Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.
Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series, coming to you from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Barcelona.
We're here the week of November 29, 2010 to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations, making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. [See more on HP's new ALM 11 offerings.]
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I’ll be your host throughout this series of Software Universe Live discussions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
To learn more about HP’s big application lifecycle management (ALM) news, the release of ALM 11, and its impact on customers, please join me now in welcoming Jonathan Rende, Vice President and General Manager for Applications Business at HP Software. Welcome, Jonathan.
Jonathan Rende: Hey Dana. How are you doing?
Gardner: I'm doing well. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that applications are more important than ever, and they're probably going to become even more important. What’s more, we're looking at a significant new wave of applications refresh. So it strikes me that we're at a unique time, almost an inflection point in the history of software. Am I overstating the case?
Rende: No, not at all, Dana. Over the last 25 years that I've been in the business, I've seen two or three such waves happen. Every seven to 10 years, the right combination of process and technology changes comes along, and it becomes economically the right thing to do for an IT organization to take a fresh look at their application portfolio.
What’s different now than in the previous couple of cycles is that, as you said, there is no lack of business applications out there. With those kind of impacts and requirements and responsibilities on the business, the agility and innovation of an application, is now synonymous with the agility and innovation of the applications themselves in the business.
Gardner: It seems like we're also at a point where we need to speed up the process. The legacy, the traditional means of application development, the sequential process, perhaps even the siloed organizational approach -- are all conspiring to hold us back. What needs to happen to break that logjam?
Rende: It’s not really the case that the people building, provisioning, testing, and defining the applications are lacking or don’t know what they're doing. It’s mostly that the practices and processes they're engaged in are antiquated.
What I mean by that is that today, acquiring or delivering applications in a much more agile manner requires a ton more collaboration and transparency between the teams. Most processes and systems supporting those processes just aren’t set up to do that. We're asking people to do things that they don’t have the tools or wherewithal to complete.
Gardner: The more I hear about ALM 11, it seems to me that not only are you trying to bring together the disparate parts of the application process, you're also extending it. An analogy might be an umbilical cord or cords into other parts of the business, so that they aren’t isolated. Does that hold true? Are we looking at both unification and an extension into the large organization?
Rende: Exactly. Not only are we bringing together -- through collaboration, transparency, linking, and traceability -- the core app lifecycle roles of business analysts, quality performance, security professionals, and developers, but we're extending that upstream to program management office and project managers. We're extending it upstream to architects. Those are very important constituents upstream who are establishing the standards and the stacks and the technologies that will be used across the organization.
Likewise, downstream, we're extending this to the areas of service management and service mangers who sit on help desks who need to connect. Their lifeblood is the connection with defects. Similarly, people in operations who monitor applications today need to be linked into all the information coming upstream along with those dealing with change and new releases happening all the time.
So, yes, it extends upstream much further to a whole group of people -- and also downstream to a whole group of audiences.
Gardner: What are the businesses looking for? What do they need? We've defined the problem -- and clearly there is a lot of room for improvement. What do enterprises and governments then do about it?
Rende: Number one, they need to be able to share important information. There’s so much change that happens from the time an application project or program begins to the time that it gets delivered. There are a lot of changing requirements, changing learnings from a development perspective, problems that are found that need to be corrected.
All of that needs to be very flexible and iterative. You need those teams to be able to work together in very short cycles, so that they can effectively deliver, not only on time, but many times even more quickly than they did in the past. That’s what’s needed in an organization.
On top of that, there isn’t a single IT organization in the world that doesn’t have a mixed environment, from a technology perspective. Most organizations don’t choose just Visual Studio to write their applications in -- or just Java. Many have a combination of either of those, or both of those, along with packaged applications off-the-shelf.
So, one of the big requirements is heterogeneity for those applications, and the management of those applications from a lifecycle approach should be accommodating of any environment. That’s a big part of what we do.
Gardner: It sounds as if you need to be inclusive in terms of the technologies that you relate to, but at the same time -- based on what we spoke about a minute ago -- you need to also be more of a single system of record, pulling it all together. How can we conceptualize this, being agnostic, but also being unified?
Rende: You have to be able to maintain and manage all of the information in one place, so that it can be linked, and so you can draw the right, important information in understanding how one activity affects another.
But that process, that information that you link, has to be independent of specific technology stacks. We believe that, over the past few years, not only have we created that in our quality solutions, in our performance solutions, but now we have added to that with our ALM 11 release -- the same concepts but in a much broader sense.
Integrating to other environments
By bringing together those core roles that I mentioned before, we've been able to do that from a requirements perspective, independent of [deployment] stack -- and from a development environment. We integrate to other environments, whether it’s a Microsoft platform, a Java platform, or from CollabNet. The use-cases that we've supported work in all of those environments very tightly -- between requirements and tests -- and pull that information all together in one place.
Gardner: Jonathan, this really strikes me as a maturity inflection point for application lifecycle development to deployment, and reminds me a little bit what happened in data several years ago. The emphasis became more on the management of the metadata about the data, letting the data reside where it may.
Is there an analogy or similarity between what you are talking about in terms of ALM metadata, if you will, over the applications process, while at the same time allowing the process to exist in a variety of different technologies, or even vendor supported platforms?
Rende: It’s very similar, if you think about different activities and the work that’s done in those different activities. A business analyst or a subject matter expert who is generating requirements, captures all that information from what he hears of what’s needed, the business processes that need to built, the application, and the way it should work. He captures all of that information, and it needs to reside in one single place. However, if I'm a developer, I need to work off of a list of a set of tasks that build to those requirements.
