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Buyer's Guide
Enterprise Agile Planning Tools
September 2022
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MohammedHashim - PeerSpot reviewer
Principal Architect at Brillio
Real User
Great innovation and helpful for portfolio management but needs more finance management capabilities
Pros and Cons
  • "The resource manager is useful."
  • "A major improvement we would like to see is definitely around agile management."

What is our primary use case?

Predominantly, we used to have something like Clarity in the past to maintain our project portfolio management, our demand management, and agility management. However, we were not too happy with the analytics and the dashboards in the past with the Clarity product, their PPM product. That is when we migrated to ServiceNow. The main use case predominantly concerns demand management, forecasting, and portfolio management. The whole ITBM right now is also known as Strategic Portfolio Management. It's the whole portfolio across the practice as an entire thing managed through that. It's our whole go-to platform for managing merger planning. It is an enterprise agile planning tool.

What is most valuable?

The most important feature for us is project portfolio management. That helps us manage and track the entire life cycle of a project or a program at an enterprise scale and across business portfolios. That has been the key differentiator which we use from the product. 

To look at the whole demand management perspective, now we are spread across the globe. We might have different demands coming in from the India region, from UK, APAC, US, et cetera. With this, we can figure out how to manage and forecast the whole business demand. That has been another major use case for us from a demand management perspective. 

The resource manager is useful. If we know the demand, we know the business, how do we tie that up with resource ramp-up, ramp-down? It is not just about a few FTEs. This also includes expanding to an ODC, looking at what we can track, and seeing our resource availability and allocation according to skills, geographies, and levels. The whole resource management has been very helpful in visualizing resources. 

There's lots of innovation within the product itself.

What needs improvement?

A major improvement we would like to see is definitely around agile management. They have improved over the last many years, in all fairness, yet there are many things they can do from an agile and scrum management perspective. 

What is challenging for us is managing the finance. We still depend upon our classic Oracle NetSuite for many of these financial planning and organizing. While many features exist in ServiceNow, it is not far along with what we have in the Oracle world. Predominantly, we have to manually write the scripts and all the custom rules for much of the whole financial annual planning and monthly planning. 

It's not out-of-the-box. There's a lot of customization, so I'll have to buy an expensive product like ServiceNow and then have a tech deck for it. I'll have to keep a big developer team on staff to build these things out. 

One of the things they should definitely change is the number of out-of-the-box options. The native feature that comes with this financial planning is something that needs to change. For example, if I have to see some of these permutations and combinations, like how I see them on a spreadsheet, I should be able to import them. Everybody doesn't log into the portal. I need to figure out: how can I do it manually, upload it, and then have the XLSM take these macros and run? That is the one automation I would definitely like to see.

The finance teams, they're well-versed in using Excel. I cannot go and insist to them that they should start using my folders. I would love to see some compatibility where we could have something like a spreadsheet in Excel and then put it onto ServiceNow and have it reflected. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for about five years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is stable. Once we have all the initial glitches and migration issues resolved, it's fairly stable. The product challenges we face are not from a whole platform perspective. It's only a customization perspective. Therefore, if I have customized more than a particular set of requirements, it takes a bit of time. If it's out of the box, I don't have to customize anything, and I'm ready to go. However, whilst we're customizing, the platform wouldn't be that stable.

ServiceNow, every six months, launches a new release, a major release. What happens is when the new release comes, for me to upgrade and transition to the new one takes a long time due to my heavy customization. 

From an availability perspective, is stable. However, from a service availability, that upgrade cycle is usually much longer whenever we have to upgrade. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is straightforward. You can scale up and down. That should not be a problem.

We do a true-up every month. We know how many licenses we are using. We are in total control of the ramp-up and ramp-down. We are good with that.

We have between 50 to 100 people on the solution. 

I would love it if folks used it daily; however, they login in once a month for the monthly and fortnightly reports. The number of diligent users would be about 20 users. They use it for finance, procurement, and all these things.

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

We also use Jir, which does an interesting job as well.

The business angle is well defined in ServiceNow products. Azure DevOps or other things are moving from a technical to a semi-technical area, where I cannot bring my business or financial teams to log in and get that focus. The biggest differentiator compared to other options is that it's predominantly from a persona approach. I can actually personify my platform for technical teams, semi-technical teams, and business teams. That has been the biggest value differentiator compared to other tools like Atlassian, maybe Clarity, or even Azure DevOps. 

On the flip side, when I go to my technical teams, they would love to, obviously, log in only to an Azure DevOps or Jira option. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly complex.

We thought we could have everything ready in six to eight weeks' time. However, it literally took us almost six months.

In all fairness, there are some things we also realized afterward. We are premium partners. We realized that, while we say out-of-the-box, it is not actually out-of-the-box. If you are staffing an organization from scratch, it is okay. However, we were already using Clarity and, obviously, spreadsheets. One of the issues which we face was a mindset from people who suddenly had to start using it when they already had methods. 

Discounting that fact itself, many of the customizations and all those modules, configurations, parallel runs, and then going live and cutting over took us more than we thought. 

