CA PPM Review

They also offer this as SaaS, which is a cost-effective way to implement only as much as you can utilize by having only the initial implementation team use the initial functionality.


Valuable Features

Administration, project management, NSQL queries and portlets, XOG data transfer, user community forum, sandboxes and documentation.

Room for Improvement

Make timesheets more user configurable and controllable, e.g. user-definable filters and user-selectable tasks as alternatives to the population algorithm.

Make the rights administration more comprehensive, covering also areas now outside it.

Add custom fields that can be populated with SQL query results.

Launch the planned lightweight GUI.

Update Open Workbench to the usability currently normal in Windows software.

Add a GUI for XOG client.

Use of Solution

20 years.

Deployment Issues

Normally, the installation is fairly straightforward. In some versions there have been some hickups which have been cleared with support or community.

Recent versions have arrived with recommended actions to ensure a smooth upgrade, which were not needed for earlier versions. In many instances, the organizations have made configurations and customizations which make the upgrades more challenging, but they are not in the vanilla product.

Stability is usually good out of the box. If the system is not maintained, that will result in reduced performance and problems. The current 64-bit version is very scalable, bearing in mind that a clustered environment with load balancers requires knowledge in that area. The development of third-party items such as Java JDK, Tomcat and browsers is usually so fast that the versions supported by CA PPM are not the most recent ones. That can be a problem for larger organizations that have standard environments in those areas.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Standard support usually works and there is even the possibility to chat with support online.

There are some very experienced professionals with CA and also with other organizations who are active in the user community forums and their help goes very deep into the product. Further, there are office-hour chats where you can ask questions from several CA experts attending. The support is good and the supporters skilled.

Initial Setup

The initial setup after installation is fairly straightforward. It depends on the functionality the organization wants to use, but I don't think I have seen the sequence elsewhere than the user community forum. The documentation covers installation walkthroughs, but after that, there are optional paths for proceeding.

Implementation Team

I am a member of the implementation team. Sometimes there is vendor presentation in the team, but not always and then there must be SME's with prior experience. Plain in-house teams do not have the required expertise for an initial installation. Learning through trial and error will prolong installation and especially initial configuration.

Other Advice

In addition to the on-premise offering, CA offers this also as SaaS (on-demand). In my opinion, that allows a cost-effective way to implement only as much as you can utilize by having only the initial implementation team use the initial functionality. Then, if so desired, you can extend the functionality, number of users and move to on-premise. With on-demand, CA takes care of the system maintenance, but the user organization is responsible for the data maintenance.

Some organizations think that when they hire an implementation with prior experience, the implementation is straightforward, which is not the case. Unless it is just a version upgrade, the user organization does not know the product and consequently does not know the best way to use the product for their ways of working. Therefore, a development environment for the implementation team is a must, as well as a system for testing the developed solutions.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am not a customer, but a freelance consultant and sometimes I have worked in CA lead implementation or upgrade or maintenance projects.
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