Friday, April 22, 2016

Automation Technologies Pty Ltd

The Cost of Doing Nothing - Application Life Management ALM

A high quality Application Life Management (ALM) system is extremely important to the long term success of a business. So why do we see more and more vendors coming up short when it comes to updates and regular improvements? An ALM system is an asset for developers and software companies alike. High performance IT organisations become successful by staying ahead of the curve. By using strategic technology and best practices they are able to ensure high quality products on time and on budget while remaining compliant. Without these traits, quality companies would become casualties of war to their competitors.

In order for ALM vendors to properly support their clients with regular updates and reliable customer service, they need to stay on top of platform enhancements. This is achieved by staying up to date with constantly changing and improving languages, devices, mobile requirements, compliance rules and real-time everything. Staying up to date with new technologies is essential for vendors who wish to remain at the forefront of the market.

Making the switch to a modern ALM solution is a must for long term survival, so what’s the hang up for most development leaders? Surprisingly, there are a few specific reasons that many development leaders shy away from modern ALM, but the cost of doing nothing is much higher than they think.

A new ALM solution would be too expensive

Many would say that switching to a quality vendor or modern solution would be too expensive. But if your vendor isn't giving you product enhancements, platform updates etc., you could be paying the price of being left behind which eventually translates to being obsolete.

According to research, "84% of IT projects are late or over budget or both, 31% are cancelled before completion, and completed projects on average only deliver 42% of the anticipated benefits".
A modern application lifecycle management system is a must-have for developers. Without up to date functionality and access to current tools your company could see profit margins that suffer, and that just isn't acceptable.  And when it comes to compliance, without an automated management system, the IT team will have to spend valuable time on compliance-related activities which in turn slows down workflow and productivity.

The R&D department at your vendor should be motivated about addressing new industry trends as well as listening to and implementing the customer requests and concerns. Giving the end user the upper hand is easy with integrated tools and features like built-in compliance reporting templates and compatibility and remote access with mobile devices. The right ALM solution will also provide tools to keep the user and management up-to-date like dashboards, real-time reports and analytics, and automated workflows.

While the cost of a new ALM solution isn't cheap, the cost of doing nothing is enormous- especially in the long run. Whether it's not meeting app release dates, lost opportunities, painful audit processes or lost hours spent on compliance issues, it’s clear that it quickly takes a heavy toll on the business.

Why fix a solution that’s not broken?

In today’s ever-changing business environment, good enough just doesn't cut it. Business users want the best and they want it now.

In a modern and sophisticated IT environment, development teams are expected to deploy functionality and fixes quickly. At the same time, database servers, web servers, varied clients and mobile devices contribute to the development difficulty as they create complex release processes.

This is why a modern ALM is a must-have solution in order to monitor all the processes and people that have a hand in the application lifecycle. The ability to bring together systems and workflows, reduce production errors and maximised collaboration gives the user a serious advantage. Combined with mobile access, point and click compliance reports and A to Z process automation, it is a wise decision to upgrade.

In the end, the cost of staying with an older ALM system is the inability to take advantage of new technology and grow with the environment. You'll lose staff hours wasted on manual processes, fixing corrupt code and dealing with the aftermath of coding errors. All of these dilemmas keep your team away from growth-based activities and keeps their hands tied with clean up.

The change will take too much time?

The time it takes to get up and running is short if you know how to choose a quality vendor. The right vendor will provide immediate visibility, coordination and control across distributed systems, teams and tools. It will save resources to bring teams together to share, communicate, update, warn etc. about any application projects. Now, change can be scary and one of the main concerns that companies have is the time it takes for staff to become accustomed to the new system.

A quality vendor will provide the proper support to get you and your team up to speed and the time invested will pay for itself in the usability and increased productivity.  Yes, the initial transformation will take some work, but probably less than you think. And the benefits are immeasurable when you take into account what you’re gaining in terms of real-time visibility, flexibility, accuracy and automation.

My ALM system only serves development

Technology is changing all the time and in order to remain a high speed operation, you need to be progressive. If your ALM system is isolated from operation, IT and management, you’re missing out on a time and money-saving tool. With an integrated ALM system, the user can enjoy real-time control for the development and delivery organisation. Whether it’s code, projects, deployment status, workflow, testing, release progress, operations, processes, reports, dashboards or hardware status, choosing the right application life-cycle management solution will provide regular updates on all of the above. As DevOps departments evolve in the enterprise, your ALM system needs to serve as the central hub. Giving development teams, operations people, team members, auditors and programmers a real-time solution to interdepartmental communications resulting in more informed decisions. Again, the losses taken in productivity from less automation, the lack of visibility across the entire development organisation, the inability to support new technology and the problems that arise from not sharing information outweigh the cost of changing systems.

In the end, making the change will actually save you money in the long run because you'll save time, and as the old saying goes "time is money". A modern ALM system will allow departments to communicate changes at every level. The improved visibility increases workflow and gives users advanced capabilities in terms of fast and accurate decision-making.  And the support the users get from a quality vendor is unmatched, as they are given access to the latest interfaces and devices, support for any current OS, support for all platforms on which you are developing code, support for both mobile and web development, and out of the box plug-ins to integrate with other tools. They should offer compliance report templates and should deliver single screen visibility on everything IT. And finally, an adjustable point and click distribution and deployment and mobile functionality for everything.

You must stay current and flexible to be able to adapt to the ever-changing market. Without these capabilities, it’s only a matter of time before your competitors get the leverage they need to make your brand obsolete. Better your chances to stay afloat by investing in a modern ALM system. Like they say "buy once, cry once".


Daniel Magid is Rocket’s IBM i solution leader and Director of the Rocket Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and DevOps lab. Having started his career at IBM in 1981 in the midrange computer division, Daniel brings to Rocket Software more than 30 years of experience in the IBM midrange marketplace. Prior to coming to Rocket as part of the acquisition of Aldon in 2011, Daniel was Aldon's CEO and Chief Product Strategist. Daniel led the growth of Aldon from a small 4 person consulting company to the largest provider of ALM and DevOps solutions in the IBM i market. Daniel is a recognised expert in application development and DevOps in the IBM i market and a well-known presence at IBM i conferences.

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