IBM Rational's New Tools Enhance Integration, Collaboration for Developers

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-06-06

IBM Rational's New Tools Enhance Integration, Collaboration for Developers

ORLANDO-At its Innovate 2011 conference here, IBM has announced new software that helps organizations collaborate more efficiently, including the collaboration between developers and operations staff.

The new software allows developer teams to quickly access resources and work more efficiently across global boundaries through an open, collaborative development environment, IBM said.

The new software offerings are built on Jazz, IBM's open-software development platform that supports sharing and interactions among software and systems design and development teams. New features allow developers to interact quickly, sharing data instantaneously from any source in the development process and connect teams and development communities in new ways, said Harish Grama, vice president of product development at IBM Rational.

IBM's new Collaborative Design Management technology enables teams to integrate designs seamlessly with other development tasks and information, such as requirements, code, and quality management assets. The benefits of this approach enhance the traceability of all actions and allows their impact on the process to be analyzed, Grama said. Team members and other stakeholders can review, contribute and change solution designs with complete transparency to every participant in the project. This is achieved through a central design hub where designs can be stored, maintained, and referenced for future reuse, documentation and compliance.

With the Collaborative Design Management capability, delivered through new offerings of IBM's Rational Rhapsody Design Manager and Rational Software Architect Design Manager, designs no longer have to exist in isolation on an architect's or developer's desktop, Grama said. They can now be part of an open ecosystem using a simple Web-based user interface that allows extended team members and stakeholders to build earlier consensus, prevent costly project misdirection, and improve the software and systems delivery from start to finish.

The new Collaborative Lifecycle Management capability helps software development teams improve their productivity by offering an integrated application lifecycle management (ALM) solution to avoid the pitfalls of working in silos with broken communication, which results in project delays, low quality or budget overrun.

The new Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management brings together IBM Rational Requirements Composer, IBM Rational Team Concert and IBM Rational Quality Manager in a unified development platform to encourage cross-functional collaboration, helping teams improve their time-to-delivery, quality, product value and predictability, IBM officials said

New features for the IBM Smart Business Desktop Cloud and private clouds empower with new virtual desktop solutions, providing the enhanced features of Rational Application Developer and Rational Software Architect developers, Grama said. And new integrations between IBM Connections social networking software for business and IBM Rational Team Concert will allow software developers to use social networking to find experts within an organization to help collaborate and connect on software development projects.

Meanwhile, the new Collaborative Development and Operations could be the most significant new pieces of the Rational solution. New technologies, such as cloud computing, hardware workload optimization and Agile development are driving need for development and operations to work more closely than ever before. IBM has created new integrations between many of its leading software offerings that can significantly assist in bridging the cultural divide between development and operation teams, Grama said

A new Deployment Planning & Automation solution enable clients to reduce reworking projects through a standardized processes and automation for deploying software.  Existing development assets can be reused, regardless of whether they reside on the cloud or on-site servers. And to improve the identification and remediation of potential problems and issues, IBM has developed an OSLC-based integration between the IT operations ticketing system, Tivoli Service Request Manager, and the development team solution, Rational Team Concert, allowing IT operations staff to enter defect and enhancement requests directly into the software development tracking system.

"A critical challenge facing businesses is how to innovate while fostering collaboration among teams and a complex array of partners and suppliers," said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager of IBM Rational, in a statement. "A collaborative software development platform supporting the entire end-to-end software cycle is needed for true innovation."


IBM Rational's New Tools Enhance Integration, Collaboration for Developers

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Meanwhile, according to the IBM CEO Study, a survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, two-thirds of global organizations manage software development teams working in multiple locations. Additionally, the study found there is a growing unpredictability in getting software through development and into its full application within an organization. More than 62 percent of development projects fail to meet the intended schedule and 30 percent of project costs are due to rework and poor execution of requirements.

The new IBM software helps organizations align their software investments with business process and operations across an entire organization, creating stronger linkage between planning and execution. It's now possible to tap into talent wherever it is located, quickly accessing resources and including appropriate decision makers in the entire business cycle,

Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank is using the new offerings to assign repeatable and automated tasks to the appropriate resources and deliver a higher level of accuracy and quality in AIX-based applications. It has reduced the cost of rework, resulting in a 93 percent decrease in deployment-related issues. It is now able to deploy even faster than ever before, taking just 10 minutes to do what used to take more than 10 days and reducing software build times by a factor of five.

"Looking to the future, we are excited to continue working with IBM, building on our success," said Rob Thompson Group Vice President of Enterprise Technology Infrastructure at SunTrust, in a statement. "Next steps are to adopt our DevOps framework on additional platforms, integrate our automated deployment and service request management processes, and increase our ability to create architecture designs based on current deployments and infrastructure."

IBM also announced that Capital District Physicians' Health Plan (CDPHP) has rolled out new services based on Rational software. CDPHP, a not-for-profit health insurer has evolved over the last 25 years into an award-winning health benefits provider offering a variety of commercial and government-sponsored plans to the diverse communities it serves.  CDPHP and its affiliates serve more than 350,000 people in counties throughout New York State.

CDPHP had just implemented a new core claims processing system and data warehouse. They needed a consolidated view of enterprise quality and development efforts across the business. They initiated the project with IBM Rational Quality Manager for test planning and execution. They then realized the value that Rational Team Concert on the Jazz platform would bring through its one central repository with visibility into all the work planned and in progress. Rational Team Concert has streamlined numerous work processes, and the solution has been rolled out to over 800 employees.

"The Rational solution allows our team to develop a business workflow system that supports our organizational structure, not just a software development project," said Tony DeFarlo, Manager, Business Initiatives Analysis at Capital District Physicians' Health Plan, in a statement. "Standardizing on this system will translate to a substantial productivity gains and cost savings."

Moreover, the collaborative solutions announced represent new levels of  lifecycle integration, enabled by the adoption of open specifications from the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration community (OSLC) OSLC is an open community, that is seeking to standardize the way tools share information such as requirements, tests, work items, change requests and designs with one another.  IBM, along with other members of the OSLC community, is encouraging adoption of the specifications.  A newly proposed Eclipse project, called "Lyo", will create a software development kit for use by tool providers.  The toolkit will accelerate implementations of OSLC specifications and support the OSLC community goals for improving software lifecycle collaboration.

"A fundamental element of Eclipse's mission is to break down the barriers to software tool and lifecycle integration," said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, in a statement. "For this reason, I am very excited about the new Lyo project and the opportunities for industry integration it creates."  

In addition, organizations are taking an increasingly holistic approach to managing the lifecycle of purchased and in-house application projects.  IBM is announcing a new capability that helps SAP customers reduce costs, manage change, and improve quality of software applications across the enterprise.  IBM's Rational System Architect is helping organizations visualize, analyze and plan their SAP investments and align with business priorities to attain maximum business impact.


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