CA Clarity PPM Review

It is easier to use than most other products that are out there, but the community does not provide answers to my questions


What is our primary use case?

The use case is for us to be able to use PPM for its "true" program and portfolio management. We have not used it like that in the past. We want to get back to using it the way it was originally designed.

I would say to date, because we are on version 14.4, it has been doing what we need for it to do. We are looking forward to moving up to 15.3 with more of the capabilities.

How has it helped my organization?

It is easier to use than most other products that are out there. It will provide us the transparency we need in our organization to see how work is being managed and moving along.

We are also trying to do an integration with Agile Central because we are moving into that transformation. For us, it will be interesting to find out how we use both systems: Who is in what system, who is in the other system, and how all that data will flow.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the portfolio management tool and the new project management, and the way it will all look from the user experience.

What needs improvement?

We are so configured and so not out-of-the-box that we have not been able to utilize a lot of the functionality because we are so customized. It does not work like we would like for it to work, but we know that we are mostly responsible for that. We want to move away from this and move back to industry standards.

If you want to transform to agile, these are the roles that should be in agile: 

  • You need your scrum master.
  • You need your team. 
  • These are the ways it should be mapped into PPM.
  • This is the data you will want. 

It is almost like giving us those little details that we all kind of scratch our head and go alright, how would we do that? They have tested this. They have gone through lessons learned with other companies. Share that, so we are not making the same mistake.

They should say, "Hey, we have companies that did this. It did not work. You might want to consider doing this." Almost like a little cheat sheet on how to bring the systems together and things to think about. Because, like our company, we didn't know what we didn't know yet, so we are taking very infant steps and we are getting stuck on some really simple questions that I am sure that CA has resolved. 

However, we want to know. Share them with us!

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I do not see any issues. I think if you were to ask my application manager, she said they have had some downtime issues. I am not on that side, so I have not seen any problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some performance issues in our financial areas, but we are not using the out-of-the-box financials. We are using our own. So, we have to kind of rip that out and put ours in. In that specific area, we have been asking and we are trying to get some stuff optimized, because it just takes a long time to get data.

How is customer service and technical support?

I know our application manager is working with the technical support team. They have been trying to look at doing some things, but I have not heard what solutions they have been coming up with.

In the community, I do not see a lot of answers. A lot of people asking lots of questions, but I am not seeing a lot of answers come through.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We were on an older version of Clarity, version 9.

How was the initial setup?

I was there in the initial set up of our upgrade, so we upgraded to 13.4 and I was part of that.

It was not straightforward. It was complex because we pretty much upgraded from our old version. We could have done a lot more out-of-the-box functionality, but we chose not to.

It was hard. Even the lessons learned from CA were like, "Wow," this was a lot bigger than we thought it would be.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have different tools that we use at where I am at, so we use different PPM tools, but the goal is eventually to move us all to CA PPM. It is just because we are using that as more of a global tool. Some of our other areas of our company use different tools, and we are just trying to get them off of that and really focus on using the PPM tool.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have a really good roadmap of what you want the tool to do for project and portfolio management, which is really what it is supposed to be doing. From a financial, what kind of data you would think. From a resource management, what you expect. There are other systems, like PeopleSoft. A lot of people use PeopleSoft. That is your true resource management system. It should not be used as a PPM. For finance, a lot of people use Oracle, and other things. That should be your sources system, it should not be PPM, so do not make PPM more than it is supposed to be.

Use the other source systems to feed data into PPM to get what you are looking for from a financial transparency of the work that you are delivering. That would probably be the number one thing, because we did not do that.

Then I think the number two thing is you have really have to get with a partner that knows the industry and does not just say they know the industry. They can actually give you the data to back it up.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: I need a vendor that will partner with us. Not just show us a new shiny tool, then walk away and we have to figure it out. I need somebody that will teach us to crawl first, then walk, and finally to run. Being there all the way with us. Not giving us a nice presentation and then we are on our own. That is where we will kind of get stuck.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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