Jumping Into the Software Application Lifecycle Cockpit

In an effort to shine more light on the traditional “dark art” of software development, Borland Software on Monday announced Borland Management Solutions (BMS). The three-pronged product leverages Borland’s Open Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) framework, and is designed to enable users to better orchestrate, measure, predict and improve software delivery.

BMS, according to the Austin, Texas, company, plugs into a customer’s existing ALM tooling infrastructure and provides what Borland calls a “cockpit” to give visibility and control over the entire application lifecycle.

Many companies are still hampered by the fact that while they’ve made investments in some ALM tools, the processes still exist in silos, making it difficult to treat application delivery like any other business process, with end-to-end visibility, metrics and intelligence.

Demand, Focus and Analytics

BMS includes three products:

  • TeamDemand, a business stakeholder’s “window” into IT, providing a view into all demand coming into the delivery organization. Business users can see, understand and collaborate with IT to make informed decisions about how IT is handling their needs. TeamDemand links directly with such ALM artifacts as requirements, user stories and tasks — housed in various existing tool repositories.
  • TeamFocus is an enterprise project management and execution environment that supports multiple delivery methods — agile, waterfall, iterative — and rolls up monitored project progress information across the portfolio of projects. TeamFocus is designed to keep management up to date without sacrificing production work for reporting overhead.
  • TeamAnalytics automatically collects and analyzes current and historic data from a broad set of ALM tools. It includes a configurable set of interactive dashboards — customizable by role — that present a broad set of industry standard ALM metrics to help management build predictable delivery models and communicate progress to business stakeholders.

Holistic Insight

Borland introduced its Open ALM in January of last year. The following April, I moderated a sponsored podcast with Carey Schwaber, a senior analyst at Forrester Research; Brian Kilcourse, CEO of the Retail Systems Alert Group and former senior vice president and CIO of Longs Drugs, and Marc Brown, vice president of product marketing at Borland. (Disclosure: Borland is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.)

At the time, Brown explained the reasoning behind the push for ALM tools:

“If you look at most businesses today, IT organizations are expected to have very managed processes for their supply chain systems and for their human resources systems, but when it comes to software delivery or software development, as you mentioned, there is this sense that software is some sort of an art.

“We would really like to demystify this and put some rigor to the process that individuals and organizations leverage and use around software delivery. This will allow organizations to get the same predictability when they are doing software as when they are doing the other aspects of the IT organization. So, our focus is really about helping organizations improve the way they do software, leveraging some core solution areas and processes — but also providing more holistic insight of what’s going on inside of the application lifecycle.”

You can listen to the podcast here.

The BMS suite is expected to be generally available in the fall. More information is available on the Borland Web site.

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which tracks trends, delivers forecasts and interprets the competitive landscape of enterprise applications and software infrastructure markets for clients. He also produces BriefingsDirect sponsored podcasts. Disclosure: Iona is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.

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