The configuration of the product takes time. What happens is, while ServiceNow claims everything is out-of-the-box and everything can be easily achieved, many times, for some customizations, we had to raise a ticket with the actual ISVs, or the vendors and then add that. And we have an in-house ServiceNow team. We are not beginners.

We know ServiceNow pretty well. In spite of that, if you have to refer to ServiceNow, it means it's still not that user-friendly compared to others. They're in that space, they're evolving. However, it's more from the configuration perspective where you run into issues. I'd rate the initial setup at a or 2.5 to three out of five. It's not easy. There's a moderate amount of difficulty. 

What was our ROI?

The ROI is quite high as I can have my team members all on one portal. 

With this product, I have a unified integrated view across geography, across teams, and that helps. That itself allows them to collaborate together. Apart from that, from an ROI perspective, some of our planning and forecasting have been much more streamlined. If you look at ROI from that perspective, it's high.

I'd rate the ROI at a four out of five. It's quite good. 

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

Since we are a managed service provider, we buy it annually. 

While we might charge back to the business and charge back to our end. We also have some business people, consumers, and customers. For them, we do it monthly. From our direct contracting perspective with ServiceNow, it's an annual fee.

The cost of the solution should not be more than $50,000 annually. 

We use the high-end version; we don't use a standard version. We have many other integration hubs and other things, so it's a bundled product.

From a dollar-to-dollar comparison, they're expensive. They're actually more expensive than, probably, Clarity. They're actually more expensive than whatever you have from a portfolio management option from Atlassian. However, if I look at the whole ROI, it is reasonable. That said, of course, we would love it if the price was reduced.

I'd rate the solution four out of five in terms of value for money.

What other advice do I have?

In ServiceNow, since we are an MSP and a premium partner with ServiceNow, we pretty much cater almost to the entire suite, or at least the entire ITX. That's IT Service Management, IT Operations Management, IT Asset Management, IT Business Management, and then more or less the governance risk and compliance aspects.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Flag as inappropriate
Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Easy to use, stable, and helps speed up production
Pros and Cons
  • "Typically the sprints themselves and managing the tasks have essentially eliminated our need for reporting."
  • "Some of the queries, the way they're built, need to be looked at. We need better query tools."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for our Agile teams, however, we started off using it with our executive suite. Our executive team now meets in sprints every day. Sometimes it's a short 15 minutes, other times it can be up to an hour. We have two-week sprints and daily scrums associated with it. We've also rolled that down from the executive. We've got seven formal Agile teams running throughout the organization across our businesses. We probably have at least 40% of our staff now trained in Agile and using DevOps to execute the projects.

How has it helped my organization?

As an Agile team, we're now able to move much faster than we could, even pre-COVID.

What is most valuable?

Typically the sprints themselves and managing the tasks have essentially eliminated our need for reporting. That in itself has had a huge effort on the number of meetings. In the past, you would almost wait a month before you could get all the executive teams together. Now, we've got meetings daily. Due to the regular meetings, we're utilizing daily scrums and two-week sprints, and we've been able to move a lot faster than we've ever had before as far as initiatives. 

Frankly, throughout this whole COVID situation, being able to respond the way we have to some of the changes that were going on has been amazing. I don't think that would have happened if we weren't an Agile team.

What needs improvement?

There are a lot of features that we could probably work with a bit differently as we learn more about the tool. Right now, we're just really using it from a task management perspective. We've only been using it a year. There may still be more to learn and unpack.

Some of the queries, the way they're built, need to be looked at. We need better query tools.

Being able to report back to boards, to regulators, and the activities and stuff would be helpful. The queries do require somebody else to actually write them. There should, however, be a way to make things a little simpler in that space. Right now it's on us to figure out how to get better at making queries effectively and in such a way we're just not reporting on tasks complete.  

We track the associated feature story. In many ways you can actually go back and see the story, and see the progress you've made on initiatives due to the fact that you can see all the decisions that have been made along the way. If there's a way that person could dig into that and pull more information or insights, that would be very helpful as it would assist us in improving future projects or even help us forecast on an existing project. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I use the solution daily. We launched it in the company in January. We've been using it across all our Agile teams here for 12 months here.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. I haven't had issues with bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's a reliable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution's level of scalability is good. We're a smaller organization. We've only got 300 people in total, and out of those, probably 40% of our entire staff use the product. About 120 people probably are in there on a daily basis. That's everyone from executives down to programmers. It's extremely cross-functional across our organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had to reach out to DevOps themselves personally, so I wouldn't have experience there. However, if we ran into any issues, my technology teams would contact them.

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

We didn't previously use a different solution. That's why we looked for an automation tool. We switched to DevOps mostly due to the fact that our development team was utilizing DevOps as part of their own Agile operations. A number of teams were also already sort of experienced. There are a number of individuals in the company who were experienced that way, and we had homegrown support in some ways when we launched it. It just made sense to go with DevOps as opposed to bringing in something new.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't complex. It was pretty straightforward. We didn't run into any issues that complicated the process of implementation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at Jira briefly, however, it didn't look that different from DevOps and we knew many of our team members were already comfortable with this solution so we didn't pursue it.

