Mercury Interactive reorganizes

Mercury Interactive Inc. has launched its new business technology optimization suite of products to help corporations do more with less.

On Monday, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Mercury announced the IT Governance Center, an integrated suite of software, services and best practices designed to help CIOs lower waste and increase value, according to Christopher Lochhead, Mercury's chief marketing officer. "If you really look at what's happened over the last 30 years, each area of the enterprise has been optimized, re-engineered and automated with the huge exception of IT," he said.

Mercury's vision is to see that IT is run like a business, said Zohar Gilad, vice president of products at Mercury.

Gilad said Mercury's software has been reorganized -- with additional products added -- into three strategic areas: IT governance, delivery and management. IT governance focuses on which projects companies undertake and how they go about implementing them. Delivery deals with how applications create business value. And management tackles the way companies handle production and ensure that applications work as advertised.

In keeping with that strategy, Mercury announced an optimization center to help CIOs consolidate and centralize key functions; a governance suite of products built around software from Kintana Inc., which it acquired in July (see story), so CIOs can measure ROI; a quality center that consolidates the quality assurance process; a performance center, for managing the risk of deploying multiuser, enterprise-scale applications; and a business availability center that optimizes the performance and availability of applications in production, Gilad said.

"CIOs are being challenged to extract more value from IT to improve the quality of IT," he said. "So much of major corporations' ability to function is predicated on the success of IT, the availability of their applications and the performance of their IT infrastructure. If the applications are not available, the business is not available."

David Wollin, managing director of emerging technologies at New York-based AXA Financial Inc., said his company has used some of Mercury's testing tools for the past four years. "It's helped out the business by improving the work product we actually deliver to our customers, to our field associates and to our employees. And the quality of the product is better on Day 1."

By automating the test tools, AXA has reduced by 400% the amount of time and resources needed to get applications out the door, he said.

"Instead of having 12 people worrying about testing, I've got three or two," Wollin said. "And so we have an investment we've been making in this over the years and the more we invest, the more leverage we get -- so time to market is reduced and the quality of product is up, performance is up and my productivity is way up."

Melville, N.Y.-based start-up AutoOne Insurance had just eight months to get its business applications up and running properly, according to Virginia Linick, AutoOne's vice president of IT. The company turned to Mercury.

"We licensed products within the quality center, as well as from the performance center," Linick said, noting that AutoOne also hired Mercury's technical staff as consultants.

Mercury helped AutoOne purchase the right equipment, made recommendations on how to size the system to meet the company's business objectives and tuned the system to meet performance targets, Linick said.

Glenn O'Donnell, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., said Mercury's announcement is a big step forward for the overall vision of business technology optimization. "It's definitely intended for the areas we, in IT, have ignored for a long time: How do we go about doing the process of IT -- not so much dealing with the nuts and bolts but the actual operational processes -- and automating some of that?"

Depending on which components a company licenses, costs could range from US$15,000 to millions of dollars, Lochhead said.

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