CA Endevor Software Change Manager Review

Streamlines automatic building from source code to executable, and effectively migrates executables through the software lifecycle

What is our primary use case?

Primary use case would be that our application developers use Endevor for managing their mainframe software. They take their source code and they add it in to Endevor, and Endevor translates that source code into an output executable, and then from there it would get deployed to the various development areas, QA areas, and then finally to production.

What is most valuable?

I think the most valuable features are the automatic building from the source code to the executable, and the way Endevor migrates the executables through the software lifecycle. I'm looking at it at more from a company perspective, from Aetna's perspective, that's the big benefit there.

And as far as for me, because I'm an Endevor administrator, I actually have to use Endevor to administer Endevor, so I use it almost in the way our customers use it. It's a cool product. Very robust, very solid.

What needs improvement?

In terms of features, I know because I'm a validation partner with CA, where we see what's coming down the pike. 

I know there's been a lot of work that they're doing on the long name support. 

Unix systems services, that whole side of the z/OS Operating System. I know they've been really doing a lot of work improving that.

The ISPF interface, adding long name support to that. 

In addition, they've been doing a lot of work on the new GUI front end to Endevor, so you could have a developer that does not really have much mainframe knowledge, and they'd be able to go on to this GUI interface, it's called the Eclipse Plugin to Endevor, and they'd be able to get up and running very quickly. No need to possess those mainframe skills, because they're doing it almost like they're working on their own PC, but they're connected to the mainframe. And sometimes they don't even know it.That's something that they've been working on and improving over the past several years. Right now we have that in a testing area and it's been working very well.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is unbelievable. Over the years it's really improved dramatically.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability, it can handle a company that really doesn't have that many software assets, all the way through big companies like my company that can handle huge numbers of software assets. Very scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

I would rate them "excellent." Very satisfied. I call them and, usually within minutes, I get a phone call back. Typically I'm reaching the right person and they're knowledgeable. And if not, they refer it to the next level, but generally they can take care of it.

Which solutions did we use previously?

What we were using before was actually a CA product, a product called Panvalet, but that was like a prior generation of product, and Endevor is the newer type of product, so we went over to Endevor back in the '90s.

How was the initial setup?

Actually I was not involved in the initial setup at the company I'm with now, but I was involved in it with the company I was with before.

Back in those days - this was years ago - at that point in time, it was complex in a way because the product was so flexible. You really have to figure out what you want to do first, even without the product there, just figure out how you want to handle things, and then you take the product, Endevor, and you kind of overlay it on top of what you want to do at your company. But it's so flexible you can do almost anything you want with it. Sometimes that can add to the complexity, but once you have the knowledge of the product, then the complexity goes away.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There might have been a couple of products that we looked at back when I was at my other company, but Endevor was clearly - even in those days, back in the early '90s - the leader at that point in time. I can't even really recall what other products were part of the mix that we looked at. The other ones didn't really even last long, Endevor was the leader even back then, and I feel that they're definitely the leader right now, still.

What other advice do I have?

When our company is selecting a vendor, the criteria include

  • the actual software itself - to make sure that the software meets the requirements  
  • that the vendor is solid as far as the way they deliver on their support
  • that they have the appropriate service level agreements for support, and emergency types of procedures in place.

I have to give Endevor a 10 out of 10. The reason why really goes back to all the things I've talked about so far. It's just really robust, it can handle pretty much anything. A requirement we get from our customers internally, we're able to take that and translate it into something that is workable for our customers, using Endevor. It's very much open ended, and I don't really see any situation where we're not able to deliver on a customer requirement.

I would definitely advise to go with Endevor, no question. There are a few others on the market, Compuware has ISPW, which I really don't know that much about. There's ChangeMan, but I think Endevor definitely is the one. That's the one I know best, and I talk to a lot of people - I'm a member of the New England Endevor Usergroup - and in my view, it's number one, up there in the marketplace as far as what it does.

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