What is most valuable?
Its strength is all the different features it offers. It's kind of a one-stop shop solution for project managers, resource managers, and finance department personnel. There are a lot of different uses for the tools; and it enabled us to consolidate our list of tools from five or six tools down to just PPM. We're managing one tool with one person managing it as an administrator, instead of having two or three administrators for each tool, with manual processes, and so on.
It is much more streamlined, with a lot more automation, and it’s just easy to use.
A benefit of the SaaS version is not needing to deal with any of the standard on-premise issues that you have. We can rely on the vendor to do a lot more of the upgrade work and things like that. I don't feel like we're pressured, like we would experience with some of the other SaaS providers out there, to be on the latest version or pick up any other applications that go with it.
It just costs much less, and it's as reliable as if it were on-premises. We don't have to pay for the hardware cost. We don't really have to support any of that. It's just a matter of giving them a call and asking for whatever it is we need.
How has it helped my organization?
When you look at it, it saves us a ton of money. Fewer FTEs to manage the different products or tools. As I've mentioned, it's a one-stop shop. As a project manager, I can go in and do all the administrative work that I need to do; instead of doing it manually over spreadsheets, uploading it to SharePoint, and so on. It's just a lot more straightforward and convenient.
We're actually releasing two different funding portfolios. Right now, I think we have between 10 and 13 in the company. As we're going through each of the funding portfolios, we're evaluating what they're doing today. We're not only just making them use PPM, but we're streamlining some of their processes and weeding out some of those things that we used to do solely because they are used to doing it that way. The funding portfolios are becoming much more efficient. We're re-evaluating what the value is of everything that we do today. As we streamline it, we put it in the PPM.
What needs improvement?
It needs to provide a more mobile-friendly user experience. There could maybe be a little bit more around Jaspersoft reporting. I know Jaspersoft is kind of decoupled from PPM, but reporting is one of the big draws for us. It would be nice to be able to do all our project management, and then report on it, using the same tool. If they could keep building out Jaspersoft, that would be great.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We have no issues with stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We're going from a few hundred users to several thousand in a few months. We haven't done any stability testing, or anything like that, with around three thousand users; but we know that there are other companies which do use that many people; so we're not too worried about it. We aren’t experiencing any issues today.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support has been average. We do a lot of investigation on our side before we use CA support. Our assumption is that if we can't figure it out, they should probably be able to. A lot of times, it takes a couple of days before we even get a decent response, or something that gets us closer.
It almost seems like we need to rely on some of the contractors that we use, such as Regal Consulting to answer some of our more in-depth questions.
Their whole support model seems to be a little bit fractured, I guess. Depending on the issue we have, we have a completely different experience. I would say there are some frustrating aspects of that and we're not always confident that we're going to get an answer to any of our questions.
We hope the expertise will improve. As we get more and more in tune with PPM, we're answering more of our own questions. I'll be honest.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We didn't have any real solution in place. We saw the need for a tool to take on all these different responsibilities, and PPM just happened to fall into place.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I wasn't around for the vendor selection. I know we looked at a Microsoft product and then there was one other one. I think what it came down to was this: Microsoft was cheaper because of the deal we have with them, but CA PPM fit more of what we're looking to do in terms of our long-term vision. It was going to fit a little bit more. It was more aligned with what our company was looking to do.
What other advice do I have?
My advice would be to make sure that you understand the tool before you start fitting everyone or moving everyone to it. If you don't understand the architecture, it can cause a lot of rework in the future. Truly understanding the tools is important while having experts that understand the tools is critical.