BY DAVID E. ESSEX ( ) RE
COMING OF AGE
IT’S TIME TO
Convenience rules when it comes to managing project asks. And in today’s hyper- connected world, thattypically
means turning to the Web.
Venerable purveyors of desktop and
server-based project tools—including
Microsoft, Niku (now CA Clarity),
Planview, Primavera and Welcom—
made the leap to online interfaces years
ago. Some other upstart companies
wrote their project software in Web format right from the start and ran it
entirely from their own sites. Most went
down with the dot-com bust, but a few
I tried out two leaders, @task
Enterprise and Daptiv Project Portfolio
Management. Both are riding a wave of
interest in SaaS (software as a service)
that allows users to avoid the hassle of
maintaining the applications on their
DAPTIV PROJECT PORTFOLIO
Daptiv’s portfolio management heritage
is older than that of @task—and it
shows. The company’s Project Portfolio
Management software provides more
in-depth reporting and a better ability
to drill down to project details. That
said, some of its forms and screens have
a technical feel that could translate to a
slightly longer learning curve.
Users can customize the dashboard
by selecting from potential content,
such as a task list or favorite daily
report. Daptiv also has a very cool interactive Gantt chart that lets users drag
resources onto it to see the effects.
All reports in Daptiv are exportable in
PDF or Excel formats. Users can control
who sees what information with highly
granular permissions tools. I tried project
manager, resource manager and executive
views. When I switched to the latter, more
portfolio-level financial content appeared
on my dashboard, along with tabs for
capacity planning and approvals.
Daptiv plays up the software’s built-in document-management solution,
complete with secure history logs and
versioning tools aimed at helping with
compliance processes, including those
tied to Sarbanes-Oxley. The company also
says its software has more interactivity
among elements and offers better support
for programming and customization than
@task. But my tryout showed the Daptiv
claims to be true only up to a point.
AtTask admits to playing catch-up
with Daptiv in an effort to incorporate
portfolio tools. Ease of use has been
the selling point of the company’s
@task since its debut six years ago. As
is often the case, though, this is
accomplished by conceding a little
ground in feature richness.
But the company’s upgrade issued in
February marked a watershed, with new
modules for business cases, demand
management, capacity planning, portfolio
optimization and scorecards.
The portfolio tools are nicely structured to align projects with business goals.
For example, the default setting on my test
“sandbox” required me to use a neat form
to draft a business case before letting me
into the project-request form.