The term DevOps is a relatively new concept—only taking off in 2013—so when comparing ALM software to that of new DevOps Software it's important to not fall into the trap of thinking you are comparing old vs. new, or that ALM software is not suitable for DevOps.
When software vendors try to elbow room for a new product within the Application Lifecycle Management market they compare the new tool with the “traditional” vendor options which more often than not, implies first generation—baring little or no relevance to the current generation software. The term “traditional” also implies out-of-date and poorly maintained. This is, therefore, a comparison not worth making and yet marketers continue with this strategy. In the case of DevOps vendors, their efforts are concentrated on differentiating themselves from Agile tool vendors and software such as modern ALM Software.
DevOps: Marketing Trick or Modern ALM Solution?
Another common marketing trick is to utilize new terms and trends to rebrand products. In the case of DevOps vendors, and the latest Agile tool marketing gimmick, which is to utilize the DevOps trend and term to try to differentiate themselves from ALM software vendors—the leading tool used for implementing Agile and DevOps at Scale. The problem for buyers is that although there are many innovative DevOps startups, more often than not, new DevOps platforms and tools are failed tool vendors, remarketing and repackaging their offering in an attempt to revitalize their failed project (cloud washing); what is important for vendors is to distinguish the good from the bad.
The argument for DevOps solutions is typically that ALM software did not originate from the world of Agile, and so therefore, it is not designed for Agile, whereas DevOps solutions are designed for Agile. The traditional, historical pre-Agile ALM was restricted to the distinct phases of SDLC—a truth that paints ALM software as being obsolete.
Let’s be clear here, modern ALM software today is designed for Agile and DevOps and is built for implementing all manner of Agile Frameworks, including SAFe and extending SAFe for DevOps.
ALM Software is essential for the implementation and management of DevOps. A modern Application Lifecycle Management software is a browser-based ALM Software that has evolved alongside Agile, (DevOps arose from among the Agile community). Therefore a Modern ALM software is not only an Agile ALM and Hybrid ALM (capable of combining Agile and non-Agile models) but also a DevOps ALM. What vendors should look for is the existing client base, not only of the vendor in question, but the software in question.
How Does DevOps Software Differ from ALM Software?
DevOps software is specifically for Agile methodologies and typically does not support Hybrid models of development (the typical business adoption norm). Some vendors do offer more features than others, whether they be DevOps solutions or ALM Software solutions, so close inspection of features is required. When reading the feature description of an ALM software you might well think you are reading about a DevOps vendor and that is because a modern Agile ALM is a DevOps solution. Typically, DevOps vendors provide niche tools that provide functionality for specific areas of the application lifecycle, such as for continuous deployment or configuration management, and by doing so target small to medium-sized businesses without an integrated ALM Software. This is because most, if not all, DevOps tool features are already included in the modern ALM software and so for the larger enterprise, niche DevOps tools are not necessary.
This is particularly true for those ALM software solutions that are designed for implementing the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) – the most popular of frameworks for scaling Agile for Enterprise use. This is because SAFe is designed to accommodate the concept of DevOps, therefore the tools that support SAFe should also support DevOps. If your business is using a large number of tools to manage your DevOps environment, then its time switch to an integrated ALM software such as codeBeamer ALM (affordable for all sizes of businesses). DevOps tools can complement the role that ALM software provides in some circumstances and should only be considered with this particular aim in mind, where additional functionality is required and not available.
For DevOps, ALM software should come first and should include advanced business process management (BPM) for further integration with other tools, such as the BPM provided by codeBeamer ALM.