What is our primary use case?
We use the solution primarily for call logging and checking, but we also use it with other products that are related to CA. It's mainly for monitoring and event management from the infrastructure management perspective which integrates or interfaces into CA SDM for ticket logging. We also use it to check the SLA using what is referred to as the embedded service desk. We're about to introduce service catalog. It's one of the CA products that integrate nicely with it so we'll be using the new features of self-service and the xFlow engine. I'm an ITSM specialist and we have a partnership with Clarity SM.
How has it helped my organization?
From a cost perspective, we don't have a very big service desk. We have many service agents because there's a facility that allows people to log onto the system and raise their own tickets. It saves people from having to wait for the service desk. From the company perspective, it saves us resources in the service desk. From a cost perspective, it counts. The fact that xFlow has got the self-service that's linked to knowledge management, means people are also able to solve their own problems without necessarily requiring tickets through the entire life cycle of second line support. From a quick resolution point of view, that has helped a lot.
What is most valuable?
I like the self-service interface and the fact that people can raise and check their own tickets without necessarily having to call the service desk. They can check progress on their tickets and also have input in the life cycle of the tickets. That's one feature that I think I like most.
We are running a high availability deployment now and I like the architecture because it makes it easy from a maintenance point of view. You hardly have any downtime because of high availability. You just move your servers across to a secondary or primary environment, do your maintenance and bring it back without users even noticing. The nice thing is the feed into the inventory and discovery solutions that work so well. You keep your discovery data somewhere and you verify it before you bring it over to CA SDM.
What needs improvement?
We would love to see it integrating with other products like Splunk for log collection, integration to SMS facilities. It requires some effort for developers to get some of the things working because there aren't readily available APIs to interface with those. I'd really like to see Clarity more open to other products for purposes of integration.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using this solution for the past 15 years, before it was renamed Clarity.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We had some stability issues with earlier versions. Everything now runs on Windows and Microsoft products so it's much more stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The scalability is quite good. We are able to easily accommodate hundreds of analysts that that use the system simultaneously without any performance issues. You can increase it to thousands of users and easily incorporate other clients into the platform without really having to do a lot of work.
Our environment currently has about 450 analysts and 30,000 self-service employees. That means 30,000 people logging onto the system. In terms of USA, the number of employees that could be logged in at the same time at any given time could be around 500. But in total, we are servicing about 30,000 people who are using their self-service facility. The system has been able to handle that load without problems.
We plan to onboard all the new clients in their new CA Service Desk solution and we plan to increase usage in the future.
How are customer service and technical support?
They have 24-hour support and we have access to support from several countries around the world including South Africa. We know some of the support people because we've had a relationship with CA support for many, many years. They're what we call sustained engineering support. That's the kind of support that requires looking into the code of the application. Most of the issues are mainly troubleshooting issues around technical aspects here and there. We'll know when we go live if there's a problem.
How was the initial setup?
In terms of initial setup, if it's a totally new deployment and starting from scratch, it would have been much easier. We are basically migrating from an old platform to a new platform. For that reason, it takes a bit longer. It's straightforward if it's a new deployment, but not that straightforward if you want to take into consideration building it from other sources.
In terms of timeline for a new deployment, three months is enough. But, it has taken us more than that to get to where we are now. I think we've been six months on the project and we haven't gone live yet. We're about 80% there. We used CA services for the deployment.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I'm not so involved on the commercial side of things but I believe the cost could be improved. I'm not sure if it's a currency exchange rate issue but we are in Africa so it's quite expensive.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Although we are also running BMC Remedy and still have some clients hosted on it, I don't have much insight into it. I'm told that the latest version is run on a cloud platform, just like the CA SDM. I believe the BMC deployment is very quick, much quicker than the CA SDM deployment. That's a plus from a deployment point of view. In terms of functionality, it looks like the functionality is pretty much the same across the two products.
What other advice do I have?
Out of all the service desk solutions I know, the one I know the best is CA SDM so I may be biased. I know there are many other options like ServiceNow and ManageEngine. I use Clarity and I would recommend it because it does add value to the business.
I would rate this solution an eight out of 10.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?