How the Next Generation of CM and ALM Solutions Will Influence the Market

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In his CM: the Next Generation series, Joe Farah gives us a glimpse into the trends that CM experts will need to tackle and master based upon industry trends and future technology challenges.

CM/ALM tools. Expect to see this for CMM/CMMI frameworks to start, with some more specific ones to follow, including CMII frameworks for both hardware and software development.  These in turn will widen the ALM function to
ensure that peer reviews are properly tracked, as are CRB and CIB meetings. The customization capabilities will eventually have to permit definition of such related applications within the same ALM framework.  And it will have to be in such a manner that
operating and support costs remain lean.

Process definition will start from the user interface and will work towards the resulting workflow and data requirements:  What "tabs" (information views) and dashboards are required?  What to-do lists are required for each role?  What are the roles?  What state/transition diagrams are needed for each type of object?  What object-oriented actions are permitted on each item in its current state?  What rules and triggers govern
state transitions and permit full workflow automation? How should data schema be modified to support the requirements?

Ultimately, customization of process will be enhanced with configuration management of those processes so that it is always possible to know which processes were used at which points in time during each product development.

The real challenge will be to ensure that upgrades can be properly managed across the configuration-specific deployments.  If customization results in a long and tedious upgrade process, customers will not move forward and the solutions will eventually grow old.  But where architectures permit customization to persist alongside upgrades, an enviable vendor/customer relationship will emerge. 

So these are the three key trends that will start to shape the CM/ALM marketplace: pricing alternatives, ease-of-use, and effective and easy customization of the solution.  Some
of todays tools will be able to support such an architecture, others will not.

Continued Pressure on Older Technology

As newer technology emerges, there will be significant levels of pressure on older technology.  Some technologies will be able to adapt and carve out market niches.  Others will simply disappear from the face of the earth because they've been overtaken or overshadowed by the newer technologies.

It will become much more clear as to which solutions truly possess a good architecture for moving forward, and which are simply tools built around one or two key concepts that helped them to grab an initial market niche.  CM tools that focus primarily on developer and CM manager tasks may still have their markets, but these will shrink into niche markets.  Tools with architectures that have the ALM picture in mind, and which are positioned to handle the upcoming changes in pricing, ease-of-use and customization, while growing into and surpassing 3G functionality, will gradually take hold as the
longer term solutions while 3G becomes mainstream.

This is why the industry should resist the urge to associate 3G technology with a particular new feature or capability.  3G technology encompasses a wide range of
capabilities which really define a new architectural capability which can continue to evolve.  And solution architecture will dictate the survivors.

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