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CA Playbook links IT plans to corporate goals

A new hybrid iPad/SaaS application from CA Technologies is designed to help achieve the holy grail of alignment of IT with the business.

CA Technologies' Clarity Playbook helps align IT activity with corporate goals by linking plans, projects and initiatives, extracting information from Clarity PPM and other portfolio management systems.

Playbook is "a CIO's really best friend," according to CEO Mike Gregoire.

Playbook comprises a SaaS application plus an iPad app that provides the user interface.

General manager, service and portfolio development Lokesh Jindal said Playbook was developed completely in-house, and is built on the CA Platform the company created for its SaaS applications.

CA Platform provides a range of services, including user experience, administration (in terms of user access and connection to other systems), billing and metering, and collaboration.

The idea behind Playbook is to allow organisations to move from traditional planning cycles to "perpetual planning." Since changes in the market are not annual, why do organisations think they can make annual plans?, he asked.

Playbook allows IT initiatives to be linked to corporate and business unit goals, and its dashboards help track performance against the plans in terms of business outcomes.

It also provides collaboration tools within the planning and monitoring processes. "Collaboration needs to be in the context of what you're doing," Mr Jindal told iTWire.

Forrester Research vice president and research director Eveline Oehrlich said "alignment does not just happen," but rather it is up to IT organisations to make it happen. Furthermore, communication with the business needs to be in business (not technology) terms.

It is also necessary to look at the big picture for the business in order to appropriately balance various IT activities, she advised. These are the sorts of considerations that Playbook is intended to address.

Although Playbook was announced at the CA World conference this week, it will not be released for another two or three months, Mr Jindal told iTWire. CA is carrying out extensive user studies which will influence the release version.

Some companies that saw the program prior to announcement see it as having potentially very wide usage.

The app is initially available only for the iPad, as the tablet market among executives is all about iPad, he said. CA does plan to add a web client, "but you don't want to port to more platforms than you need."

The program was only conceived seven or eight months ago, and as such is an illustration of the way the company is trying to become more innovative than ever, as demanded by recently appointed CEO Mike Gregoire, Mr Jindal said.

Disclosure: The writer attended CA World as the guest of the company.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.