Micro Focus ALM Quality Center Review

Enables us to have a single library where people can reference back as we go through multiple releases

What is our primary use case?

We started an SAP implementation about four years ago and it was selected as the test management tool at the time.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to us using Micro Focus for this program, my company had been using a lot of manual testing. So we had to reproduce or find scripts over and over again. Quality Center enables us to have a single library where people can reference back as we go through multiple releases. We are able to bring non-SAP systems into the fold as well and increase their productivity as related to testing and compliance.

What is most valuable?

Having used the tool before, I like the use of parameters, being able to do exports and reports of the data for monitoring of executions, and the defect management as well. I feel satisfaction in that area.

What needs improvement?

It's really customizable, so I don't know if we're using it well enough, but with the way requirements are managed, there's no inherent workflow or statusing native to the application. Reviewed and not reviewed is the standard. I would like to see the ability to manage the requirements a little bit better.

There were multiple modules to the solution so the requirements can map to test scripts but it can't map to test steps. If you've got a process that's set up and you've got multiple test scripts that are in it, each script has to be linked to the requirement and the whole set can't be. If we're doing process-driven testing, it's more difficult to do it at the script level, which is what we're finding from a traceability perspective.

Having a way to connect requirements to test steps would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Micro Focus ALM Quality Center for four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We haven't really had any major issues. We do have to go through the VPN just the way we have it set up in our network because we are using it within our network and not on the cloud.

Sometimes when we're in through the VPN, it runs a little bit slower, but I think that's just how all the networks connect. I don't think it's the tool.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has huge scalability. It's been used for multiple applications that we support from large SAP programs to a smaller system. It can be used as a single release. One of the bigger issues is the licensing approach. They have concurrent usage and it's very expensive. They should offer - and we've asked and they've said no - an enterprise-type license where you're not paying every time you want to bring more people into the solution that you know you're going to go over your license count.

We have to buy more licenses and more maintenance. If we could have at one point an enterprise-type tiered license, that would be more appropriate to be able to scale it up even more. People are moving to DevOps for a little bit more of an Agile approach, as well as that it's free versus the cost of an ALM.

At the peak of the project, we had about 300 people using the license as concurrent users. We had everywhere from testers in India and people offering scripts and executing testing. We also have our business folks doing UAT and our technical teams doing our functional testing. Then we have obviously our quality organization going in and verifying the results. We also have our developers utilizing it for defect resolution. So during testing, a defect can be identified, and then we have a separate type of license that's only for the defect module that the developers go in and they can find a cause and put notes against it. There's the test management team and really the whole program at that point.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a light maintenance agreement with Micro Focus for the application, but it's primarily for our e-signature capability because that was custom code and we really haven't had any tickets against it, maybe once a year. And we have a certain amount of hours that were allotted. We actually use that for enhancements to our workflows, they help us build that out. We haven't really had any direct needs to go back to Micro Focus for support.

It's a quick turnaround. They have remote access to our environment, they've changed over points of contact on who our support person is seamlessly over the years. They notify us. They let us know and they send us monthly reports on any activity that usually is zeros for them. But when we have needed them, it's a quick turnaround. We've been satisfied.

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

I've worked with HP Quality Center at a prior job.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved with it when it was first implemented for the program. I've worked on it in past companies, but it was forced to fit into meeting minimum requirements. So now, we're actually in the process of evaluating best practice and integrations with other tools such as Solution Manager and ServiceNow.

What was our ROI?

We haven't calculated ROI but the time it would take to go through paper documentation versus digital is huge. I don't have any quantitative numbers on that. We also were able to enable automated testing using Micro Focuses UFT, which writes back to ALM for results. The time it takes to execute in itself has a return as well, but the time value is really on the UFT. The write back to ALM and to be able to document results in a single location is key.

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

Depending on the volume, the annual maintenance costs vary on a percentage but it's around $300 a year per license for maintenance. It's at 18% of the total cost of the license.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have an ALM administrator, both technical as well as at the project level or at the application level available to support creating templates, doing a lot of the backend technical work administrative. If things do get blocked, you can push things through. So you do need two technical experts on staff to support the application.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that proper training and governance is not really the tool itself. It's how you use it. They pushed it in to satisfy a minimum goal. We utilized Parameters in our test scripts, but the testers then don't utilize them properly and then there's no governance that forces them to do it. Having the structure to support the application the way it's intended is really key.

I would rate it an eight (out of ten). Obviously there's always room for improvement, but it's an overall good tool.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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