IBM completed its $845 million acquisition of Telelogic AB, a Swedish development tool maker, in April. Now, a little more than seven months later, IBM officials say the integration of Telelogic’s products into the IBM Rational portfolio is moving forward smoothly.
IBM announced its intent to acquire Telelogic in June of 2007, but the deal took a long time to gain approval from both U.S. and European regulators — perhaps partly because there was a great deal of overlap between the Telelogic product line and that of IBM’s Rational division. Indeed, prior to IBM acquiring Rational in 2003, Rational and Telelogic were competitors, particularly in the scientific and engineering, complex systems development and embedded systems spaces, where Telelogic specializes. In fact, when IBM announced plans to acquire Telelogic, the company said the move would help IBM in those very markets, as well as in the automotive market.
In an interview with eWEEK, Dominic Tavassoli, program director, systems marketing, IBM Rational, said that together, IBM and Telelogic provide a comprehensive offering for defining, modeling, building, testing and delivering the software used in systems in the aerospace and defense, telecommunications, electronics, automotive and other industries.
“We have a joint portfolio, there will be no forced migrations from one product line to another, and we’re leveraging a common back end with the [IBM] Jazz server,” Tavassoli said. Moreover, Tavassoli said IBM would be upgrading the user interface and web interfaces of the Telelogic software. Tavassoli was vice president of marketing at Telelogic when IBM bought the company.
Commenting after IBM finalized the Telelogic acquisition, Tony Baer, an analyst with Ovum, said:
““This is the biggest and by far most complex acquisition in the ALM [Application Lifecycle Management] space in easily a decade. Since 2000, most major acquisitions have generally consisted of gap-fillers, such as adding a testing or requirements management product to fill out a product line. For IBM/Rational and Telelogic, it was more the equivalent of bringing together a couple ERP companies, each of whom had products geared to different markets. For instance, Telelogic Doors and rational RequisitePro each manage requirements, but the Telelogic product is focused on far more complex software projects and organizations. Aside from offerings like Telelogic [Focal Point] or Systems Architect, which were gap fillers, most offerings duplicated, but did not overlap Rational because the products were geared to different markets and use cases. ““
Baer also said: “Add to the fact that as go-to-market organizations, Telelogic and Rational were organized completely differently — Telelogic has always been more product -siloed,’ whereas Rational had teams that cross-sold products. The result is that IBM’s recently announced product roadmap for Telelogic is simply the first step of what will be a very long, and complicated process.”
“The systems space is exploding with the number of devices being developed” and IBM is able to help developers create the software to make those devices and embedded systems run, Tavassoli said.
He said everyday products such as treadmills, smartphones and car navigation systems and even more complex items such as space telescopes, satellite radar systems and airplanes increasingly run on software. Software is driving product differentiation and increasing competition in retail, automotive, healthcare, aerospace and defense, electronics and other industries. The systems development market is nearly $51 billion and IBM sees the next big software battle being fought in this space, IBM officials said.
As Tavassoli stated, IBM’s Jazz technology provides an open and extensible platform on top of which IBM, partners and clients are building new software and systems delivery tools. Jazz technology will serve as a platform for many Rational and Telelogic products integrations as well as new products including Rational Quality Manager, Rational Requirements Composer and Telelogic Team Webtop.
“There was actually a lot of common technology and common components [between Rational and Telelogic] we could share,” Tavassoli said. “We found a lot of similar initiatives in both Rational and Telelogic.” So the product integration has not been difficult. However, “we don’t want to integrate every single product in my portfolio just for the sake of it,” he said.
With the Telelogic tools in place, Rational can offer a complete solution across the development lifecycle, Tavassoli said. And the system architecture space just might have the most growth potential, he said.
A well-developed enterprise architecture solution enables organizations to respond rapidly to opportunities and challenges presented by market changes, industry consolidations, and technological advances. Developing an enterprise architecture produces an organizational blueprint that can help improve business quality, efficiency and accountability. Tavassoli said IBM will continue to enhance Telelogic System Architect and also develop integrations with other solutions across the complete IBM portfolio including Rational, WebSphere and Tivoli.
“We see an opportunity to expand our solution and enrich the Rational brand, but also to reach into the WebSphere and Tivoli brands and enrich those as well,” Tavassoli said.
Single Approach Doesnt Fit All
Meanwhile, requirements management is a key enabler of effective software and systems delivery. Projects vary in size, duration, complexity and formality such that a single approach to requirements management does not fit all.
Tavassoli said Telelogic Doors is best suited for systems and complex IT projects and those involving regulatory compliance while IBM Rational RequisitePro is more suited for software and IT projects and those involving IT compliance. IBM will build on the respective strengths of Doors and RequisitePro to provide requirements management solutions that meet the needs of all types of projects. In addition, an integration between Telelogic Doors, Rational RequisitePro and Rational Requirements Composer using the Jazz platform will provide new requirements definition capabilities.
In addition, Tavassoli said software modeling and model-driven development techniques help developers manage complexity and work at increasingly higher levels of abstraction. He said that already customers are reaping the benefits of IBM’s Telelogic acquisition, with a new integration of Telelogic Rhapsody Test Conductor and Rational Test RealTime that allows simultaneous embedded system design validation and verification. With the added value of Telelogic Rhapsody and Telelogic Tau, IBM will accelerate its innovation in model-driven development and move toward an integrated family of tools using common Eclipse components and the IBM Jazz platform.
With the acquisition IBM also is shaking up the area of software configuration management (SCM), which is the discipline that applies control over the lifecycle of digital assets. To ensure successful development, SCM should offer a proven, team-oriented workflow approach that scales to meet an organization’s needs — from small teams to large, distributed teams. IBM Rational ClearCase UCM and Telelogic Synergy will gradually share technology when it makes sense, and will leverage the Jazz platform, Tavassoli said.
Meanwhile, Rational is addressing the concept of managing change in a software system. With or without a resource allocation plan, the assets available and the demands placed on them change constantly. IBM will simplify its change management product offerings, Tavassoli said. IBM Rational ClearQuest and Telelogic Change share a very large set of common capabilities, and both are planning to evolve to be hosted by the Jazz platform.
However, there is a unique opportunity to define a common Rational Change Management platform shared by both product offerings that will be designed as an extension of the newly introduced “Rational Team Concert work items, ” he said.
Looking at a new offering, Tavassoli said he believes Telelogic Team Webtop provides an excellent example of how IBM’s combined development teams generate incremental value now that they work hand in hand. IBM’s new Telelogic Team Webtop solution will offer a zero-footprint Web client that delivers all the information a user needs from the complete portfolio in a simple, customizable interface , he said. Scheduled for release in 2009, this new Web-based application will improve collaboration and communication within development teams and with clients providing a single view of multiple software development tools.
One area that Telelogic had no similar or equivalent solution to Rational was in the build management space. IBM Rational has its BuildForge build management solution. And “we have found tremendous pickup by the Telelogic users who are interested in using BuildForge with Synergy,” Tavassoli said. “We identified this as an area where the Telelogic team did not have a solution — for release management and build management.”
The increased strength of the new Rational portfolio made possible by the acquisition of Telelogic is an example of how IBM is enhancing its products and offerings for systems development across the enterprise and across the entire product lifecycle.
Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with Forrester, said:
““From my perspective it was a good market consolidation play from a development tools perspective. I think that the messaging about strengthening IBM’s position in the industrial segment with regards to systems development is a bit overblown. Rational was historically strong in the systems space and many of its best customers were the same type of customers Telelogic now serves. From a product perspective, this gives IBM a strong hold on the requirements management market, and fills in some pieces they lacked in EA tooling and embedded design tools.”“