Micro Focus ALM Octane Review

Enables us to produce standardized reports, on a project basis, with one click

What is our primary use case?

Our use cases are test management, defect management, and release management. We also do quality management and we have started to put our Agile journey on it. That is something we started at the end of last year. We're putting more and more on it. We're doing Agile delivery and Waterfall delivery with it.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides us with a single platform for automated testing. We've integrated our automation testing with Jenkins to the pipeline module—parts of it, at least—and the other part is connected through the API. It makes the test you're executing very visible. It also enables you to centralize. When we report on a project basis, we're able to do it in one click for a given project. The graphs are standard for all the projects. You just click and you always have the same set of reports, tailored to that project. It fetches the data from that project. I don't need to click five times to find my report. I just click to the next project and my report is there with all the needed information in one view. 

That's what my release manager also loves about it. He doesn't have to click 10 links or 10 drop-downs to get a report. It really has it all together in one view. If we have a release we report it on a project basis, and we can also report on an overall release basis. The overall reports are also done with one click.

In addition, we use the solution’s Backlog and Team Backlog capabilities and the team is very much working together there, from the developers to the testers to the product managers. They're all working together in one space or one Backlog to deliver the functionalities or the features. This is a good thing.

Octane has also reduced manual testing time. We integrated a big part of the regression sets into the pipeline. There's room for much more. We've only scratched the surface.

And using it, we have been able to streamline a lot on the business side. We have business testing or acceptance testing, and for them it's less complicated and there is less effort needed to get their stuff done. It has reduced the cycle times which, in the end, reduces cost.

What is most valuable?

On the user side, what I like a lot is the reporting capabilities. There's no tool, to my knowledge, that gets anywhere close to Octane at the moment when it comes to the reporting capabilities. I can do everything with the reporting. There's nothing missing. I have all the options. I can create graphs, including graphs of several types and looks.

Octane provides out-of-the-box integrations to proprietary, third-party, and open source tools. The integrations are of high quality because we were easily able to integrate Jira with an additional tool. That connector tool is out-of-the-box and it's very easy to handle. We also integrated one of our in-house developed applications that has a rollout tool. The person responsible did it in one or two days with API connections. It was very easy for him. In addition, we integrated Confluence with Octane, using a self-developed script that is also based on the APIs. For people who know APIs it's very easy. 

Octane's Agile support at the team level is pretty good because it's very visible. The sorting and filtering are very advanced, which is something I miss on Jira.

What needs improvement?

There aren't major things that need improvement. It's more detailed things, minor tweaks and improvements. For example, updating items, sorting, bulk updates—these things could have a bit more flexibility, but it's still possible to do them. 

Also, for training, the proposed graphs in the dashboards could have some more explanation about what they're doing because not everyone is using the same metrics. This is more a training or knowledge thing, not a lack in the tool, and I already addressed it with my Micro Focus contact.

They improved some of the things I had on my list in the newest version. I haven't dug through the newest version fully yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started to evaluate Micro Focus ALM Octane at the end of 2019. We did the kickoff in January of 2020 to plan all the migrations to it. We came from ALM QC.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We had one issue that was due to a faulty, outdated script that overloaded the system somehow. Apart from that, Octane is as stable as it gets. We haven't had any downtime apart from that outdated script.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. Depending on the severity of your ticket, the feedback is almost immediate. And we can collaborate with them, show screens and share logs, and they come back with a solution. It has been a positive experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous solution, ALM QC, was outdated. Our company started our Agile journey and we needed to be able to support that journey and the Waterfall journey as well. Octane offered this hybrid model which was the clear selling point for it.

The native support for Waterfall and Agile software development was very important in our decision to go with the solution because we knew that Waterfall and Agile will co-exist for quite some time, and the tool had to be able to manage both in parallel. Also, for the future, it will still support what we want. If the shift goes more to Agile and less to Waterfall, the tool still has to support both of the methodologies.

How was the initial setup?

Because we came from ALM QC, and that tool was in use for quite some time, there were a lot of user-defined things and customization. Initially what we had to do was a cleanup on the QC side: what we wanted to take over and what we didn't want to take over. We really cleaned out stuff that wasn't needed anymore. That took one or two months. 

The actual installation of Octane was very quick and straightforward. The customization and configuration of Octane took about two months. That was because we were very new to the application. If I set up a workspace now, it's much faster.

We have 1,100 users and their roles are really across the company. We have project managers, developers, testers, release managers, and test managers. We also have business users and product managers on the Agile side. Any role you could think of is using it, apart from the C-level.

What I like a lot about Octane is that it's very easy to handle from an admin point of view. The maintenance is very low compared with ALM QC where it took several hours or days, even, to set it up and upgrade it. Those processes are very easy with Octane.

What was our ROI?

I compare it, still, with ALM QC, and there's definitely a return on investment on it. I see this leveraging more in the future.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The comparison is always with Jira, so the pricing of Octane is a bit on the higher side. But if you look at what you have to add to Jira, on the plug-in side, to have the same abilities you have with Octane, you're more or less even, or even ahead with Octane.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only looked at Jira. We had some concerns about its reporting capabilities and its task management capabilities, as well as managing Waterfall and Agile in parallel.

What other advice do I have?

You definitely need to prepare well, if you're going to implement it. Do a proper analysis of where you're coming from and what is still needed and what is not needed, and really kick out stuff that isn't needed anymore. It will make the whole migration to Octane easier when you have less historical data in it.

I see that our users like to add things and try new things because it's built in an open manner. When you add Python scripts and use the API connection, you have a lot of flexibility for doing certain things. I see some developers who like it and who like to experiment with how to work better on their side.

We have started a PoC on integrating the solution with our CI server for continuous integration and delivery. The CI/CD is working and we're fine-tuning it now. I hope it will give us a one-click approach where we can even execute the pipeline from the GUI, which will make it easy to use. My vision is that we have all the pipelines integrated in Octane and that we can trigger them from there to speed things up and have them visible for developers and for testers. This would also be a way they could collaborate more. We're not there yet. 

It has the potential to reduce integration costs by building a streamlined application delivery pipeline that is connected to all IDE, CI, and SCCM tools.

Octane can also provide a single, global ALM platform that supports all our Agile and Waterfall needs. We don't have all our Agile in yet, but it can. That's the vision: that we have them all in one tool. We're not there yet, but I see glimpses of hope. It has the potential to improve the quality and the speed. The potential is there.

It still has upside coming. Things are being developed. We are in the preferred partner program, so we see also the new features that are coming, which will facilitate daily work.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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