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Clarity SM OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Clarity SM is #10 ranked solution in top IT Service Management (ITSM) tools and #11 ranked solution in top Help Desk Software. IT Central Station users give Clarity SM an average rating of 8 out of 10. Clarity SM is most commonly compared to ServiceNow:Clarity SM vs ServiceNow. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 35% of all views.
What is Clarity SM?

Service desk capabilities, an integral part of the CA Service Management solution, can enable you to deliver efficiencies in IT service management to business consumers, power users and decision makers. Mobility and collaborative self-service capabilities provide a modern user experience for accessing services and performing tasks, which can help drive user adoption, satisfaction and productivity.

Learn More: https://www.ca.com/us/products...

Clarity SM is also known as CA Service Desk Manager, Clarity Service Management, CA Service Management, Unicenter Service Desk, CA SDM, CA Service Catalog, CA Business Service Insight.

Clarity SM Buyer's Guide

Download the Clarity SM Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Clarity SM Customers

Banco G&T Continental City of Perth, FEMSA, Fujitsu, Manpower, Muslim Commercial Bank - MCB, Punjab National Bank, Santa Clara County Social Services, Stefanini

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Clarity SM Reviews

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Makhosonke-Matshoba
ESM Specialist at Gijima
Real User
Top 5
Saves us time and money with a great self-service interface

Pros and Cons

  • "Self-service interface means people can check their own tickets."
  • "It doesn't yet have the ability to integrate with other products."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution primarily for call logging and checking, but we also use it with other products that are related to CA. It's mainly for monitoring and event management from the infrastructure management perspective which integrates or interfaces into CA SDM for ticket logging. We also use it to check the SLA using what is referred to as the embedded service desk. We're about to introduce service catalog. It's one of the CA products that integrate nicely with it so we'll be using the new features of self-service and the xFlow engine. I'm an ITSM specialist and we have a partnership with Clarity SM. 

How has it helped my organization?

From a cost perspective, we don't have a very big service desk. We have many service agents because there's a facility that allows people to log onto the system and raise their own tickets. It saves people from having to wait for the service desk. From the company perspective, it saves us resources in the service desk. From a cost perspective, it counts. The fact that xFlow has got the self-service that's linked to knowledge management, means people are also able to solve their own problems without necessarily requiring tickets through the entire life cycle of second line support. From a quick resolution point of view, that has helped a lot.

What is most valuable?

I like the self-service interface and the fact that people can raise and check their own tickets without necessarily having to call the service desk. They can check progress on their tickets and also have input in the life cycle of the tickets. That's one feature that I think I like most.

We are running a high availability deployment now and I like the architecture because it makes it easy from a maintenance point of view. You hardly have any downtime because of high availability. You just move your servers across to a secondary or primary environment, do your maintenance and bring it back without users even noticing. The nice thing is the feed into the inventory and discovery solutions that work so well. You keep your discovery data somewhere and you verify it before you bring it over to CA SDM. 

What needs improvement?

We would love to see it integrating with other products like Splunk for log collection, integration to SMS facilities. It requires some effort for developers to get some of the things working because there aren't readily available APIs to interface with those. I'd really like to see Clarity more open to other products for purposes of integration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for the past 15 years, before it was renamed Clarity. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had some stability issues with earlier versions. Everything now runs on Windows and Microsoft products so it's much more stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good. We are able to easily accommodate hundreds of analysts that that use the system simultaneously without any performance issues. You can increase it to thousands of users and easily incorporate other clients into the platform without really having to do a lot of work. 

Our environment currently has about 450 analysts and 30,000 self-service employees. That means 30,000 people logging onto the system. In terms of USA, the number of employees that could be logged in at the same time at any given time could be around 500. But in total, we are servicing about 30,000 people who are using their self-service facility. The system has been able to handle that load without problems. 

We plan to onboard all the new clients in their new CA Service Desk solution and we plan to increase usage in the future. 

How are customer service and technical support?

