What is our primary use case?
We are the support team that administers the PPM tool, currently addressing over 3,000 customers in 28 different business units.
PPM is awesome. We do have an on-premise system and we use our developers that we partner with, both CA and one of the consulting agencies for them, to make sure that we're implementing things correctly and taking on things as they come.
What is most valuable?
Right now, it's the PPM piece of it, the scheduling, the Gantt, the task view. It gives that full visibility to the team. But we're wanting to take that further and start building upon the financial piece of it, doing extracts from contractors to employees, to determining resource planning and future planning, and doing "what-if" scenarios.
How has it helped my organization?
I think the biggest benefit right now is the reporting. It gives that quick visibility and it's consistent data; versus everybody just trying to go out there and look at their own individual pieces, looking at it as a whole.
What needs improvement?
We're looking at adding the Agile piece to it. I want to make sure that that integration is very smooth. And I'm here this week, at CA World, to see how that's going to play out for us. So, it's understanding, when we have multiple customers using both Waterfall and Agile, how that can come together, because we are still supporting HR, finance, and business planning for their outputs. Regardless of your methodology, we're going to be giving them streamline information.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability is awesome. Not to criticize any other tool, but we actually have some customers right now that are migrating from another tool because that tool has been down so often. Part of our success, we believe, is that our team administers the tool, we don't give out administrative rights to our customers. It's fully owned by our team, but we have a 99% "up" rate so we're very excited about that.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's nice that we have the options. We try to tell our customers not to "drink from the fire hose." It's important that they start off and have some discipline before they take on more. They come to CA World, they see all the exciting things and features, and they come back and say, "I want it all." So it's kind of my being the "pacemaker" for them. I have to say, "Let's start here and build off that," while building their disciplines. They're getting their PMs engaged because everybody adopts change a little bit differently. So we want to make sure we're doing it smoothly.
How is customer service and technical support?
Tech support is very good. We've had our challenges in the past with MSP interface connector, especially because we're on-premise and we've got configuration settings that are required. Sometimes it's an issue with the PMs themselves just not following instructions. But other times, you realize that there is a known issue or defect. Support is really quick to identify that, let us know, and either there will be a workaround, or we need to upgrade to the newest version.
Which solutions did we use previously?
Not in my current company. In my past life, we had been using a different PPM. And I was instrumental in doing the proof of concept. We interviewed several customers and put them through the gamut before choosing Clarity.
How was the initial setup?
I wasn't involved in the initial setup, but as a support team, my team will do a lot of the testing in the different phases of upgrades. We test it from an administrative standpoint, but also as a user, as a PM, different rights permissions. We'll swap those out to make sure that everything is fluid.
The updates are straightforward. We have a development team that helps to make sure that we're migrating properly.
What other advice do I have?
We're excited about the new UX. We're actually going to do the 15.3 upgrade in 2018.
When looking for a new vendor, our criteria include combining all the "asks" from our customers, but also with what we can manage. What's ready out of the box versus what we're going to have to customize. I'm a very big fan of CA's configurability. It's not necessarily something that is custom-built, but people can rearrange their filters, they can set up their criteria based on their needs.
I give it a nine out of 10 right now. I'm not giving it a 10 because I have to see how the Agile piece works. Past life, we were using Rally and CA PPM and their integrations were just really wonky, and we ended up backing out of it. That was kind of cumbersome. So we're looking forward, now that CA has obtained what was formerly known as Rally, the Agile Central. I'm very curious to see how's that going to overlay. If it makes me happy, it will definitely be a 10.
In terms of advice to a colleague, I would say know the data that you have and what you want your output to be later. I think it's important to think about the future, because if you start off - for clarity purposes - using that idea, there's not a step before that. So you really want to have to make sure that your idea is your goal-point from the beginning.
Also knowing what you want to extract from it later. Permissions and securities are going to have to dictate, "Are you going to access that?" or "Are you going to want your customers to be able to pull their own information?" Do you want to utilize partitions? Because everything has that downstream impact. If you know what you want or you think you know what you want, take that step back and look at your long-term goals and how they fit into it. From everything, from work streams to tasks.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Dec 06 2017