I recently wrote June’s special report on next-generation application life-cycle management (ALM) suites. For my story, I asked six providers—IBM, Polarion Software, Rommana Software, Seapine Software, Serena Software and TechExcel—to describe their ALM suites and how they meet the demands of the next generation of ALM.
Randy Newell, IBM’s director of marketing, chatted with me about the IBM Rational solution for collaborative life-cycle management (which is the name of their ALM solution). Randy shared much about their solution, which you can read in the report. But he also discussed where IBM sees ALM heading in the future. I’ll share with you three of the themes he mentioned:
First theme: To be successful, next-generation ALM tools will need to integrate with other providers’ ALM tools and work across a variety of teams.
Second theme: There’s a correlation between ALM and business performance.
Third theme: Mobile is driving the need for ALM to go to the next level.
According to Randy, there’s some really interesting dynamics going on in organizations now, from a cultural perspective. He said that more and more of IBM’s clients are basing their choice of ALM tools on how they’re staffing a project. “That’s a cultural change from a process perspective,” he said.
“What we’re hearing from a number of clients is that they’re fielding project teams that are cross-functional in nature,” he said. “You have development, line-of-business, operations, infrastructure—all part of the same…project teams. And, of course, the primary owner shifts as the project progresses through the life cycle. But because they’re actually teaming on a cross-functional basis, you have—from start to finish—all of the stakeholders represented throughout the life cycle.”
Randy also spoke about how there’s a correlation between ALM and business performance these days. The first step for companies to succeed is to recognize that correlation. “We’ve got to drive the attention to software delivery up into the C-suite of the organization to say, ‘Software development is not something that’s buried in IT,’ ” he said. “This is something that’s an essential enterprise capability in today’s environment.”
Business innovation is mostly software-driven today, according to Randy. “It’s about responding to what we’re hearing from our clients as far as how they’re actually incorporating software-driven innovation, and how we are helping them solve bottlenecks in the broader context of DevOps—this overall life cycle,” he said.
Another interesting tidbit of information was how mobile is really driving the need for businesses to take ALM to the next level. “What we’ve seen is, in both Collaborative Lifecycle Management and agile, you do 30-day sprints. You get things out to market in 90-day iterations, or even four to six weeks,” said Randy. “But how do we take it to that next level where you say, ‘I need to get this out by end-of-day?’
“How do you still govern that, where you need to make a change, you need to get it designed and tested in this very small timeframe? It could be a very small thing, but it’s taking agile to that next step where you want to make a change to a set of lines of code and get it out to market the same day.”
Today, that could take six weeks, but, according to Randy, that needs to—and can—get down to just six hours. “That’s where we’re taking CLM,” he said. “CLM today stops at, ‘Hey, the code’s ready!’
“But the code has no value until it’s in production. So now the bottleneck has moved in ALM. The bottleneck is no longer where it was. It has now moved toward operations, getting it out to market, and getting responses and value back to customers.”