They have 24-hour support and we have access to support from several countries around the world including South Africa. We know some of the support people because we've had a relationship with CA support for many, many years. They're what we call sustained engineering support. That's the kind of support that requires looking into the code of the application. Most of the issues are mainly troubleshooting issues around technical aspects here and there. We'll know when we go live if there's a problem. 

How was the initial setup?

In terms of initial setup, if it's a totally new deployment and starting from scratch, it would have been much easier. We are basically migrating from an old platform to a new platform. For that reason, it takes a bit longer. It's straightforward if it's a new deployment, but not that straightforward if you want to take into consideration building it from other sources.

In terms of timeline for a new deployment, three months is enough. But, it has taken us more than that to get to where we are now. I think we've been six months on the project and we haven't gone live yet. We're about 80% there. We used CA services for the deployment. 

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

I'm not so involved on the commercial side of things but I believe the cost could be improved. I'm not sure if it's a currency exchange rate issue but we are in Africa so it's quite expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Although we are also running BMC Remedy and still have some clients hosted on it, I don't have much insight into it. I'm told that the latest version is run on a cloud platform, just like the CA SDM. I believe the BMC deployment is very quick, much quicker than the CA SDM deployment. That's a plus from a deployment point of view. In terms of functionality, it looks like the functionality is pretty much the same across the two products.

What other advice do I have?

Out of all the service desk solutions I know, the one I know the best is CA SDM so I may be biased. I know there are many other options like ServiceNow and ManageEngine. I use Clarity and I would recommend it because it does add value to the business.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
Consult298936
Senior Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Flexible and easy to customize but needs to update its user interface

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is pretty straightforward."
  • "Nowadays every person is used to an interface that is more user-friendly and this one is not so user-friendly maybe due to the fact that, if you need to let people customize everything, sometimes you lose out on a clean user experience."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for our incident request processes and also our change-over processes as well as our problem processes. It's our main CMDB.

What is most valuable?

It's a very flexible platform. 

You can customize your own things and your own processes. You can easily extend the natural processes and you can customize what you need to. 

It's easy and it's not affected by upgrades. 

The initial setup is pretty straightforward.

What needs improvement?

The user interface is a little bit old and not so mainstream. Nowadays every person is used to an interface that is more user-friendly and this one is not so user-friendly maybe due to the fact that, if you need to let people customize everything, sometimes you lose out on a clean user experience. When you can configure the interface, including all the buttons, all the things, it's hard to keep things streamlined. From my point of view, if you gain a lot of flexibility, you lose a little bit of the overall user experience.

We'd like to have a better overall user experience. 

The workflow design could be better. They have another product with better workflow designs and I would like to see them merge these products together. 

The costs associated with the product are a bit high.

The first level of customer service isn't very knowledgeable. 

They could use a better service portal. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for more than ten years at this point. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is quite good. That said, when you start doing so much customization and so much code on your own, you could degrade a little bit of the performance. However, we don't have any performance issues. We have maybe 100 persons using it daily and we don't have any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There might be 20 people who use the solution directly. We have 100 people who use it daily.

The solution is scalable as you can add more front-end servers or more back-end servers. It's an easy process and it's not a complex thing to do it.

How are customer service and support?

Sometimes when we have some problems we have to open a ticket and escalate to the vendor, and also sometimes we use the partner and describe the issue to the partner.

The first lines of support are sometimes not so good. We need to take time to escalate the problem to the second-line or third-line of support. In the 10 years we've used the product, we haven't really had a big problem. That said, sometimes when I open a ticket for small things, sometimes the first line of support is just not great and handling the issue. They could be a bit better and more knowledgeable. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple and not so complex. Of course, you have a lot of configurations as all the processes themselves are complex, however, if you use the out-of-the-box features like the SLA and workflows it's more or less easy to implement. 

Sometimes the partner provides maintenance services and sometimes we handle the maintenance ourselves. Usually, we do the maintenance by ourselves. For example, if we need to do an upgrade to a new version, if we have the knowledge, we do it by ourselves, however, most of the time, we prefer to use a partner when it's something big or at least when it's something that we don't know for sure how best to handle things.

What about the implementation team?

