Christoph LangenbahnChristoph Langenbahn Project Portfolio Management: CA Clarity PPM or HP PPM?

04/23/2009 by Christoph Langenbahn

Based upon our experiences with projects using various PPM tools, we took the liberty of comparing two project portfolio management heavyweights, namely CA Clarity PPM v12 and HP PPM Center 7.5.

When it comes to project controlling and project management, CA Clarity PPM and HP PPM offer the traditional multi-project and project management functions as a complement to tools such as MS Project or in standalone mode. Open and flexible interfaces to peripheral systems as well as additional standard interfaces to project management systems established on the market, such as Microsoft Project, are included in both products.

Support for project planning and project prioritization for an innovation process that is superordinate to the projects is provided in the tools as a standard feature and best practice processes for it are included.

Both manufacturers offer a workflow engine with which these processes can be converted into digitized workflows corresponding to the requirements. The workflow engine interfaces for administrators are quite different at the first glance. Defining workflows initially seems simpler in HP PPM because the individual steps are arranged graphically on the screen and then, similar as with CA Clarity PPM, they have to be defined in detail. The user’s view of the workflow to graphically depict where the workflow is located in the process is more appealing in HP PPM.

Generally, the CA Clarity PPM’s user interface is more contemporary. In order to use the drill-down feature from the Clarity PPM dashboard graphics, one must first install the Adobe SVG Viewer that is available free of charge; this is not necessary for HP PPM.

Both products offer dashboard functionalities with drill-down capability based on portlet technologies and largely adjustable interfaces. In this way, both products can be completely customized and expanded to one’s own needs and preferred usage.

In addition, both products offer functionalities that, in addition to tactically provided budgets and resource allotments, also allow a strategic alignment to higher-level business objectives.

Here is where the actual approach-related differences emerge in regard to supporting accompanying business processes such as resource, time, and financial management as well as comprehensive innovation management within the company.

CA Clarity PPM v12

CA Clarity PPM offers functionalities from idea-related decision-making to prioritization and analysis, taking into consideration existing resource allocations and a diverse range of budgetary perspectives. In the tool itself, one can carry out both strategic as well as tactical planning, including execution and controlling management for single or multiple projects, in a flexible manner.

The modular setup of the functional components allows the system to be optimally fitted to an organization’s level of maturity in terms of project planning and management. Extensive functions for graphic workflows, collaboration, and document management round off the tool’s functionality.

CA Clarity Dashboard

CA Clarity Dashboard

CA Clarity PPM offers standard interfaces to:

Features and requirements that favor using CA Clarity PPM

  • Detailed cost control by defining cost plans
  • Scenarios at project- and department-levels pertaining to resources and working with cost plan variants
  • Supplier management functions
  • Direct charging and billing (internally and externally) for projects stemming from a single point of control application
  • Portfolio-related scenario staging based on various cost-benefit plans in addition to resource requirements
  • Parent / child relationships for master and department portfolios and organizational structure-related portfolios/programs
  • Integratability into existing CA products

HP PPM Center 7.5

HP PPMC also offers functions to strategically analyze and tactically plan future projects. In doing so, HP PPM places greater emphasis on project controlling aspects to manage the project portfolio of an individual business unit.

The functions pertaining to supplier, resource, time, and especially financial management are limited. If necessary, these can be covered by the integration of third-party solutions on hand in the company.

By means of an integration platform, the HP PPM product is easily integrated into the HP BTO software portfolio. Interfaces allow one to deploy HP Quality Center and HP uCMDB for example directly from the workflows.

HP PPM Dashboard

HP PPM dashboard

HP PPM V7.5 offers standard interfaces to:

Features and requirements that favor using HP PPM

  • Portfolio management field exclusively in the focus of an (IT) organizational department
  • Use of “leading” human resource, financial, and controlling peripheral systems
  • No planned enterprise portfolio management (EPM) activities
  • No billing for projects stemming from the PPM system, but stemming from the “leading” financial application
  • Integratability into existing HP BTO products
  • Existing use of HP PPM as the application deployment system, e.g., Oracle Applications, SAP, and Peoplesoft, as well as the need for interfaces to these

Clarity PPM vs. HP PPM Comparison

Generally, CA Clarity PPM and HP PPM are suited for use as project portfolio management solutions. Business-related factors or a preference for a given manufacturer therefore play an important role in the decision. Nevertheless, one of the two solutions can be objectively favored based on a company’s detailed requirements.

  • Requirements for a comprehensive portfolio management tool, including integrated aspects such as financial and resource planning, as well as company-wide deployment are arguments for CA Clarity PPM.
  • Requirements for a project portfolio management tool for project controlling within a department or company-wide, then integrated into leading financial, resource, and planning tools make HP PPM a viable alternative.

Actual practice has shown that one can work successfully with both tools. Successful implementation of a software-based PPM solution depends less on the individual strengths and weaknesses of the PPM software, and more on how the workflows of the individual organizations are depicted, how the applications are integrated into the environment, and what implementation approach is selected.

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10 Responses

  • 1
    Sandy Kemsley:

    Great review, thanks.

    Clarity has document management built in, but is it possible to use an external document management system and link to documents in that instead?

  • 2
    Christoph Langenbahn:

    It is possible to biuld a connection to any other document management system instead the internal options of file stroe or database store.

    I`m not sure if document related processes e.g. for approval processes, still working in this case.


  • 3
    Mohammed Aquil:


    I need to know some technical details on HP PPM.

    Can I write some code in HP PPM to build some enhancements. If yes, what language and database I need to master.

    Thanks and Regards
    Mohammed Aquil

  • 4

    I would like to know if the Requirement Management functionality thats being built into Clarity PPM v12 is robust enough that my company does not need to buy products like DOORS or Rational Reqpro. Or is it all a sales gimmick….bait and cheese…

    Any reponse is highly appreciated. Thnaks in advance.

  • 5

    How do the two suites fair when it comes to setting up a release management office?

  • 6

    To answer all questions above, Clarity PPM is suits all needs of any type of company and supports wide range of functionality. There is a surprise for new customer who are waiting for the Ca Clarity PPM’s new version Kilimanjaro. Yes exactly, new appealing UI and lots of features.

  • 7

    Is there any successful implementations of either product for portfolio and project Management? If so, where? Thanks.

  • 8

    Where can I find full comparison between HP PPM and Microsoft Portfolio Server 2010?

  • 9

    Hi there,

    I am writing a paper for a course I am attending. I need to provide some information related to costing – one time and ongoing…say for a 1000 users. I need to show the cost for CA Clarity PPM as well as HP PPM Center. I could not find any of this information on the internet….can anyone please help me and shed some light if you know this information…

    Thank you……..

  • 10
    Christophe Fiessinger:

    Soxfo please check out this latest Gartner PPM marketscope: