Serena ChangeMan ZMF Review

It simplifies things and has tight security but needs better technical support and a few enhancements

What is our primary use case?

Mainframe developers are users of it. They create their JCO and programs. They do their own compiles and all that stuff. We also have distributed applications. They submit the JCO to our code migration group, and they build the dock line, the JCL, to run through a middle piece network of the stone branch. So, mainframe developers are hands-on users, but distributed developers are not.

How has it helped my organization?

We're going through and recompiling our top 100 programs by CPU usage by using the latest version of the COBOL compile. ChangeMan has made it really simple to identify those and get those compiled and tested to see what our return is and how much our savings are. It has been really good at that.

What is most valuable?

We audit once a year for our ChangeMan access, accurate financial programs, and all of that. Auditors really love ChangeMan for how easy it is to get through and how tight the security is on it. Our internal auditors, external auditors, and SOX editors love this solution. We're in the healthcare business, so HIPAA regulations and all such things are a big deal, and this makes all that really simple.

What needs improvement?

As such, there's nothing wrong with the product. It is great, but there are small things that can be better to make it much more friendly.

The way you navigate through fields can be improved. If I'm going to stage a component over something that exists and that I've created in another library, and I want to pull it in and write it over what I've got there in my package, I've got to type in that data set name every time. That can be aggravating. It is not a big deal. 

The way things are sorted can also be improved. If you're doing a delete of a bunch of components, you can't sort those out by type or anything. Some things are just standard, and you can't look at them in a way that would be helpful.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We rarely, if ever, have any trouble with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use it only for the mainframe developers. We don't use all the distributed tools that are available. From the aspect of mainframe work, it has been very stable. There's not a lot of growth there. All the growth has been on the distributed side. That's where all the new stuff is coming in, but we don't use that part of ChangeMan. We don't have any plans to increase its usage. We're just going to keep it as it is.

In terms of the number of users of this solution, we have developers, managers, product support, and QA. We also have CSCS folks, DBDO folks, and Focus folks who keep Focus separate. Then, of course, there are the code migration and change management people. Around 1,500 people have direct involvement with it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is not so good. To be perfectly honest, that's one of the reasons we were looking at other solutions. We're not really happy with their technical support or customer service.

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

It was Pambelay. It was a half solution. It was an in-house written kind of tool.

How was the initial setup?

We've had it for 20 years. I started about a year or two before we got it. It was pretty involved and pretty complex. We didn't have a change management process for things like that. It was nowhere as formalized as this is. So, it was a big transition. It took us probably 18 months to get it fully integrated.

What about the implementation team?

We didn't use any outside consultants. We got help from Serena. Back then, we just used their conversion people, and, of course, we also had a developer going along with us. He wrote some manuals for other people at HCA to use and go through it.

We have two people to deploy and maintain ChangeMan. They're systems programmers.

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

It's on a yearly basis. I am not aware of any additional costs.

What other advice do I have?

I tell people who are new to the product and who are starting to use it that instead of going through all different panels, there are multiple ways to do the same thing. Whether it's adding components to packages, staging them, or something else, you can do it all from the list option five once that package is created and it is at a good central location.

The processes are important. Don't ad hoc anything, and make sure you follow the rules because ChangeMan has a baseline. I can go out and update something in the production library, and it will be there, but I got to do it through ChangeMan. It has to see it happen. All this is very important.

I would rate Serena ChangeMan ZMF a seven out of ten. Customer support and technical support have dropped that score to seven.

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