What is most valuable?
Some of the features that we really like about the solution is that certain parts of it are pretty expandable and customizable. The support that we get from CA has been pretty good. We haven't had major issues with them, and they're really responsive as well.
The tool itself is an enterprise tool. It fits our needs and we can actually expand it out to the further campus, instead of just having one area of focus or one group using it.
How has it helped my organization?
Honestly, we started off just using one part of the solution, just using request management, and then gradually, as they've improved the application, we've actually started to use it more and more. Now, we use it for our change management, our problem management. We started to use the mobile application and the unified self-service. We've started to expand as CA has focused more on their ITSM tool.
This solution has helped align our overall IT and organization strategy because it got rid of shadow systems. Before, because we're the central IT department, every area kind of had their own shadow system or some way of doing change management, or some way of doing request management, or incident management. Basically, we kind of unified all our processes to bring down the cost. Everybody's on the same page. Everybody knows what's going on. Our outages have dropped. Our communication between areas has increased. It's been a huge benefit for us.
What needs improvement?
Honestly, I would like to see them really change the UI for the user experience for the Service Management piece, or the Service Desk Manager piece, to match the unified self-service, so it looks more modern and more sleek.
It'd be nice if they actually improved the mobile scalability, so if somebody goes to that Service Desk Manager tool, it actually will go right to a mobile website instead of an old PDA-style website. Those are some of the bigger issues that we've been getting. The UI just looks really dated.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
System architecture-wise, we changed our solution where, before, they had one type of server setup, which really had some stability issues, but we moved to their new advanced server setup and, so far, so good. We had really good luck with it. We've had some hiccups here and there, but nothing too major.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
With the new architecture that we have, scalability is a lot easier. The system's more adaptable now. We could drop in more servers if we need to, pretty easily.
How are customer service and technical support?
We've used their technical support quite a bit. Their technical support is good, depending on the tech that you get. There're some techs that, as soon as I see the tickets assigned to them, I'm kind of like, "I don't really want to deal with this person," but there's a bunch of them that are fantastic. They'll call you; they'll follow up with you.
I remember one time I was working with one of them, and we had upgraded and just installed a patch, and he walked us through the whole process. Their techs that are fantastic are fantastic, but they also have, you know, just like any organization I guess.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
When we first started, we really didn't have a solution. It was kind of easy just to say, "Hey!" We put out an RFP. We had about 15 vendors, and CA was obviously one of the larger ones. We had them come in and give us a demo, and they gave us more bang for the buck. We've been working with them ever since. As I’ve mentioned, with the upgrades, we've had hiccups, but they've been really easy going about sending technical assets if we needed technical assets.
The one thing I like about CA is, they're willing to work with you. Their service is huge. I really don't want to have somebody that's a stickler; that's going to be like, "Oh, well, this is what you got; this is all we can help you with." CA will sometimes, depending again on that technician, they'll go over and beyond, and help you out. Their sales folks are really good. We haven't had any problems with them. We reach out to them if we want a ticket escalated; they'll escalate it for us. They're pretty consistent on their communication with us, so it's really good.
How was the initial setup?
We've been using the tool, the CA tool, for about almost 10 years now. When we initially set it up, it was pretty straightforward because we came from nothing. We didn't really have a service management tool.
We’ve had some hiccups with the upgrades themselves. There were some growing pains. I know they're trying to do a unified installer, and they're trying to make things easier, but they're still not there.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We had one vendor – this is a long time ago – called iET and it made it to the final round. Their issue was, they didn't support Firefox; all they supported was Internet Explorer. They kept on telling us, "Oh, it's on our roadmap, it's on our roadmap." We waited. We delayed for six months until their "roadmap" was supposed to come out. They never did Firefox, so it was pointless; why are we going to only use Internet Explorer?
We had Remedy. BMC Remedy was one of them. They were a little pricey. One of the departments that joined with us had a bad experience with them.
FrontRange was also evaluated. FrontRange was pretty small at that time. They weren't really this big player as they are right now.
What other advice do I have?
Go in with an open mind. CA sometimes has a negative connotation just because it's a big company. Go in with an open mind and work with the sales person. Get one of their technical assets onboard so he can take a look and see what the system can do, because there's a lot more that it can do than what they actually try to sell you. Just go in with an open mind.
If I would have rated it a year or two ago, I would have rated it lower, because I felt like CA just totally gave up on ITSM service management portion. They kind of said, "Oh, well. You know, it's out there and that's it." Honestly, for the last year, they've been really doing a good job. I think they've become more agile. They've been doing a really good job of keeping things up to date, getting the customers more involved. They have a new customer form, where they allow you to vote on features and such.
They still have a way to go for them to catch up to other companies that are out there for their service management tools but I think they're in the right direction.