
When the evaluation is run it scores it from 1-100 on four criteria:
- Software Resiliency: How robust is the code, what third party components it uses.
- Cloud Ready: How easy it is to move to the cloud.
- Software agility: Can developers update the code easily, is it easy to migrate and take advantage of upgrades
- Software elegance: How easy is the code to understand and support and can different developers work on it quickly.
It also carries out a survey with product owners to understand more about the business aspects of the product. Questions include
- How important is this software to the business?
- What is revenue base?
- What is its cost base?
- How many resources is that requiring?
This data feeds into the Portfolio Analysis that KeyedIn provides. For large organisations it enables them to score the complexity and maintainability of their applications. This data is now automatically fed into KeyedIn’s Portfolio analysis tool to highlight the amount of effort required to make changes to the application. This enables business leaders to make investment decisions with a better understanding of the effort required against the business value delivered.
Pricing for CAST starts at $20,000 annual subscription. Muldoon commented: “It’s taking some of the subjectivity out of portfolio analysis, and applying scientific methodology and automation to make it a lot easier.“
Where next for portfolio analysis?
Muldoon commented: “We also are bringing in change management techniques that allow them to assess the readiness of their customer base which is internal or external, to accept changes to products and the understanding of what those changes encompass. AI and machine learning is in our roadmap. All of these things are the designed to build out the usage of the portfolio management within the business so that they provide a much more value based product.”
The KeyedIn Portfolio Analysis value is not confined to software companies. According to Muldoon, organisations such as Huawei and Wawa are using it. Wawa, a convenience store chain across the Eastern US, uses it to prioritise store openings and help identify which teams should deliver the projects it undertakes. The portfolio planning is also able to drill down to projects and tasks, integrating with JIRA if required,
Enterprise Times: What does this mean?
If this emphasis of portfolio management and strategic planning seems familiar then it is. Two other companies have launched products with a similar focus in the last year. Changepoint released Strategic Portfolio Management a few weeks ago and Clarizen Eagle was released about a year ago.
The improvements enabling portfolio management to support Agile teams is an iterative improvement that may well gain traction in some organisations. It will be interesting to see how many adopt the methodology compared to continuing the bottom up approach.
The strengthening of the Portfolio Analysis with Cast Highlight is a differentiating advantage. This could well help KeyedIn break into companies that support a wide array of applications, or even those that have developed software on a micro services architecture. Muldoon believes that this release will help the company to grow, he noted: “The company’s in a stronger position than it’s been in a long time. We think that this release is going to really give us a platform for a big jump off is a business.”
However, KeyedIn has still not completed the funding that Lauri Klaus spoke about when Enterprise Times interviewed her in July 2019. That funding is what may be required for KeyedIn to increase resources in Sales and Marketing. This will help ensure that they are in more opportunities and can close more deals.