At its Innovate 2010 application development conference, IBM announced new software and services that help customers design and deliver products that combine mechanical, electronic and digital technologies.
In an interview with eWEEK, Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM's Rational business unit, said the convergence of physical assets and IT applications requires a new "systems of systems" approach for integrating products and services.
Indeed, software-driven innovation across product lines can be challenging if not supported by effective planning and development collaboration. Best-in-class product and service companies are those that build a strong competency in systems engineering and software development, IBM officials said.
"The value, lifecycle and ecosystem of any smart product today is driven by software," said Daniel Sabbah, IBM Rational general manager, in a statement. "In order to build an enduring and innovative competency in software delivery, it must be managed as an agile and cost-effective business process within a framework that allows continuous improvements and accommodates change."
Formerly known as the Rational Software Development Conference, the event now known as IBM Innovate has been expanded to have a companywide focus and feature technologies from other IBM brands, Hebner said. The event runs June 6-10 in Orlando, Fla.
"The goal of the Innovate conference is to focus on innovation," Hebner said.
With that as a launching point, IBM is announcing three new initiatives to support the design, development and life-cycle integration of new products and services. IBM announced new Integrated Product Management offerings, which consist of a set of IBM software and hardware offerings and best practices from across the IBM company and its business partners that help design, deliver and subsequently manage the life cycle of increasingly complex offerings, including product planning, software development, software design chain and asset management.
Integrated Product Management is a new set of capabilities that brings together over 30 IBM offerings, including hardware, software and services helping customers manage their entire product development and integration spectrum. IBM's Integrated Product Management offerings, based on solutions and software from IBM Rational, provide a holistic environment in which to design and deliver software while sustaining competitive differentiation through continuous innovation, Hebner said. Software development and delivery teams are being asked to respond to changes in the marketplace more quickly, but with fewer resources and mounting pressure to deliver more value, Hebner added. IBM can help speed innovation with reduced cost and risk by deploying a flexible environment for software design, development and delivery on multiple platforms.
IBM also announced new, flexible deployment and licensing models to help enterprises reduce their capital expenditures and operational expenses. IBM is providing new cloud test and development offerings, in both private and public environments, plus a new flexible software licensing model, reducing license acquisition costs and increasing productivity.
IBM has introduced new token and term licensing models to provide instant flexibility, giving customers access to the right software at the right time during a project, without an abundance of shelfware or the hassle of getting a new purchase order evaluation process. With tokens, users can quickly move between products as the capabilities are required without needing to calculate the anticipated number of licenses for each product. The term license model allows for product usage over a given period of time.
Licensing options available today include token, fixed, floating, term or perpetual licenses. Most organizations will use an effective mix of multiple licensing structures to drive the optimal productivity of their software delivery teams.
IBM also announced Rational Software Delivery Services for Cloud Computing support for IBM Cloudburst. IBM Cloudburst is a prepackaged and self-contained service delivery platform that can be easily and quickly implemented in a data center to deliver cloud computing. IBM Rational Software delivery services for cloud computing help leverage the cloud to transform software by providing software development and test solutions across multiple platforms, available for private cloud deployments on the IBM Smart Business Development and Test Cloud and as an offering for IBM Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud.
In addition, to support and extend the new Integrated Product Management initiative, IBM is investing in new best practices, assets and workbenches optimized to specific industry vertical use cases. IBM offers Industry Frameworks based on tens of thousands of engagements across the spectrum of sectors and industry categories. These solution platforms deliver the full power of IBM middleware combined with industry standards and best practices. Since these are based on specific usage patterns, they are highly repeatable and help clients create sustainable assets, IBM officials said.
IBM Rational software is adding new value to these frameworks with software and systems development solutions that leverage the IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform to improve collaboration. Specifically, Rational has added products and services into the IBM Insurance Industry Framework, the IBM Banking Industry Framework, the Chemicals and Petroleum Integrated Information Framework, and the Service Provider Delivery Environment Framework.
And to facilitate innovative software design and management for specific industries, IBM is unveiling a library of software available at no cost that delivers the building blocks critical for smarter planet projects. The library is called the Integrated Service Management Library and contains 1,800 software accelerators developed by IBM and third parties to help customers create more intelligent operations in 14 industries, including automotive, aerospace and finance. These software connectors help the digital and physical worlds talk to each other to better manage a company's equipment, buildings, IT operations and business services.