What is most valuable?
ALM makes functional testing much easier for our customers. We tell them that if they use ALM, they will have a productivity gain of at least 40% compared to using traditional spreadsheets, Word documents, and so on. They also need it because their departments are getting larger and larger. They're not sitting in the same place, so they need a tool to combine their teams’ efforts. This is difficult if you are using Excel spreadsheets because you need to send them by email and make sure they have the latest version.
We see the advantage of ALM over Quality Center. You can have templates instead of having specific templates for each product. Once we define the workflow for customer X and the setup for that customer, we include all of that in the template. If we want to make a change, we change it in the template. We'll then do an escalation down through all of the various products so that each and every one gets updated. So it means that things are administratively much easier with ALM compared to QC.
With Octane, HPE is finally trying to combine the agile world together with the functional testing world. It also has an integrated ALI, which means that with Octane you have one point of view of your whole testing process. I see that this as very valuable because we're also competing with JIRA and so on, which has the facilities that we are trying to accomplish with Agile Manager.
JIRA is fancied by developers; so if a war starts between developers and testers, usually what we see - in Denmark, at least, - is that the testers are on the losing side. But if we can get Agile Manager on our side, then we can start competing with products like JIRA.
What needs improvement?
We should consider not being a testing tool as such. I know that with ALI, we integrated the customer's EDI - the Eclipse, SAP and Visual Studio - but we'll need to do that more. We need to get moving in that direction as well.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
ALM is a very stable product. The latest version we install at customer sites is 12.5.3. It's a very stable platform. We have no complaints whatsoever.
How is customer service and technical support?
Our customers do not generally use HPE support very often; and therefore it's a bit awkward for them to get started with it. They find it pretty difficult. That's not the worst part. The worst part is really when you finally get to someone to talk to, and then they're not qualified. So we instruct our customers, if that happens to you, you should say immediately that I want to escalate this to a duty manager, who can then take charge. It's not as bad as the time we tried to move all of our support functions to India. That was terrible. Thank God we got it back; but I don't think we are there yet. We need more qualified people to take first-line support.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We are the experts in Denmark. That means it's a bit easier for us because we know exactly what to do. Various customers use our services to do that for them because it can be very complex if you only do it on a rare occasion. If there is a customer who needs to upgrade from 11.5.2, for example, and they haven’t touched the administrator module for a couple of years, it is easier for us to do the upgrade because we do it all the time.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
HPE has failed desperately to offer a competitive enterprise for new customers in this market. If I have a new customer, three years ago I could sell them ALM site licenses. Now I need to sell them ALM global licenses, which is a hard sell because it is double the price. That just doesn't appeal for new customers. So I understand why they take JIRA or stick to Excel spreadsheets because HPE has priced themselves out of that market.
With Octane, you get more functionality; but it's like having Microsoft Word. How much of that functionality do you use? You probably use 20% out of the 80%. So I don't think that adding more functionality solves the problem. HPE desperately needs to get a low enterprise for new customers.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I believe that my largest competitor is our customers who are using Excel, followed by those who use JIRA.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
Jan 10 2017