A totally integrated ALM discipline has been the primary goal of ALM since its inception. In a research document ‘Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools’ published by Gartner in July 2015, it has been said that “Enterprise buyers increasingly see data integration as a strategic requirement, for which they want comprehensive data delivery capabilities, flexible deployment models, and synergies with information and application infrastructures.”
Organizations that hesitate to think beyond system boundaries and still count on email and spreadsheet updates to run cross-tool development phases may face fierce competition very soon, as discussed in a previous article. An integrated approach from development to delivery, therefore, has been of paramount importance to today’s software engineers.
Following are the broad level business benefits of implementing a synchronized development setup in an organization.
1. Integrated Reporting for Better Decision Making
In the absence of an automated metrics collection program across disconnected lifecycle tools, managers rely on team members to provide these inputs and the results are inconsistent, imprecise, subjective, static, not granular, and hard to collate. Whether it is a trend report on ‘Requirements submission vs. Approval vs. Closure’, a report on ‘Test distribution by execution status’ or a project management report for cost vs. effort estimation, disjointed tools do not provide a centralized visibility of all the tool-specific reports in a presentable format. Each tool has its own way of representing data and, therefore, determining the release predictability becomes extremely difficult in an isolated tool environment.
In an integrated ALM setup, every tool and tool’s users remain in sync throughout the project lifecycle. Therefore, integrating processes, data flow, and generating consolidated cross-tool reports using metrics becomes easier. This saves valuable time for senior analysts as producing such integrated reports requires accessing multiple tools, browsing multiple documents, and doing a lot more data mining work.
2. Predictive Metrics for Risk Avoidance
As more and more application development communities are seeing the benefits of remaining synchronized across the delivery disciplines, project managers have now an easy access to consolidated reports and real-time metrics. Using standard algorithm on the live data, managers can generate predictive metrics about the software quality and take preventive actions before the team goes in a wrong direction. This saves additional cost that would be otherwise spent on damage repairing later in the lifecycle. Real-time actionable metrics helps team members to perform regular tasks with confidence and effectiveness.
3. Sustainable Compliance for Stakeholders
Organizations often face the daunting task of ensuring effective compliance requirements like Sarbanes-Oxley, CMMI, ITIL, ISO, Six Sigma, and others. This needs an environment where these compliance efforts can be automated and built into the process throughout the application development stages to achieve sustainable compliance. With an integrated ALM setup, these compliance requirements are made traceable to every stakeholder across all application lifecycle items.
4. Automation in Change Management
Embracing changes in applications and managing them across isolated tools is a major challenge for managers. Without an end-to-end traceability, enterprises continue to deliver applications that deviate from the original requirements. A connected set of lifecycle tools makes it easier to better assess the impact of changes, track the full history, automate change propagation and thus keep everyone on the same page and reduce change reaction time.
Integrated ALM – the Value Propositions for Managers
- Uniform engineering processes across SDLC stages and adherence to the best practice processes
- 100% customized reports based on real-time data coming directly from the tools
- No waste of time in manual aggregation of data from multiple tools of different nature
- Comprehensive reporting that is independent of technology, platform, tools and tool-specific processes
- Automatic flow of data between tools with no chance of human error and data loss
- Availability of reports anytime, anywhere through web access
- Live status of different teams working on different areas of a project
- Quick identification of problem areas followed by necessary corrective measures
- Ability to drill down on the details of any data in real time
- Rapid delivery of customer-driven value by breaking down developer-customer barrier
- Real-time updates for customers on application progress and thus gaining customer loyalty
The net result is a unified, automatically synchronized software engineering and collaboration system that delivers enhanced value to customers and provides a competitive advantage.