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Brigham Young University Manages the Application Lifecycle

Serena Mariner enables managers to reduce costs, shorten budget cycles, and quickly prioritize projects based on business value.

“Using Serena Mariner, we’re able to prioritize projects based on their strategic value to the business, we’ve shortened our budget cycle from 9 months to 6 weeks, and we reduced PMO operating costs by 47%.”

—Ernie Nielsen, Managing Director, Enterprise Project Management for BYU

Founded in 1875, Brigham Young University offers more than 200 academic programs through 11 colleges in Utah and 17 affiliated campuses worldwide. BYU seeks to develop students of faith, intellect, and character who have the skills and the desire to continue learning and to serve others throughout their lives. When BYU was facing a flood of IT requests, they chose Serena Mariner to help better align resource capacity with demand. With newly-gained visibility and tracking, they can now generate complete application TCO.


Like most institutions of higher learning, the role of IT has grown enormously, now affecting all aspects of the research and teaching process. Yet as the demands rapidly grew, BYU’s Office of IT (OIT) struggled to keep pace. Amongst a flood of new project and work requests, OIT was tasked with finding ways to not only maintain, but actually reduce the overall IT budget. They found it very difficult to relate inbound requests to the applications managed by the organization. With no objective means to prioritize the work, allocation of resources was relatively adhoc. Managers often worked out conflicts at a resource level to simply satisfy the “squeakiest wheel.” Because all resources split time between projects and operations support, production incidents consistently took priority, and project teams found it virtually impossible to meet commitments.


In an effort to better align resource capacity with demand, BYU created a new Change Governance™ framework and selected Serena to automate their newly defined processes for project portfolio management, resource management and application portfolio management. With the initial Serena Mariner deployment, visibility to the project portfolio yielded immediate results by exposing a large number of low priority projects that could be quickly eliminated. In addition, the increased visibility into the application portfolio and their relationship to the projects and services supporting them enabled IT to work with business stakeholders to set priorities based on business objectives.


Now IT “product managers,” who are responsible for managing the business applications, work with their customers to plan and request projects with an understanding of where the application is in its lifecycle. For example, they are able to compare relative value of upgrading an existing financial application against the need to deploy a new web-based learning system. Through Mariner’s time tracking capabilities, BYU is also able to capture 100% of time spent on both project and non-project work and measure application cost throughout the application lifecycle — from initial project planning through on-going maintenance and ultimately into retirement.


  • Reduce IT budget in the face of increasing demand
  • Prioritize competing requests
  • Meet project commitments Solution • Implemented Serena® Mariner® to automate processes
  • Created visibility into application portfolios
  • Captured 100% of resource time Results • Reduced costs by eliminating redundant projects
  • Generated complete application TCO
  • Reduced budget cycles from 9 months to 6 weeks
  • Prioritized projects based on strategic value BYU’s continued investment in maturing its Change Governance processes has been fueled by early recognized benefits:
  • With a direct link between applications and business strategies, project work priorities are based on strategic value, not time urgency
  • Moving to automated portfolio management has reduced the time it takes to produce an annual budget from 9 months to 6 weeks, reducing the cost of the annual budgeting process by 84%
  • With the help of automation, the need for much of the manual effort provided by the project management office has been eliminated, reducing cost of that office by 47%

PDF of BYU Success Story (PDF)