Monday, February 9, 2009

MarketScope for Application Life Cycle Management

Gartner had a report issued in December of 2008 about Application Life Cycle Management market and the main players. Those interested may get the full report here. The report contains several noteworthy observations in regards to IBM Jazz and Microsoft Team Foundation.

In the IBM related section of the research note, it is a bit surprising that many of the same issues raised in the ClearCase/ClearQuest UCM vs. Team Foundation Server post are also raised. Specifically, Gartner analysts point out that IBM Rational “has been hampered by a mass of products built with different technologies amassed through acquisition.” On account of “pre-Jazz” ALM products, the analysts state:

IBM’s pre-Jazz solutions have been able to handle some of the largest and most complex development projects, but they carry a tag of being difficult to learn, expensive to administer and operate, and they now seem somewhat outdated when viewed in terms of current development trends, such as agile.

The history of Rational and IBM acquisition did result in overlapping products, including the ALM domain. On top of that, the current release of the Jazz based products, namely Team Concert, Requirements Composer, and Quality Manager is not yet an integrated suite. According to IBM Rational product roadmap, those products should work as an ALM suite in the future. However, they do not in this release.  Having said this, Gartner analysts have put a great deal of credit into the future ALM Jazz implementations.

We rate IBM as a Strong Positive because of its current market strengths and breadth of portfolio. This gives the company a broad base to sell into. In the midterm, gaps in the project and portfolio management offerings will handicap some broader integrations. The open development model of Jazz, coupled with IBM’s aggressive introduction of new tools and renovated Rational offerings, sets a strong pace. Jazz is a solid architectural foundation for further innovation.

In the Microsoft section, there are a few statements that did not quite make sense, for instance: “gaps remain in some management and execution tool areas.”  What about MSBuild? How about MS Project and Project Server integration? Configuration management? Change management? Requirements management features of TFS?  Regarding Microsoft, analysts come to this conclusion:

We rank Microsoft as Positive. The company has a strong reach in the market, and moderate pricing for a large, stable provider. It has a proven scalable architecture, but it needs to complete the toolset. Furthermore, Microsoft needs to mature its sales force so that it can more consistently reach enterprise buyers.

Without familiarity with other vendors and ALM offerings outside of IBM and Microsoft, it would be difficult for me to validate Gartner’s research and conclusions about the other products. The report repeats some marketing language from the companies, but leaves the reader with unanswered questions about its conclusions.

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