Application life-cycle management tools are not successful unless they can carry a software application from the idea stage to its retirement, according to industry analyst Theresa Lanowitz, founder of Voke, an independent research firm.

She added that ALM tool makers should not focus on one methodology or another, but instead focus on creating products that help software development teams work the way they want. The programs should be scalable, she said, and help teams deliver their own products to their clients in a timely fashion.

The recent rush by ALM tool providers to define their product sets under one methodology or another, such as Agile ALM, undermines the general concept of ALM, Lanowitz said. “There is a time and a place for each methodology. RUP works in some places, waterfall in others; ALM is about making sure you can deliver value and that end users get satisfaction from a product. Organizations have to be fluid enough to fit into whatever methodology works for their product,” she said.

The business of software, in Lanowitz’s opinion, is about delivering successful products instead of simply delivering one or two applications. Convergence (the blending of traditional IT and embedded systems) is the current trend in the ALM market, she added.

Lanowitz said companies beyond software application providers are being required to think about software requirements and how those requirements fit into their overall product. GM, for example, needs to take software life-cycle management into the creation of the Volt car, which has hundreds of requirements for software to be managed by GM and its development team, according to her.

Lanowitz said GM is now taking the time to understand requirements, and other companies will need to elevate requirements to strategic assets, making them an integral part of the process instead of just using them at the beginning of the process for initial ideas.

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Making requirements part of the strategic planning process means extending the application life cycle beyond developers. Lanowitz said user interface experts, architects and project management roles will need to be included in the process in order to improve the “usability of software and the performance and security.” Convergence relies on secure software, she said.

Software developers will also be, according to Lanowitz, required to take data into account. She offered an example to explain the new applications that will be required by businesses as the software market continues to evolve.

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