Government projects that run overtime and over budget are a thing of the past - at least according to US software company, Business Engine. The company has released Alignment Engine, a product to improve the management of complex IT projects.

Alignment Engine helps companies define objectives and criteria against which new projects can be evaluated. By using a scoring model and analytics, a project manager creates different projects and assess them for cost, time and for strategic importance. The product also works in reverse to determine how new projects can be supported within an existing IT budget.

Business Engine’s director of marketing, Kazim Isfahani, said that the software had been designed specificially with IT professionals and business managers in mind. "This is not the sort of product that needs tons of consultants and takes weeks to install," he said. "It’s very intutive."

The software can be used to assign new budgets to a project that has over-run, or even abandon a project that is rated a lower priority. Isfahani said that the product answered a problem with the way businesses were run: IT departments were project-led, while budgets were organised according to cost-centre. Alignment Engine went some way to bridging the gap between project and budget, he claimed.

The company has already got some major banking clients but the true value could lie elsewhere. In a world where a government-controlled seems to cost too much, over-run by months, or both, Business Engine’s claim would be interest much of the public sector.

But there’s a catch. Isfahani admitted that the company didn’t have any major government IT projects in Europe yet but said that Alignment Engine was perfectly designed for such ventures. "The interest from governments has been substantial," he said.

The product already has some analyst support. Matt Light of Gartner said: "Portfolio optimisation is a core competency for the IT organisation today. The benefits of better visibility and strategic alignment are a must-have for organisations looking to run the business of IT."