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Borland Announces Upcoming ALM Release

On Monday Austin, Texas-based Borland Software Corporation announced Borland Management Solutions (BMS), a software platform to be released later this year that will allow organizations to track, measure, predict and improve the performance of their software delivery activities, according to the company.

ALM is all about gaining visibility into the perceived "black box" of the software delivery process, said Matt Klassen, Borland's director of product marketing for BMS.

"When we ask our customers how they track and improve their software delivery process, they basically tell us that they really don't have much visibility into that process," Klassen said in an interview. "BMS as a whole is bringing visibility, metrics and decision support for software organizations to a new level."

"Open ALM" is Borland's model for providing lifecycle management solutions for any process, tool or platform. BMS was built on the Borland Open ALM Framework, which supplies the integration technology that connects the system to third-party ALM tools. Essentially, it's a bi-directional linking service designed to allow companies to view and manipulate assets and information in their native ALM repositories through the BMS products, Klassen explained. The approach, called Single Asset Multiple Environments (SAME), is meant to prevent the problems of data duplication and synchronization across tools. This allows BMS to plug into existing ALM tooling infrastructures and provide an ALM "cockpit" view of the entire app lifecycle.

Borland's BMS launch included three components:

  • TeamDemand is an environment designed to facilitate collaboration among business stakeholders and software teams. The idea is to align software delivery with business priorities -- something of a holy grail among the business technology optimization (BTO) crowd. This product/component gives the biz guys a "window" into what the dev guys are doing. It uses the Open ALM Framework to links directly with ALM artifacts (requirements, user stories, tasks, etc.), that are housed in existing tool repositories to provide a real-time tracking system for monitoring the status and progress of requests and projects.
  • Borland describes TeamFocus as "an enterprise project management and execution environment." It does at least one thing you don't see every day: it supports multiple delivery methods (agile, waterfall, iterative) and "rolls up" monitored project-progress information across the portfolio of projects. The idea here is to empower dev teams to do their work the way they want to do it, while giving management real-time visibility into their progress.
  • TeamAnalytics is the business intelligence piece, designed to collect and analyze automatically current and historic data from a broad set of ALM tools. It comes with a configurable set of interactive dashboards (customizable by role) that present a set of industry-standard ALM metrics "to help management build predictable delivery models, communicate progress to business stakeholders, and improve processes," the company said.

Do organizations really need this much visibility into the app lifecycle? According to Bola Rotibi, Principal Analyst at UK-based Macehiter Ward-Dutton, they do. "The pressure is on" for IT organizations to deliver software as a managed business process that is both efficient and predictable, she said in a released statement.

"Software delivery is notoriously complex, and the process of improvement is rife with challenges," Rotibi continued. Solutions that provide the level of transparency offered by BMS "will be well positioned for restoring confidence to both the delivery team and the business."

Borland, long known as a software development tools company, maker of the popular JBuilder IDE and Delphi tools, shifted gears back in 2005 away from its tools business to focus full-time on ALM products.

The BMS trio of products is due to ship later this year, Klassen says. Pricing will be announced sometime in the fall.

More information on BMS can be found here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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