Unicom Focal Point
|Developer(s)||UNICOM Systems, a division of UNICOM Global|
Version 7.2 / Released June, 2017
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Website||Product Page on UNICOM website|
UNICOM Focal Point is a decision analysis tool used by the product organizations of corporations and government agencies  to collect information and feedback from internal and external stakeholders on the value of applications and technologies and their features, prioritize on which ones will provide the most value to the business, and manage the roadmap of how improved products will be fielded or removed from market or organization. UNICOM Focal Point is also used to manage a portfolio of projects, to understand resources used on those projects, and timelines for completion. The product is also used for pure product management -- where product managers use it to gather and analyze enhancement requests from customers to decide on what features to put in a product, and develop roadmaps for future product versions.
UNICOM Focal Point is used for:
- Project Portfolio Management—gathering information on projects across the organisation, what are the benefits, costs, risks associated with the projects. The tool enables entry of all data based on roles, and workflow so it can be tailored to specific needs in terms of maturity and priority. It is done at a fairly high level. If very detailed analysis is needed the tool can be integrated to other tools for such purpose. The tool also supports resource management at a high level, as well as requirements management at a high level. Generally characterized by easy modification rather than advanced best practice.
- Product management—making decisions on what features to put in a product, based on customer priorities, competitor functionality, and market conditions. Furthermore, understanding the value of applications that an organization is building, marketing, and selling, and deciding on which to invest in and which to retire. An independent survey on Linked In ranked Focal Point as the best Product Management tool.
- Application Portfolio Management—understanding what applications are deployed in an organization and their value; which to invest in and which to retire. Gartner's most recent Enterprise Architecture Magic Quadrant lists the combination of IBM System Architect and Focal Point as Leaders amongst toolsets used for enterprise architecture and application portfolio management.
- IT portfolio management—understanding what applications and systems are deployed in an organization and their value; which to invest in and which to retire.
- Product Delivery Management—understanding the resources and schedule of what needs to happen in getting a product to market.
For those organizations that need more advanced features and have a high level of detail, Focal Point can be used in combination with a variety of tools, such as Rational Team Concert, UNICOM System Architect, IBM DOORS Next Gen or Planview, Inc's Planview Enterprise.
UNICOM Focal Point stores information in a database and provides multiple ways to input information, including a web-based portal to allow end-users from across an organization, and external customers from all over the world, to input information into the database.
Information is then analyzed with a variety of dashboard charts to make prioritization decisions and manage roadmaps of project and product delivery and scheduling. Open Services Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) integrations enable the end user to amalgamate information and capabilities in Focal Point with other OSLC-enabled tools.
Joachim Karlsson, Ph.D founded Focal Point AB; the tool originated from a doctoral dissertation by Joachim Karlsson at Linköping University, “A Systematic Approach for Prioritizing Software Requirements”. The first version of Focal Point was released in 1997.
Focal Point includes support for:
- Harvesting Information
- Analysis Techniques
- Dashboard Charts
- Roadmaps and Gantt charts—frequently used in project management as illustration of a project schedule that is used to plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project against time. Also used for plotting other organizational resources against a timeline—applications (starting with their field date to their retirement date), technology, etc.
- Bubble chart (also known as XY chart)
- Stacked XY charts
- Bar chart—A bar chart displays the priorities for a selected view and criterion
- Stacked bar chart
- Ranking schemes—In stacked bar charts, the total score for each element is displayed. There are two options to calculate the total score: a) Positive - Negative, wherein the score is calculated as the sum of the priorities of the Maximize criteria minus the sum of the priorities of the Minimize criteria, and b) Positive / Negative, wherein the score is calculated as the sum of the priorities of the Maximize criteria divided by the sum of the priorities of the Minimize criteria.
- Stacked bar chart
- Pie chart
- Radar chart
- Waterfall chart
- "Result Stories of Organizations Using Focal Point".
- "Independent Survey of Best Product Management Tools on LinkedIn Ranks Focal Point Highest".
- "Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture puts System Architect and Focal Point tag team in Leader Quadrant".
- "Planview Integration with Focal Point".
- "InfoWorld Article: IBM Jazzing Up Software Project Management".
- "Early idea development of Focal Point" (PDF).
- "IBM acquires Telelogic".
- "Unicom acquires Rational Focal Point".
- UNICOM Focal Point product page
- Videos on UNICOM Focal Point
- Application Portfolio Management with UNICOM Focal Point