Home CA’s Clarity PPM v. 13: Not Every Business Task is a Job for the Cloud

CA’s Clarity PPM v. 13: Not Every Business Task is a Job for the Cloud

Way back in 1984, a company called Applied Business Technology Corp. produced a partly open source project management tool called Open Workbench. After it became part of a company called Niku in 2000, its resource management features had become leveraged for use for inventory of business applications. Big businesses – especially ones formed through mergers and acquisitions – ended up with more software than they knew what to do with.

By the time the former Computer Associates – now just CA Technologies – acquired Niku and made it into its Clarity division, application portfolio management had become one of Niku’s top selling points. This morning, as Clarity now officially enters version 13, it’s being offered for the first time as a service. But even with a cloud-based option, Clarity should not be thought of specifically as a cloud migration tool for business resources, but rather as a tool for first evaluating whether such a migration is necessary. This from CA’s own vice president for marketing, in an interview with ReadWriteWeb.

“I think there’s been this whole, kinda, hype where everybody’s heard, ‘cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud.’ It’s actually not cost effective to move everything to the cloud,” remarks CA Technologies Vice President Kelly Blice. “And it’s actually not necessary to move everything to the cloud, nor do you want to.”

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In a marketing push this week for the new Clarity Project Portfolio Manager version 13, CA is touting the product’s completely redesigned front end, which does appear to borrow some ideas from Salesforce. The new system is based around a modularized dashboard that digests data from multiple sources to produce a more streamlined summary. The feeling with previous editions has been that, as projects become more complex and as Clarity represents those projects, shall we say, faithfully, the responsibility for managing the data associated with those projects gets sloughed off onto the shoulders of the IT department.

The goal for v. 13 is to move the product back to its original, circa 1984 target audience: managers and business analysts.

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As an organization in transformation, Blice remarks, “I need to figure out what I need to take to the cloud, what needs to be working on the cloud and what doesn’t, and what makes sense when. That’s really what Clarity allows you to do. In a transformational way, what we’ve done is added functionality, both by making the navigation very, very easy for business users, for analysts, for managers making these decisions along with people who are actually using the solution.”

The catchphrase CA’s UI designers kept in mind, Blice tells us, as they were rebuilding Clarity’s front end was, “Two Clicks to Value.” Clarity users may have various roles within their organization – they may be project management officers (PMOs) organizing the portfolio (above), or personnel managers holding their staff members to changing milestones (below). For essential tasks in the program, they should only take two clicks to reach what they want. And for functionality that may actually be buried deeper than two clicks, users should be able to personalize their dashboards so that they are accessible in one or two clicks.

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In the first instance of social integration for Clarity, the service now adds the option to have the search for certain planning solutions be crowdsourced among multiple users.

“What we’re hearing from our customers is that a lot of times, they start with these concepts that they think are what the customers need, but somewhere down the line they figure it’s not. That could be [because] it’s not the functionality that they need, it’s not the service they need. It could be because we can’t supply them the time they need, because we didn’t get it. So what we’ve done to address that is, we have the ability to actually crowdsource and provide ‘ideation’ to a company. That allows them to understand what their customers want, and then with requirement planning, [assess] what their requirements are.”

In this context, the crowdsourcing concept lets multiple users, including the company’s own customers, collaborate in defining project goals. Social tools will be provided to let folks vote these ideas up or down. Think of Reddit for management.

The incorporation of ideation lets a Clarity v. 13 user itemize customer requirements, then experiment with varying priorities for meeting those requirements individually and over time, using these voting tools. The tool will project what resources would be utilized for each trial run, and when those resources would become available for other projects again. “If you prioritize them right, some other project isn’t going to come along and take all your resources.”

Clarity PPM v. 13 continues to be made available now in its traditional, on-premise format, or alternately as a self-upgrading service through CA Services.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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