Compuware Topaz Workbench Review

Speeds up processes, makes the use of a mainframe that much easier

What is our primary use case?

We use it with mainframe. I'm a mainframe systems programmer, so we install the Compuware product onto the mainframe for our end users.

How has it helped my organization?

It speeds up processes, makes things easier, more efficient. From a mainframe perspective, the way the mainframe is utilized has become that much easier.

What is most valuable?

From a user perspective, the GUIs make it easier for people to see and interact with files on the mainframe. That's probably one of the most useful. It makes the mainframe a little bit easier to handle for new users.

What needs improvement?

I'm always looking for improvement in things like the documentation, to make things a little bit easier and simpler to understand, a place where people can go to troubleshoot issues.

From an installation perspective, the simpler the installation of the product, the better. I always feel like there is room for improvement on installing. I've noticed, occasionally, installation steps could just be wrong, and that's very difficult for us. It extends the time it takes us to install the product. When we install it with the directions provided, and then it doesn't work, we have to open a ticket to find out why it doesn't work, only to find out that the documentation was missing a step. That is something that always needs to be reflected on, and has room for improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't really encountered stability issues. The only time we have experienced issues thus far is that new releases will occasionally have a bug or two that have to be worked out. But once everything gets in, it's usually pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't encountered any issues with scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support has been good. We usually don't have any issues time-wise. People get back to us pretty quickly. The questions that we have had have been answered, and the problems that we've had have been fixed. I don't see any issues with support. I'm not the primary support person but my colleague who is hasn't told me of any issues that she has experienced either.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is a little bit more complex than some products, only because Compuware changed the way it does the installation. It has an overall product manager now, and everything else is managed underneath that. So the installation is a little bit different than it used to be, and that has complicated things a little bit. But hopefully, in the long run, it will make things a little bit easier, so it won't be a separate installation for every little thing. It will be one overarching installation. Time will tell.

What other advice do I have?

As always, with any product, I compare 

  • the ease of use
  • how easy it is to install
  • the usefulness to the user
  • how simple is it for them to understand

While we install the product, we don't necessarily use it. However, we have to provide support to the user who is using it. Our group supports 40 different products, so they need to be very easy to use, and I need to be able to look things up because I'm obviously not going to be an expert on 40 products. Installation manuals and documentation are crucial. That goes hand in hand with a company's support site. With 40 different products and however many different vendors, everybody has a different support site. Some are really easy to use and really great, and some are not at all easy to use. That is another piece that plays into my opinion of products.

I would go with an eight out of 10 when rating this product. Obviously, it's not perfection, but it's very useful, relatively easy to install and maintain, and we've had a good relationship with support personnel. That all goes hand in hand to say that it's a good product, it's worth the trouble of installing and maintaining.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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