Profile: Telelogic and Enterprise Lifecycle Management
Telelogic seeks to define how enterprises manage innovative processes.
- By Peter Varhol
n 1997 the Swedish Telelogic was a small provider of modeling and protocols for European telecommunications companies. The company was known fairly well inside the rarefied world of embedded systems development, but almost completely unknown in the mainstream software industry.
Today Telelogic has 10 times the revenue that it had nine years ago, and a broader product portfolio, including solutions for requirements management, customer needs management, enterprise architecture, and more. And the company has made an international name for itself among those who follow general software development, and particularly, software engineering processes and practices.
Why has the company evolved so much in less than a decade? According to CEO Anders Lidbeck, Telelogic could have remained a small provider of telecommunications software, primarily staying in the European market. But he saw a larger vision. "ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] software was starting to refine how companies did production operations. That was good insofar as it went, but we had always worked with innovators."
ERP focuses on gathering, exchanging, and analyzing information on production processes. But more than likely you want different types of information and analysis of your innovation processes. Telelogic calls its solution to this class of problems "optimizing enterprise lifecycle management."
Take into consideration both the similarity and differences of this phrase with the more common "application lifecycle management.". "Enterprises do more than produce applications," explained Lidbeck, in accented but fluent English. Through the process of innovation, enterprises create new products and services, each of which adds value to the enterprise, directly or indirectly. Innovation has to be managed in unique ways in order to ensure results, and Libdeck and Telelogic identified this window of opportunity in the market.
Another reason for the shift in the company's industry image is that a majority of its revenue comes from the United States. "In 1998," according to Lidbeck, "seven percent of our revenues came from the US. Today 40 percent of our revenue [does]." This change in revenue origin represents the change in product mix to focus on the needs of enterprise innovation management.
The Role of Acquisitions and Embedded Systems
How did Telelogic get to the point where it can call itself a premier provider of enterprise lifecycle management solutions? Primarily through acquisitions. Among the first products acquired was DOORS, the popular enterprise requirements management package, with the acquisition of Quality Systems & Software, Ltd. (QSS). Telelogic also acquired Synergy, its offering for task-based Change Management and Configuration Management. More recently, it bought Popkin Software and Popkin's enterprise architecture software product, System Architect.
The company also remains committed to its roots in embedded systems. A recent acquisition, i-Logix of Andover, Massachusetts, solidified the company's role in embedded development. I-Logix's Rhapsody provides UML modeling for embedded developers, and Statemate offers a state charting and state execution tool.
With this acquisition, Telelogic has become a vendor that focuses on innovation across the enterprise, from IT applications to embedded projects. Embedded systems might seem an odd fit for the company, but there are two reasons for this initiative, according to Lidbeck.
First, there is historical incentive. Given the company's background, it is important from both a business and a heritage sense to continue investing in embedded development.
Second, embedded systems fit into the enterprise lifecycle strategy. Lidbeck said, "Enterprises are doing more things at the edge. Mobile and wireless systems, and devices on the manufacturing floor. All of these are being tied in with traditional enterprise IT systems. So enterprises have to manage these projects, too." In fact, you might find it more important to understand and manage these types of projects than traditional IT projects, because in many cases such projects break new ground in design and implementation.
Telelogic's Focuses Today
One area of focus is enterprise change management. An enterprises needs to assess and authorize change requests, from both internal and external sources, using a change management workflow customized to its needs. An enterprise must not only coordinate changes, but it must also communicate changes across the organization. Telelogic's Synergy provides change management solutions for these uses.
Another emphasis is customer needs management. Lidbeck pointed out that almost 50 percent of all new product launches fail because the product does not meet customer needs. Most companies do not think in terms of customer needs, but rather product requirements. Telelogic products enable companies to work with customer conversations and other documented needs, and track these needs forward into product and service development. DOORS satisfies this need and lets enterprises define requirements early in the process and track them throughout the system development lifecycle.
Telelogic is also committed to enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture is fundamentally about structure and decisions that affect both application development and application use, across all or the majority of applications. Lidbeck explains that a well-developed enterprise architecture solution enables organizations to respond rapidly, effectively, and positively to the opportunities and challenges presented by today's market changes, industry consolidations, and technological advances. Telelogic support this initiative with its System Architect product.
Finally, Telelogic is a strategic member of the Eclipse Foundation, and in charge of the Eclipse Process Framework (EPF), an Eclipse project that defines and automates processes for software and system development activities. The company is actively involved in defining how processes are constructed and followed in the Eclipse view of the application lifecycle.
You might have difficultly relating enterprise lifecycle management to the role of a system and software developer. Enterprise lifecycle management represents the framework under which all of the development teams operate. Most design and development activities occur within the boundaries set by Telelogic's initiatives.
What does the future hold for a company that has changed direction over the last nine years as drastically as Telelogic? The company isn't ruling out more acquisitions, and Lidbeck acknowledges that enterprises that are focused on managing innovation need more tools to do so. But the vision of managing innovation through enterprise lifecycle management processes and solutions is a unique one, and Telelogic might be the only software vendor with this focus today.
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Peter Varhol is a principal at Technology Strategy Research LLC, an industry analysis and consulting firm.