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Major Performance Improvements in CA Clarity 13.2

by Jonathan Allen on Apr 23, 2013 |

CA Clarity is an enterprise resource planning tool specifically designed for large IT organizations and consulting firms. It is heavily focused on cost analysis, enabling managers and executives to see how much each project and feature actually costs. In addition to on-going cost control and detecting runaway projects, it can be used to plan for future endeavors.

Portfolio Planning

The portfolio planning tool has been completely rewritten from scratch. CA cites performance problems as being the primary reason

In order to create a plan you need to first rank your projects. Then you select how many projects you wish to complete and the views estimate how much it will cost versus the budget you have allocated to it. The planning tools assume that multiple projects within a single portfolio won’t be acted upon at the same time, as that would lead to confusion and unfocused work within a given team. However, a separate portfolio can be created for each team and then they can be grouped together into a single plan.

Portfolios and plans can be updated manually or automatically to include past expenditures. They can also be duplicated, so you can experiment with different plans before settling on one to enact. This feature was request because normal task tracking tools (e.g. JIRA, TFS) normally don’t allow for “what if” planning.

Time Sheets

Since it is designed for consulting firms, Clarity includes support for time tracking and time sheet approvals. New in this version is the ability to approve time sheets using a mobile client, useful for employees at client sites or who simple forget to log their time while still at the office.

Open Workbench

Contrary to popular belief, development on Open Workbench hasn’t ceased. However, this release has been almost entirely focused on usability issues.

Clarity has also been updated to support Microsoft Project 2013, which is considered an alternative to Open Workbench.

Clarity Agile

Clarity Agile was updated to work better with SCRUM style workflows by creating portlets based around burn down charts.

In order to support capitalization, tasks in the agile tools can be automatically mapped to charge codes by task type. In the past developers would need to log their activities twice, once in the tasking tool and second time in the time tracking tool for billing purposes.

Performance Improvements

Though portfolios was the only piece that was rewritten, all of the major components have received significant performance improvements. Many of the tools and pages have gone from a completely unacceptable average response time of roughly 5 seconds to around 0.6 sec. Elsewhere, some long running batches for large installations have improved from 12+ hours to less than an hour.

The reason for these performance improvements is a conscious decision to treat performance as a critical factor throughout the development process. In the past they would complete the code first, then start looking at performance during the QA process. Under their new development philosophy performance testing happens prior to check-in for every change.

No Back-porting

Often companies will consider back-porting some improvements to previous versions of their product. As a result of this policy, companies can end up with multiple active branches. In the case of Clarity 12.x, there were 9 active branches.

So starting with Clarity 13, back porting will no longer be done. Rather than enabling and encouraging users to stay on old versions, CA is focused on keeping their customers up to date as new editions are released. This is part of their overall SaaS policy of frequent, easy upgrades.

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