It’s important that I have a link to that. It’s important that my priorities that I put in place then map to the business needs of those requirements. At the same time, if I'm in quality-, performance-, and security-assurance, I also need to understand the priority of those.
So, while those requirements will fit in one place, they'll change and they'll evolve. I need to be able to understand how that impacts my test plans that I am building.
Maybe the last example is a developer who is building toward all these priorities, what he is given as requirements. Those, in turn, need to also link as changes to everything that’s happening in the quality, performance, and security areas. Although the information is distinct, it has to be related and that can only be done if you store it in one place.
Gardner: So we're unifying, managing, and governing -- but we're still able to adapt and be flexible given the different environments -- the different products -- in a variety of different types of organizations, as well as across departments within those organizations -- a great deal of heterogeneity.
So, if you do this right, what sort of paybacks do you get? I'm hearing some pretty interesting things about delivery and defects and even managerial or operational benefits?
Rende: Huge benefits. If you look at some of the statistics that are thrown around from third parties that do this research on an annual basis: In almost two-thirds of projects today, application projects still fail. Then, you look at what benefits can be put in place, if you put together the right kind of an approach, system, and automation that supports that approach.
With ALM 11, we're already seeing returns where organizations are able to cut the delivery time, the time from the inception of the project to the actual release of that project, by 50 percent.
Cutting cost of delivery
We're seeing organizations similarly cut the cost of releasing an application, that whole delivery process -- cut the cost of delivery in half. And, that’s not to mention side benefits that really have a far more reaching impact later on, identifying and eliminating on creation up to 80 percent of the defects that would typically be found in production.
As a lot of folks who are close to this will know, finding a defect in production can be up to 500 times more expensive to fix than if you address it when it’s created during the development and the test process. Some really huge benefits and metrics are already coming from our customers who are using ALM 11.
Gardner: That, of course, points up that those organizations that do this well, that make this a core competency, should have a significant competitive advantage.
Rende: A big advantage. Again, if you go back to the very beginning topic that we discussed, there isn’t a business, there isn’t a business activity, there isn’t a single action within corporate America that doesn’t rely on applications. Those applications -- the performance, the security, and the reliability of those systems -- are synonymous with that of the business itself.
If that’s the case, allowing organizations to deploy business critical processes in half the time, at half the cost, at a much higher level of quality, with a much reduced risk only reflects well on the business, and it’s a necessity, if you are going to be a leader in any industry.
Gardner: This cuts across the globe. This isn’t just for advanced economies or developing emerging economies. It’s pretty much across the board?
Rende: Across the board in a couple directions or vectors. One, from small organizations to large organizations, ALM 11 allows small project teams to be able to take advantage of this and get the same benefits as well as large Fortune 10 enterprises that have hundreds of projects, which get linked together into a single release, and those projects are being built in unison around the globe.
It’s really scales from the smallest to the largest organization, and from a single geography to multiple geographies, so they can collaborate, because, as we know, development can happen in many locations today. In the final equation, you have to make sure that what [applications] you're releasing are reflective of an organization, no matter where those activities take place.
Gardner: And as far as that goes for all types of organizations, we have enterprises, small and medium size businesses, we are also talking about governments, and we're also talking about now the variety of different hosting organizations, whether it’s telecom, cloud, mobile, or what have you.
Rende: Exactly. There are so many different options of how people can deploy or choose to operate and run an application -- and those options are also available in the creation of those applications themselves. ALM 11 runs through on-premise deployment, or also through our software as a service (SaaS), so will allow flexibility.
Gardner: We've heard a lot about how important software is to HP as a larger organization across the company and its strategy. Is it fair to say that ALM 11 is a strategic initiative for HP? How does it fit into the bigger HP direction?
Deep software DNA
Rende: As you said, software and our software business are increasingly important. If you look at the leadership within the company today, our new CEO has a very deep software DNA. Bill Veghte, who came in from Microsoft, has 20 plus years. The rest of the leadership team here also has 20 plus years in enterprise software.
Aside from the business metrics that are so beneficial in software versus other businesses, there is just a real focus on making enterprise software one of the premier businesses within all of HP. You're starting to see that with investments and acquisitions, but also the investment in, more importantly, organic development and what’s coming out.
So, it’s clearly top of list and top of mind when it comes to HP. Our new CEO, Leo Apotheker, has been very clear on that since he came in.
Gardner: Super. We've heard a lot about ALM 11 here in Barcelona, and I expect we're going to be hearing more about how this relates to that larger software equation. I'm looking forward to that.
I want to thank you, Jonathan Rende, Vice President and General Manager for Applications Business in HP's Software & Solutions organization. I hope you're having a good show. I appreciate your time.
Rende: Thanks very much, Dana. Hopefully, everybody can get out there and learn a little bit more about ALM and how it fits into some of the larger initiatives, applications, and transformation, that are really changing the entire industry. So good luck, everybody.
Gardner: Great. I want to thank also our listeners for joining the special BriefingsDirect podcast, coming to you from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Barcelona.
Look for other podcasts from this event on the hp.com website, as well as via the BriefingsDirect network.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of Software Universe Live discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.
Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on application lifecycle management and HP ALM 11 from the HP Software Universe 2010 conference in Barcelona, Spain. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2010. All rights reserved.
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