Planview Information Technology Group Virtually Reinvents Itself and the Business

When Jerry Sanchez became the IT Director at Planview in January 2008 he was immediately faced with challenges in four areas

 By Jerry Sanchez
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About Planview

For 20 years, Planview has been advancing the discipline of portfolio management, helping customers change the way they manage people and money to make better business decisions. With a singular focus on portfolio management, Planview combines customer-driven software, unmatched domain expertise, and proven best practices to solve each customer's unique business problems.

The Challenge

Jerry Sanchez became the IT Director at Planview in January 2008 and was immediately faced with challenges in four areas:

Prior to January 2008, the IT group at Planview functioned as many IT groups do – its focus was to maintain the functioning of internally used computers, servers, and the network. The business did not look to IT to develop beyond responding quickly and improving abilities on an as-need basis. What was missing was the vision to understand and proactively plan for the various, competing drivers the business would face – be they internal or customer-supporting requirements – or before they became urgent issues: development environments, Software as a Service (SaaS) deployments, and corporate initiatives.

The market was indeed moving towards SaaS options for the portfolio management solutions that Planview develops, and the company wanted to get ahead of the competition by making its products more readily available in this on-demand, hosted format. The company hired new development staff to improve time to market and quality; however, the sharing of environments and tools between staff was problematic. In addition, it was taking six to eight weeks to prepare and equip hosted customer environments. To date, the hosting was being outsourced, and the management team wanted to bring it in-house for better service; Planview IT needed to ensure that its hosting operations were rock solid.

IT silos existed across departments and locations, with massive and ineffcient server sprawl in datacenters in California, Texas, and Germany. This represented a drain not only on people resources, but on monetary ones.

Finally, there were several cultural challenges Sanchez recognized. There was an immature, tactical IT environment, which created concerns that Planview Enterprise, the company's flagship solution, could not be virtualized for a SaaS deployment, that it rather had to be deployed entirely on physical hardware. And, because IT had been run as a cost center, there was concern about large capital expenses.

In large part because of bringing hosting in-house and the mandate to grow the Planview SaaS business, it became clear that the demands on IT were going to grow exponentially. The IT team had to move fast, build a solid infrastructure, and do so cost-effectively. At the same time, it had to maintain the existing environment and hire and train new staff members to support the business.

This article was originally published on Jan 27, 2010
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