CA Technologies revises Clarity interface

CA has revamped Clarity so it can be used by business managers in addition to its traditional IT user base

CA Technologies has updated its CA Clarity Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software with a new user interface, one that the company hopes will appeal to a broader set of business users.

The potential audience for PPM software has expanded in the past few years, said Kelly Blice, a CA Technologies vice president of marketing for portfolio management software and services.

"Five years ago, IT people were used Clarity to manage or work on a project," she said. "Now the business leaders are using it."

Originally, IT departments used the software to manage their IT projects. PPM software can be used to keep track of the work hours spent on a project, to summarize how far along the project is toward completion, to alert managers about impending deadlines, and to get an estimate of how much money is being expended on a project. Now the software has found a second home in many organizations' project management offices, where it can be used to watch over non-IT business projects as well.

To this end, in Clarity 13, CA Technologies has re-engineered the Web user interface of its software in hopes of making it easier for non-IT business managers and analysts to use. The idea is to allow users to get to the data more quickly than they could using previous versions, Blice said.

In particular, the software allows users to create their own dashboards via a drag-and-drop interface, which allows them to highlight the data they are most interested in following. The menus have also been streamlined so that users can get to information more easily, through two clicks rather than 10 or 11 clicks that the previous version often required, Blice said.

The built-in charting capability has been streamlined as well. It now can present information as a Gantt Chart, a type of bar chart used for showing how far along a project is to completion. It can also present project milestones in graphical form, as a visual roadmap.

In addition to a revamped user interface, the software is now integrated with Salesforce.com's Chatter hosted collaboration space, which allows participants to search for other experts in the organization, to collaborate on documents and to follow items of interest, such as ideas, requirements and tasks, from their desktops and cell phones.

Clarity 13 is the first major update of the software since Clarity 12, released in 2010. It is available as both software and as a hosted service from CA Technologies itself. The price of the on-premise version starts at US$125,000, for 100 users. Additional users can be added on a per-seat price. The CA Clarity PPM On Demand service starts at $50,000 per year, for 100 users. Additional users can be added on a per-seat basis.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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