CA Clarity PPM Review

Rolls up financials at the product level, helping managers track program and portfolio finances


What is our primary use case?

It is mainly for handling the project and financial management across the organization. Mostly it is the IT department of the company which uses this tool. We may have a user base, in all, of about 20,000 users. It is also used by all the vendors of American Express. We on-board them onto the tool, and then they are able to track their the time against all the projects which they are working on with American Express.

There are a lot of other use cases.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps all the portfolio managers and the program managers to take stock of the financial situation at the program and portfolio level, because it rolls up all the financials at the product level.

We also have integration with CA Agile Central. So we get all the project-related data and the user stories-related data into Clarity and we report on to that: How much funding is there, and how much are the actuals between these two tools?

The resource management, the program management, financial management. It combines a lot of things, all of them are of benefit to our end users.

What is most valuable?

I don't work as an administrator of the tool, so I can talk from the standpoint of the end users who actually use it. I think financial management would be one of the most important features of all of them, to keep track of the finances. Everyone runs against a budget. They have a particular funding, which they have to manage. So I think the Cost Plans, Financial Planning, those are among the most important features for most users.

What needs improvement?

I think a lot of things that you'd want to see were touched upon in the roadmap yesterday, which we attended here at the CA World conference, yesterday. With the new UI, the Sub-Object part which they plan to bring into the new UI, I think a lot of customers would be happy to implement the new UI for their companies.

Maybe they could improve the mobile app. I think right now it only offers time sheet. If they can integrate a lot of other components into it - and not only CA PPM, a lot of other companies are now focusing on the mobile apps - I think that would be helpful for the users.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think after the last upgrade, I think it was 14.2 or 14.3, the performance of the tool has improved a lot. I can see a drastic change in a lot of the stock jobs of the tool. And it has become quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When we started off - it's been almost eight, nine years now with CA PPM - at that time our user base was a lot more. But now with CA Agile Central coming into the picture, I think a lot of companies are making a shift of moving a lot of their user base from CA PPM to CA Agile Central. So it is cutting across various tools. It does not concentrate on a single tool.

How is customer service and technical support?

They are very helpful. In fact, we have a bi-weekly call with one of the representatives from CA. And when they are in town, we have a meeting with them and they are very helpful.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the initial setup, I think I joined a couple of months after the initial set up. But I've been there all throughout since then, including upgrades. The upgrades used to be complex. But now, I think it depends on upgrade planning. How often do you upgrade? If you upgrade once in three years, then it can be complex. But if you keep on upgrading as and when CA releases their upgraded version, I think it would be smooth.

What other advice do I have?

Regarding the new UX, we have not actually onboarded that yet. But, we plan to in the near future. From the administration team, we have seen it, we have implemented it in our sandbox environment, but it's not rolled out at the organization level yet. There is still a lot of planning to go into that.

Regarding the most important criterion when selecting a vendor to go with, I think it would be a long-term partnership that the company has with them. If we had already engaged with them in some other products and we see a value, then I think that would be the most important criterion.

I would say that you should first see the problem you are trying to solve in your company. I think if project, resource, and financial management are the things you are trying to solve, then it would be very useful.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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