Jama Connect® vs. IBM®DOORS®: Total Cost of Ownership: A User Experience Roundtable Chat
Increasing industry challenges and complexities are pushing innovative organizations to consider modernizing the tool(s) they use for requirements management (RM). In this blog series, Jama Connect® vs. IBM® DOORS®: A User Experience Roundtable Chat, we’ll present several information-packed video blogs covering the challenges that teams face in their project management process.
In the 10th and final episode of our Roundtable Chat series, Preston Mitchell – Sr Director, Global Business Consulting at Jama Software® – and Susan Manupelli – Senior Solutions Architect at Jama Software® – discuss the total cost of ownership in product management.
To watch other episodes in this series, click HERE.
Watch the full video and find the video transcript below to learn more!
Preston Mitchell: All right. Welcome everybody, to episode 10 in our vlog series. Today, we’re going to be talking about total cost of ownership. I’m Preston Mitchell, the senior director of solutions at Jama Software, and I’m joined by my colleague, Susan Manupelli. Susan, do you want to introduce yourself?
Susan Manupelli: Sure. My name’s Susan Manupelli. I’m a senior solutions architect here at Jama Software, but I came from IBM, where I was a test architect for the last 20 years on some of their requirements management tools, so primarily Rational DOORS Next Generation and RequisitePro actually, before that.
Preston Mitchell: Excellent. Like Susan, I was a former IBM-er as well, so a user of many of those tools. Today, as you can see, we want to talk about kind of three main categories of total cost of ownership, IT infrastructure, so these are things like the actual physical hardware, the FTE administration costs, so like upgrades, maintenance, and then also the opportunity costs of when you do not adopt best-in-breed tools and processes. Why don’t we first start it off with the IT infrastructure costs? You know, Susan, in your experience with other RN tools, what have you found to be the challenges in this area?
Susan Manupelli: Sure. I’ll talk first about DOORS Next Generation. You know, DNG’s part of the ELM suite of products, that’s based on the Jazz architecture. It’s a very complex architecture. There’s a large number of servers you need, or VMs, to be able to stand up the solution. There’s an app server or some version of WebSphere. There’s a DB server for every application. So at a minimum with DNG, in addition to the app and DB server, you also would need a JTS server, an additional reporting server, [inaudible 00:02:08] or Data Warehouse. And if you have configuration management enabled, then there’s two additional servers that come with that, so for the global configuration manager and the LDX server. So-
Preston Mitchell: Interesting.
Susan Manupelli: And then of course, if you use any of the other applications of the ELM suite, there’s a server and database for those.
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Preston Mitchell: Yeah, that’s quite a contrast to Jama, where we just require one application server and then a database server, which could be shared, actually, with other applications. Of course, that’s as far as self-host customers. Cloud customers really have no IT infrastructure costs at all, and I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of adopting a tool like Jama Connect. Okay, great. Next, I’d love to talk about the human or FTE maintenance costs that go along with tools. Susan, what’s your experience with other requirements management tools around the FTE costs?
Susan Manupelli: Sure. I’ll start off with DOORS Classic, which is an older client-server technology, and what I mean by that is that every user had to have software installed on their computer that was compatible with the server, so it was what we referred to as a thick client. An upgrade or maintenance of that would mean pushing out updates to however many users you have in your organization, potentially could be hundreds. So there was a lot of logistics involved with trying to get that upgrade done.
Preston Mitchell: Got it, and yeah, I imagine that’s downtime for the users, and a lot different than just a web-based tool that I sign in with my browser. The other thing that I know in working with customers that have migrated from DOORS Classic is DXL scripts and customization. Maybe you could talk a little bit about the hidden costs with those things.
Susan Manupelli: Yeah. Basically, any kind of customization that you want to do in DOORS Classic, you had to have somebody that could write a DXL script for it, that’s kind of a specialized skill, so there were costs with maintaining those, and particularly if they were used by across the organization.
Preston Mitchell: Is that any better with DOORS Next Generation?
Susan Manupelli:With DOORS Next Generation, there’s no DXL scripting or anything like that, but the thing that’s challenging with DOORS Next Generation is the upgrades and maintenance. Upgrades were often very complex and time-consuming. There was pretty high risk of failure, and then of course you have the time involved in roll back and trying it again. There’s also the ongoing maintenance of the middleware, would require a highly technical admin with some specialized skills in maybe database optimization, so Oracle or Db2. Also, keeping the system running optimally requires a full-time, highly skilled administrator for the ELM suite.
Preston Mitchell: Really? Full-time just for the backend? Wow.
Susan Manupelli: Yeah.
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Preston Mitchell: Yeah, that’s definitely different than kind of what our self-hosted customers experience. I mean, we try to make the self-hosted upgrades very easy and straightforward. It’s a button click in the admin console. And then obviously, for the majority of our customers who use our cloud solution, there’s really no upgrade or maintenance that they have to do at all. We push the upgrades for them. We handle that for them in an automated process, that’s validated and verified. So yeah, definitely different. Well, let’s transition to talk about adoption costs, and I want to bring my screen share up again, because you and I have spoken about really the opportunity costs of not using best-in-breed tools or processes, and it kind of really comes down to measurement. We really believe using Jama Connect, we can reduce the negative product outcomes, because we can help you measure your process performance. As management guru, Peter Drucker, said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improvement.” So Susan, maybe you could touch on what I find are the three primary ways that we can help our customers measure their performance.
Susan Manupelli: Sure. First of all, we can measure the quality of the requirements. This means properly define… making sure the requirements are properly defined, that they’re complete and consistent. And we actually have a new product, Jama Connect Advisor, that helps in this area. As far as the digital engineering, we can measure the level of collaboration that’s happening in the tool, the number of reviews, and the output from those reviews. And then also for live traceability. Traceability is one of the key reasons why people use a requirements management tool, and Jama does it better than any other tool that I’ve used. And in addition, we can measure how well you’re actually capturing that traceability.
Preston Mitchell: Yeah. And speaking to that, especially on the live traceability, we have for our cloud customers, this great benchmark, where we anonymize all the data, and you can actually see how you stack up against your peers in the industry with regards to the traceability completeness of your projects. So some really great return on investment by utilizing our cloud offering and being able to see the actual performance compared to your peers in the industry. Ultimately, I think everyone realizes the later you are in a product development lifecycle, it’s much more expensive to actually fix any errors that are found. So our whole goal at Jama Connect is really to lower the total cost of ownership, but really actually make your product development less costly by finding and fixing those errors way earlier in the cycle, in the requirements definition phase. Well Susan, thanks again for the quick chat, and sharing your perspective on cost of ownership. Appreciate it.
Susan Manupelli: Great. Thanks, Preston.
Preston Mitchell: Bye, everybody.
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Thank you for watching our 10th and final episode in this series, Jama Connect vs. IBM DOORS: Total Cost of Ownership. To watch other episodes in this series, click HERE.
To learn more about available features in Jama Connect, visit: Empower Your Team and Improve Your Requirements Management Process
- Jama Connect® vs. IBM® DOORS®: Total Cost of Ownership: A User Experience Roundtable Chat - March 1, 2023
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- Striking the Right Level of Detail in Requirements - February 6, 2018