Services & Software

Mercury's mantra: Get the most out of IT

Software company Mercury Interactive recasts itself to cash in on businesses' efforts to better manage their existing information technology resources.

Software company Mercury Interactive has recast itself to cash in on businesses' efforts to better manage their existing information technology resources.

Mercury on Monday outlined its new "business technology optimization" strategy. Under the new plan, the company will provide businesses with tools that help them effectively plan IT spending and make better use of existing resources, Mercury said. The company also reorganized its product groups to address different parts of its strategy.

Mercury created a product line specifically for what it calls IT governance, which is built around software from Kintana. Mercury acquired Kintana for $225 million in July. IT governance includes a set of project management applications that help companies' chief information officers measure the financial impact of an investment.

Mercury's other product categories include technology for testing the quality of code and systems and tools for measuring an application's performance before the software is launched. The new performance division will include software tools Mercury gained from its acquisition of start-up Performant earlier this year. The software provides diagnostic information to troubleshoot failures in Java applications.

Later this year, Mercury will update tools that aim to ensure maximum performance, once business applications are running.

Mercury, which started out by focusing on application performance testing, is restructuring to take advantage of the growing interest among chief information officers to better govern their companies' IT spending.

During the Internet bubble, many companies purchased more IT gear than necessary and did not measure how it would meet their business goals. The lean economic times and backlash against profligate IT spending have prompted companies to re-examine how they spend their IT dollars--much as they have re-examined and automated other corporate processes, such as manufacturing or finance, said Chris Lochhead, chief marketing officer at Mercury.

"If companies are going to spend this much on IT, the technology has to be bulletproof, and they have to get more out of it," Lochhead said. "They're not going to spend on IT in a significant way until they get the most out of what they already have."

Lochhead said Mercury competes with application management companies such as IBM and BMC Software, as well as a number of start-ups that address the IT governance field.