Usually, we use some people who help us. Most of the time it's not the vendor itself. Usually, it is the partner as we are a public company and we have some restrictions when we are buying things. Therefore, we sometimes cannot buy directly from the vendor and we buy the product or service through a partner. The partner is one that is in our country and close to us. They would have the same resources the vendor has in order to do the best implementation.

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

Nowadays, the solution is not so cheap, If can be a bit expensive. When we did some research last year, we noted the pricing was near the top and on the more expensive side. 

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers and end-users.

I'm not sure which version of the solution we're using. Usually, every year we upgrade. However, not the latest one. Still, it's not so far from the latest version.

I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

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.
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Makhosonke-Matshoba
ESM Specialist at Gijima
Real User
Top 5
Good IT lifecycle management and BI functionality

Pros and Cons

  • "As of late, I really like the BI functions."
  • "The CA products integrate well together but I would like to see better integration with third-party solutions."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and this is one of the systems that we implement for our clients.

This solution covers most of the IT lifecycle. The emphasis is mainly on incident management, change management, program management, and request fulfillment. We also have the System Management patch for network monitoring. 

What is most valuable?

As of late, I really like the BI functions. 

What needs improvement?

The CA products integrate well together but I would like to see better integration with third-party solutions. An example of this is with AIOps, where I prefer Splunk over CASDM, so I would have like to see it opened up so that the integration is straightforward. We like the customer to be able to choose.

I find that there are many modules that offer similar functionality and I would like to see these consolidated. Perhaps it is because CA was acquired by Broadcom and they are still developing, with the intention to bring everything together but as it is now, the vendor has many products that do the same thing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using CA Service Desk Manager since version 5.5, starting about 15 years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Speaking of stability, there was one version, 12.5, that gave us a lot of pain. However, I think that it was due to our architecture. Out of the box, I think that this is a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If properly deployed, I think that the CA Service Desk Manager is scalable. We had our own lessons to learn from the way we did things in the previous versions but with our latest deployment, it has been quite well and scalable.

Two of our enterprise clients have between 900 and 1,000 users.

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

In my company, we have both CASDM and BMC Helix ITSM, and I have worked with both of them. I find the BMC solution easier to deploy than CASDM. Some of my colleagues regularly support BMC and it seems that their deployment is much quicker.

Our BMC solution is much smaller and it does not cover all of the areas, especially in the systems management space, the AIOps, reporting, and aggregation. BMC does have this functionality but we didn't acquire everything. I expect that eventually, all of our clients will be using CASDM. 

How was the initial setup?

Because there are so many different modules, the initial setup is not that straightforward. There are a lot of things that you need to do to get things to work together, although I'm used to that sort of iterative process. Sometimes, when I look at how other solutions such as BMC are deployed, I find them much easier.

CASDM can take months to deploy, especially if you have data that you've got to take from your previous versions. You may have a lot to do.

What other advice do I have?

We are currently two versions behind but we are in a project to upgrade to the latest version, 17.2. It is appealing to me because I will have access to the AIOps modules. I am also interested in moving to the cloud-based solution because it is easier to deploy. There are better technologies available in the cloud, it is easier to manage, and there is a high availability aspect. I think that it would be much better but we are often restricted by the customer, who cannot always have data on the cloud. For example, two of our customers are state-owned enterprises and their data cannot be on the cloud for any reason.

My advice to anybody who is implementing this solution is to use the cloud-based deployment, rather than host it on-premises.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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.
TS
IT Administrator / Help Desk Platform at Inter cars
Real User
Top 10
Stable with a straightforward setup, but overall quite expensive

Pros and Cons

  • "The in-service catalog is quite useful."
  • "The cost of this solution is too high, which is why we're leaving."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for incident and change management.

What is most valuable?

The newest customer portal is an improvement on the old one. However, we don't have the possibility to use it as we're on an older version.

The new portal for analysts is supposed to be very good as well.

The in-service catalog is quite useful.

What needs improvement?

The lack of parameters is limited. It's not possible to customize the solution.

We have issues with adding attachments and screenshots. Copy and paste is not possible on the solution.

