In-Depth

Advantage: The innovators

Once again, Application Development Trends honors some IT organizations that have performed above and beyond the call of duty. We found that no matter what the obstacles -- in this case a flagging economy and a threat of global conflict -- it did not stop some progressive IT organizations from taking serious risks in an effort to build systems that could provide their company with long-term competitive advantage.

This month we profile the winners of our ninth annual Innovator Awards, our effort to pay tribute to IT organizations whose development organizations have undertaken calculated risks to build some very innovative systems. The winners were selected after teams of judges from ADT and Boston consulting firm Keane Inc. evaluated more than 50 projects submitted for the competition.

This year's winning applications were developed by teams at companies of all sizes and in several industries - Aviall Inc., a distributor of aviation parts; Allstate Insurance Co., a financial and banking services provider; Jefferson County, Colo.; Things Remembered, a chain of personalized gift stores; and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. Profiles of each project include some interesting comments from our team of experts at Keane, to whom we at ADT owe a great deal of thanks.

These organizations show that even in tough times, software development organizations can build innovative systems that can help corporations to grow -- in some cases grow significantly -- while their competitors wilt. Clearly, the times require a careful review of any project proposal, but organizations that summarily halt new development during tough times do so at their peril.

This issue also features looks at a couple of emerging issues facing development managers -- Web services/SOAP testing and Web services management.

Regular contributor Johanna Ambrosio points out that testers of SOA applications face both technical and cultural issues. Experts tell Ambrosio that testing the new technology will force operations to abandon the waterfall approach that has remained a key piece of the testing process even as it has long moved out of the other phases of the development life cycle. Ambrosio looks at some of the emerging tools and processes that are coming out for such projects.

ADT expert and columnist Tony Baer examines the increasing need of IT organizations to manage a growing number of internally developed and third-party Web services. To date, Baer finds that a lack of adequate standards and slow-to-emerge management tools are drawing out the effort to tame the burgeoning Web services monster. On the bright side, the standards groups are hard at work and some impressive tools are emerging, but management nirvana is still a ways off.


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Click here to go to the Innovator Awards home page.

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.

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