The integration between Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is perhaps the most successful of all software practices. Convergence of PLM and ALM is essential when developing a system with both hardware and software components. However, why is PLM-ALM integration important? Before we jump into the discussion, let us first understand what we mean by ALM and PLM.
What is ALM and PLM?
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) can be best explained as a workflow that dictates the entire life-cycle of a product. It is essential for connecting and managing various components where a product is situated at the core. Linked to this product are other artifacts namely Change Request, Parts, Design Documents all of which could be tracked under a single workflow.
Unlike PLM, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) on the other hand helps to manage software items that encompass the Requirements, Code Files, Build, Test Cases as well as the Defects of an application.
The Need for ALM-PLM integration
Integration of tools between these two disparate domains is essential to keep up the pace of reaching the market as fast as possible and to exhibit a competitive product. An PLM-ALM integration can directly impact the two life-cycle processes in the following ways —
- The integration is focused on bringing the most out of the individual processes as they tend to differ from one another at some of the vital aspects of managing things. Through integration, data exchange can take place between tools of both the domains.
- External stakeholders find the opportunity to participate and provide valuable information throughout the development phase of the new features as well as validate them once implemented.
- Integration acts like a collaborative bridge connecting teams as data updates in real time get reflected at both ends. PLM tools like PTC Windchill, focuses on the major areas of concern such as requirements, drawings, schematics, 3D design files, calculations, analysis, BOMs, and digital mock-ups. These features take care of product status, time of delivery, reduction of rework, compliance with regulations, etc. that lead to the streamlining of the entire PLM workflow.
Benefits of Integrating a PLM tool like Windchill to Other ALM Tools
- External stakeholders find the opportunity to provide and validate requirements at every stage in real time.
- Any changes made in the corresponding artifacts in Windchill can be notified and approved immediately.
- ALM tools like Kovair ALM can be used to create intelligent reports out of the data coming from Windchill.
- Integration helps to eliminate the wasteful time gaps by updating the items immediately and keeping both the ends in sync. This again helps to accelerate the process of review and approval of the proposed changes.
Explaining ALM-PLM Integration Using a Case Study
The importance of ALM-PLM integration can be best explained with the help of a scenario. Let us assume that the team responsible for managing requirements uses IBM RDNG (Rational Doors NextGen) as the requirements management solution.
The Requirements which are added to the RDNG tool needs to be made available to the Windchill tool from the OSLC tab as well so that Windchill users can establish a cross-OSLC traceability by linking Part Number to RDNG Requirements. To keep both the teams in sync, the linked part numbers needed to be made visible from RDNG as well.
By leveraging OSLC linking capabilities, Kovair achieves the following integration scenario between ALM and PLM tools:
- When the tools — RDNG and Windchill — are integrated with Kovair Omnibus Integration Platform, the requirements could not only be managed from the RDNG tool but are made available in the Windchill interface as well.
- Users of the Windchill tool can create and link Part Number to an RDNG Requirement.
- Through OSLC linking, the application team can view the linked Part Numbers to the respected Requirements from the RDNG tool.
Kovair Omnibus: The Final Piece of an ALM-PLM Integration Puzzle
Integration of technologies is the only way to meet the ever-growing demands of the smart generation. While the best of the breed solution helps an enterprise to scale up as and when required, it also provides smart analysis of the accumulated data.
With Kovair Omnibus, users can create an ecosystem that facilitates tool communication and enables teams to be in sync across domains, In addition, it also helps to accelerate the decision-making of teams from the managerial perspective.