Although there are some good features on the latest version, my company decided in the past month to switch solutions and we're moving over to Jira.

The cost of this solution is too high, which is why we're leaving.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the solution for ten years, or maybe longer.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is highly stable. We're using the high availability product for our application server and the program server is enough for our organization. We are using the application in over 70 countries because we have many branches abroad. It works well for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have more than 10,000 users using the system across 70 countries. It's quite scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a partner in Poland, so we've never contacted technical support directly. If we have issues, we contact the partner, not CA.

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

We have experience with Jira and have decided to move over to Jira in the coming months.

About 15 years ago, I also worked with an HP product called HP Service Desk. At the time, CA was more flexible and we could create customizations ourselves. On HP this was not possible without external support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation was not complicated. It was pretty easy because I had previous experience. Occasionally, however, we did have problems with the environment and the application server would be on standby for a long time. I didn't find this too be too much of an issue though.

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

The pricing is quite expensive. It's so cost-prohibitive we've decided to move away from it.

What other advice do I have?

We're using an older version of the solution. It's my understanding that in the 17.2 version there is a completely different customer portal.

I would recommend the solution, even though we are leaving it behind. I know another big company in Poland, which is an insurance company. They use this product and they've upgraded to the latest version. They have good knowledge and good experience with this product and they are using also the CMDB and the knowledge database, which is more of the product than we use. They are quite satisfied with the results they get from it.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DF
Project Manager at a mining and metals company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Comprehensive reporting and incident tracking, but visualizations would be helpful

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are the requests and incident tracking."
  • "When I am reviewing an incident, sometimes there is too much information on the same screen and it is difficult to discern what is of value."

What is our primary use case?

We are primarily using this solution for incident requests. We track our CI CMDB change requests. We are using Service Desk Manager in a wide scope that is not in a single location but across Europe.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the requests and incident tracking.

What needs improvement?

When I am reviewing an incident, sometimes there is too much information on the same screen and it is difficult to discern what is of value. The agents generate information that is not important for me and it means that I have to scroll down to the bottom of the issue in order to find what I am looking for. In this regard, the interface is not always clear.

I would like to see charts and more graphical information available in the reporting. As it is now, we have incident data that is put into Power BI so that we can visualize it. We do this because it is easier to read graphical information. It would be nice if this solution had a simple wizard that could generate visualizations based on the data. As it is now, there are lots of reports, but from my perspective, the reporting is a little bit too complex.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with CA Service Desk Manager for three or four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am not aware of any issues in terms of stability, so I would say that there are no large or obvious bugs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From my perspective, it is no problem to add on to this solution. I would say that it is very scalable. We have about 1,600 people who actively use it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had contact with technical support.

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

We are also using ServiceNow and our developers are using JIRA.

In my opinion, JIRA Service Desk is more oriented to developing software and it covers the topics surrounding that job.

What about the implementation team?

Our setup was performed quite some time ago by a third-party.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is implementing this solution is to be patient. It is going to take effort and time to properly deploy.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Manuela Arriaga
Project Manager at Mutualidad de la Abogacía
Real User
Top 10
Time sheets are a powerful tool; report solutions could be improved

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Clarity is to manage portfolios and projects, and to manage the software. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature are the time sheets, it's a very powerful tool.

What needs improvement?

The report solutions are a little short and that could be improved. It's possible that part of the issue is the customization because we had the tool customized for our clients. Clarity is also quite an expensive solution and it would be helpful if the cost was reduced. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for eight years. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex, it's possible that the integrations between this tool and other tools like Quality Center, ALM may have made the…

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Clarity is to manage portfolios and projects, and to manage the software. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature are the time sheets, it's a very powerful tool.

What needs improvement?

The report solutions are a little short and that could be improved. It's possible that part of the issue is the customization because we had the tool customized for our clients. Clarity is also quite an expensive solution and it would be helpful if the cost was reduced. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for eight years. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex, it's possible that the integrations between this tool and other tools like Quality Center, ALM may have made the setup more difficult. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a seven out of 10. 

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