What is most valuable?
PPM provides end-to-end processes for portfolio, project, and resource management. It allows you to ramp up, in a controlled manner, based on your organization’s needs. The ability to configure PPM gives you the flexibility to align it and its strengths with your particular needs and the nuances of your organization. You're not isolated in a siloed process that can't expand. You've got a process area you can work in and then utilize the configuration capability to meet your needs.
How has it helped my organization?
It provides visibility into what we're working on and the amount of time we're spending. It helps us validate our forecast for labor resources and milestones for delivery. That's our primary use now. We're moving more into areas of resource management and forecasting for one and two years out. That's our next area that we're ramping up in. It provides the product management and the high-level portfolio management visibility we need today.
What needs improvement?
I recently went to a conference to see what upcoming features are going to be. I want to see what the trade offs are. With any change, you're always dropping some type of feature or capability. The key is knowing, in advance, what that new feature is so you can make the proper plans, address those changes, and communicate them to ensure good collaboration. If we do that, we'll be successful.
For how long have I used the solution?
This is our third year using the tool.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far, we've had very favorable uptime usage. We haven't had any major issues with downtime. That's been a pleasant surprise. We're using it in a SaaS platform and we're pleased with what we're seeing. The configuration capability that it offers has been beneficial to us. We're starting to leverage the new reporting capabilities that let our users to be power users rather than having to staff a reporting organization to supply all our needs.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It’s a little too early to evaluate scalability. Thus far, it's been scalable for our organization. We have a solid relationship with CA and if we have any challenges or needs we have an open line of communication. We work with them and those needs are addressed as needed.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is very good. We contact them if we have an issue that's not easily identified and it’s resolved pretty quickly. We open a ticket and monitor it’s progress. We maintain a continuous communication loop with CA until the issue is resolved.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We wanted to leverage our existing relationship with CA. We were trying to consolidate in our vendors, which most companies try to do. Having a shorter list makes life simpler as far as planning and budgeting. The CA suite for PPM and Clarity was ranked up very high by several of the independent research companies so we evaluated it with other tools and it came out on top. We've been moving forward since then.
How was the initial setup?
I became involved mid-stream. The initial setup was already underway and I followed that through initial implementation into the growth and maturity stages of the processes, to align them within our organization.
It was a straightforward process. There was a degree of complexity because it was a different type process. Out of the box, it has a set procedure you need to follow. There are steps A, B, and C, and you're locked into that. With configuration, comes a degree of complexity. You have to be disciplined enough to build your processes first and then work on utilizing the tool, which is the right process to follow. It was a different method from what we had worked with in the past.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We considered several of the top vendors in that space that would be ranked in Gartner or Forrester. I won't mention what those are because they still have some relationship with us. All top tier, which spoke well for CA that they, from our perspective, came out on top.
What other advice do I have?
Regardless of the solution you're looking for, always think about what your process is. Define those processes and have a clear understanding of your goal. Document that, clearly state it, and get buy-in from the key stakeholders, because they're going to be the individuals that are key to helping drive adoption downstream once those processes are built. It's not about the technology, it's about the process. In this case, I think the technology supports the processes that we want to invoke now and in the future.
We're using it as an on-demand service. We're don’t have an on-premises install, so we're learning some things in that space, as well.
When selecting a vendor, the relationship is key. A solid customer relationship must be more than just talk. You have to be able to demonstrate it and practice it. I think we saw that early on in the partnership with CA and in initially setting up the solution and understanding what was required. I think that's key to success.