Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is not a new term; the concept became quite popular over last decade. ALM is an ongoing process; the lifecycle goes on as long as the product or the application is available for use.
Different phases of the application lifecycle demand different types of activities and processes. There are many tools available in the market to successfully manage each of the phases. Then, why someone would need a single solution for all the modules? Unless you integrate the standalone tools, you cannot get the highest level of visibility which is critical to ALM project management.
In the article “Why Software Fails”, Robert N. Charette explained how lack of visibility can lead to disasters. “In the simplest terms, an IT project usually fails when the rework exceeds the value-added work that’s been budgeted for. This is what happened to Sydney Water Corp., the largest water provider in Australia when it attempted to introduce an automated customer information and billing system in 2002”, he said.“According to an investigation by the Australian Auditor General, among the factors that doomed the project was inadequate planning and specifications, which in turn led to numerous change requests and significant added costs and delays. Sydney Water aborted the project midway, after spending AU $61 million (US $33.2 million)”, Robert added.
Now, this is not affordable. In a bid to establish a connection among all the phases of the application lifecycle and impart end-to-end traceability, organizations usually follow different options.
- Option 1: Multi-Function ALM Platform: Single, multi-function ALM platform to manage all the phases of the application lifecycle can be an option. Single solutions for Requirements Management, Test Management, Defect Management and other ALM modules can increase visibility by connecting the artifacts, tasks and processes.
- Option 2: Go Single Vendor: Standalone tools for each phase but from the same vendor can be another option. It may not be difficult to integrate them.
- Option 3: Cross-vendor Tool Integration: Use best-of-the-breed tools available in the market from multiple vendors with a solution that provides cross-vendor tool integration. A flexible option indeed.
If you ask which one is best; well, there is no single-word answer. It depends on your situation – if you have already purchased some of the standard tools, there is no point in suggesting you to reject all of them and go for a single vendor environment. Cross-vendor tool integration will be ideal for you. A multi-function ALM platform to manage all the phases of the application lifecycle can be useful for an organization that is not using any tool at all. Similarly, the single vendor environment might stop you from using the best-of-the-breed tools available out there.
What if an organization needs integration among some of the existing tools and needs to buy some point tools as well because they do not have solutions for all the modules of the application lifecycle? Is there any one-stop solution for them?
Let us then connect Option 1 with Option 3 from the above list and see how it goes! A multi-function ALM platform that offers cross-vendor tool integration is a good combination and can actually cater to any organization with any kind of setup. Here are some cases.
- Case 1: Organizations with no ALM tool at all: They can use the multi-function ALM platform part of it to manage different phases of the application lifecycle.
- Case 2: Organization with best-of-the-breed tools for all modules: They can use the integration part of it and enable bi-directional data flow among all the tools.
- Case 3: Organization with some ALM tools and some missing links: They can connect the existing tools through the Integration solution and use the multi-function ALM platform to bridge the gaps and then establish end-to-end visibility across the application lifecycle.
Thus, an ALM platform with the capability of cross-vendor tool integration is the need of the hour in the ALM sector. Organizations can be immensely benefited from using this type of solution as it will be cost-effective and impact their ROI positively. The Sooner they realize the scope of this breed of integrated ALM, the better.