What other advice do I have?

We're just Microsoft customers. We don't have any business relationship with the company.

I'm not sure which version of the solution we're using.

I'd strongly recommend the solution to other organizations. I can't see us ever reversing back now after being on this for a year.

Overall, I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten. It's relatively easy to use and it does what we need it to do.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Independent Contractor
Real User
Top 20
It's a flexible solution that scales from traditional agile to SAFe
Pros and Cons
  • "Agility is highly flexible. It can do much more than what our client is doing with it. They use it in a defined way. Some at that company have a much broader knowledge of agile and SAFe, but they're given applications and a mandated way to work. We had to work within their parameters and provide an accurate transition so the data would be mapped and pushed through."
  • "In my work as a contractor, it's always frustrating when a client has multiple software applications that don't talk to each other and they all perform the same function. That presents a huge challenge between their IT groups."

What is our primary use case?

Our client uses Agility in a highly defined way, but it's not flexible. That's what we brought to the table. We handled the transition and mapping to take data from Jira and define a mapping solution in Digital.ai then push that upstream through to Clarity. Then we map the data to terminology because the hierarchies are very different between safe and agile.

They're a siloed organization, but the C-suite executives don't care, and they're not going to change that. They're unwilling to change their software, but they want reports, so they brought us in to reconcile this and push the data that they need to file their financial and forecasting reports. 

Even though if, in the strictest methodology sense, it didn't make that much sense but from reporting it was able to push the data. You wouldn't normally mach, for instance, a feature to an epic. You wouldn't do that because they're not at all the same. Things like that. They took terminology from Jira and they mapped it through to Agility and then took from Agility and mapped it up to Clarity. Actually, that interface was done first, the Agility to Clarity.

What is most valuable?

Agility is highly flexible. It can do much more than what our client is doing with it. They use it in a defined way. Some at that company have a much broader knowledge of agile and SAFe, but they're given applications and a mandated way to work. We had to work within their parameters and provide an accurate transition so the data would be mapped and pushed through.

What needs improvement?

In my work as a contractor, it's always frustrating when a client has multiple software applications that don't talk to each other and they all perform the same function. That presents a huge challenge between their IT groups. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I did not use Agility before this current project, so I've only been using it for five or six months. I don't have a lot of hands-on experience with Agility, but I know Rally and Jira like the back of my hand. In the past, I worked on a project where we used seven versions of Jira, and I had to define a new methodology for the company. 

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

I've used Jira and Rally in the past, but we're using Digital.ai because it's crucial to our clients. Agility can scale from traditional agile to SAFe. Jira is great, but it's so customizable that you can get into trouble sometimes. At the same time, a lot of companies use Jira. I'm not a flag-waving fan of Jira, but it was the first one in that space, and that's how it got its hold in the market. Today, a lot of other great products have come along. I like Agility's scalability and flexibility. Honestly, I even like Rally better than Jira.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved with the setup. I just deal with the mapping components.

What other advice do I have?

I rate Digital.ai Agility eight out of 10. Before implementing Agility, I would consider your use case and requirements. What were you going to use it for? Is it strictly internal? Are you working with lots of other clients that might default to Jira? 

I recommend defining your use case and deciding if Digital.ai Agility is suitable. I prefer Agility out of the three applications we work with because it has the most flexibility and can work at a higher level. It can also be scaled to profile for either SAFe or standard agile. Having something flexible and scalable gives a company a better opportunity to have a support application that can be used by different business units or technology units within the firm. I recommend doing your homework, looking at requirements, and making decisions. I rank Agility among the top five.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Vice President Delivery - Enterprise Solutions and Infrastructure Services at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Lacks sufficient customization ability; overall management is good

What is our primary use case?

We use Workflow to manage all our agile project management; all our development is managed through this solution whether it's the stories, the hydration, the tasks, the defects. I'm the vice president of the company and we are customers of Workflow. 

What is most valuable?

Overall, Workflow allows us to manage our stories, sprints, hydration and releases. It's good for that. 

What needs improvement?

One of the downfalls of this product is that we are not able to customize it for our specific requirements. I'm not sure whether that's an issue with the product or with the company's implementation. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable but sometimes very slow. It takes a long time to run reports and a lot of time is wasted.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is not great, a lot of our reports just do not run because there's too much data. We have around 50 users in our section with various roles including delivery manager, developers, quality control, scrum masters, they all use Workflow.

How are customer service and support?

We don't deal with customer support, we have an internal team that manages any problems. I'm not sure if they contact IBM or have their own expertise but they resolve any problems for us. 

What other advice do I have?

From my experience, Jira is a better solution than Workflow because it's more flexible. 

I rate this solution four out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Enterprise Agile Planning Tools
September 2022
Get our free report covering Atlassian, Smartsheet, Microsoft, and other competitors of JIRA Portfolio. Updated: September 2022.
632,539 professionals have used our research since 2012.