Extending Rational Jazz with IBM Lotus Connections

Mainsoft CEO Yaccov Cohen and IBM® Lotus® Connections guru Chris Lamb show Scott Laningham how a smooth integration of Rational Jazz and Team Concert and Lotus Connections and Quickr can have you running 16th-note riffs around your competitors when it comes to collaborative software development and delivery.

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Scott Laningham (scottla@us.ibm.com), developerWorks Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.



29 December 2009

developerWorks: This is a developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. Joining me are Yaccov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft, a company that integrates enterprise collaboration technologies into the work environment. Also, Chris Lamb is with us. Chris is senior marketing manager for IBM Lotus Connections, IBM's social-software-for-business platform.

This is how social media plays the right business tune

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Welcome to you both.

Cohen: Thank you for having me.

Lamb: Thank you. Glad to be here.

developerWorks: Maybe we could kick this off guys -- and Chris, maybe I throw this first question to you -- clearly, social software enhances a development team's experience just like it does everybody's right now with the Web, but why do development teams need something more than just some free Web-based social tools? Like the many that are out there?

Lamb: That's a good question, Scott. Um -- the development teams today are under a lot of different pressures. They're trying to improve their productivity, they're working in a distributed work environment, and, you know, software development is basically a collaborative process. They need to work with other developers and other stakeholders around the organization.

Guest: Yaccov Cohen

Yaacov Cohen is the president and CEO of Mainsoft. Cohen and the management team are responsible for developing interoperability software for Windows® and open systems, including C++, UNIX®, C#/Visual Basic, and the Java™ platform. Recently, Mainsoft has added SharePoint integration software for IBM Lotus Notes®, Lotus Sametime®, WebSphere® Portal, and Rational Jazz.

Guest: Chris Lamb
Lamb Chris is the senior marketing manager for IBM Lotus Connections.

And what we've found with our customers is that they can use social software to really help with that collaboration, right? To use blogging information to discover information and knowledge and expertise from other people that may be sitting down the hall or on the other side of the world.

They might want to search for expertise and find someone with a specific skill for a project that has a tough deadline. And social software profile capabilities can help them do that.

And there's lots of different examples where different social software services can really expedite the software development process.

And so that's really the problem that we're trying to solve with the solution we're talking about today.

developerWorks: Yaccov, do you want to add anything to that?

Cohen: Yeah, I think it's not just helping the software developers to meet their deadlines and maintain agility, it's also about integrating the software development process into the overall business processes of the enterprise. And what people want today, they want the software delivery process to be -- not to be a silo but to be totally integrated with, across different business clients and having the business stakeholders participate in the software delivery process. Because with the Internet, software [delivery] is becoming one of the core functions of every enterprise, so it's really key to integrate the software delivery process with all the business stakeholders. And social software is a great way to do that.

developerWorks: Chris, I wanted to ask you. I know this must -- to be working with Mainsoft on this; there was clearly a need for it and a mandate -- what kind of things were you hearing, even internally at IBM, about the need for something like this?

Lamb: We certainly use Connections software within our Connections development team and that team also uses Rational® products for development ...

developerWorks: Right.

Lamb: ... of software [in the] group. And so we have direct experience with the integration requirements for these two solutions. You know, from the connections development team [experience].

Make connections to a Jazz Concert

Through a trove of integrated components such as communities, file sharing, participant profiles, wikis, blogs, etc., Lotus Connections delivers a social software solution for businesses that empowers them to develop, nurture, and remain in contact with their networks of colleagues; respond quickly to business opportunities by calling upon the networks' expertise; and discuss and refine new creative ideas with communities of coworkers, partners, and customers.

Rational Team Concert is a complete agile collaborative development environment that delivers such capabilities as agile planning, source code, work item, and build management, project health, integrated reporting, and process support to development teams. It can be implemented in a unified or a modular manner.

Rational Jazz is a new technology platform for collaborative software delivery that has been uniquely "tuned" to global and distributed teams. Jazz is designed to deliver a collaborative development transformation experience. Think of Jazz as an extensible framework that dynamically integrates and syncs people, processes, and assets that are parts of software development projects. (Also, you can watch Jazz products being built in a completely transparent manner on Jazz.net.

And we are under the same business pressures that other development teams are under, so the solution is a real direct result of our own use case inside of IBM.

developerWorks: Certainly an example of an extremely large and multi-faceted development team building tools for development teams so IBM understands this clearly, doesn't it?

Lamb: Yes.

developerWorks: Could we get into some discussion here of what does this integration of Connections and Rational Team Concert look like and what does it enable? I mean we started to touch on that but I wonder if you could dig a little deeper for us?

Cohen: Sure. So first we see the ability to find technical and business experts across the enterprise, you know, based on skills and based on experience. And to be able to do that within the context of Jazz and the software delivery process.

It's also the ability to integrate between work items (which are development work items) and and broader Lotus Connections Activities. So for example, if I am getting ready for a trade show and I need a demo to be ready for the trade show, I go to Lotus Connections Activity, which encapsulates all the values tasks which needs to be done to be successful at the trade show. One of them may be residing on Jazz and is a software development task, a Rational Team Concert type work item.

So I have this integration of Lotus Connection Activities with a Jazz and RTC work item which I think is really key.

And the idea is also the ability to be able to search across Lotus Connections blogs, wikis, and activities and to be able to find out that there is actually a very similar project to the one I'm working on which is happening in a different geography and in a different line of business. And we could work together in order to maximize results and reduce cost.

And the last one I want to mention, it's also about ... we have done previously an integration with Lotus Quickr as well, completing the whole collaboration platform.

So you have integration within Jazz of Lotus Quickr and document sharing and you see you also have social software. So for example, if I need a marketing manager to approve the new user interface design that an architect has done, this can be done by simply approving it using Lotus Quickr and this will be apparent from the Rational Team Concert user interface.

So we're really getting to an experience where social software, document-sharing software, Lotus Connections and Quickr, are totally integrated within the software delivery platform.

developerWorks: I wonder if you could talk about the kind of feedback you're getting, the use cases, anything like that? What kind of response are you getting to this functionality?

Cohen: I'm talking to IT executives which are in charge of development and this is one of their top priorities, to break through the walls between business and IT. And be able to really, to be very agile and respond very quickly to change in business requirements.

So having these platforms integrated, enabling these quick workflows across IT and business -- I approve a document on Quickr or I can integrate a work item within a Lotus Connection activity -- so really, breaking the walls between business and IT is the key thing, the key use case we see.

developerWorks: You know, and Chris I know IBM has a new business unit that's all about business process management and analytics, and clearly this is an element in that story about how to achieve that within a business environment, isn't it?

Lamb: Yes, this is a great example of, you know, inserting the value of social software in context of an application. And we're seeing that across all types of applications. Across the whole portfolio.

developerWorks: Where do we want to point people that are interested now and want to find out more about all this? [See sidebar.] I know there's the Jazz.net site and we've talked about Rational Team Concert and IBM Lotus Connections and Mainsoft. But should they go to all those places or should they go to one place first?

Cohen: Yeah, Jazz.net is a great source of information. You can find demos, and you can find blogs. And you should just simple go to Jazz.net and look for Lotus Connections and Lotus Quickr, and you find out about both the integration of social software and document collaboration within Rational Jazz.

developerWorks: Fantastic. And we will include links there, as well as anything else you all want to provide me with in the blog entry for this podcast so people can get directly to this information and find out more.

Yaccov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft; and Chris Lamb, senior marketing manager for IBM Lotus Connections. Thank you both for your time today.

Lamb: Thank you, Scott.

Cohen: Thank you for having us.

developerWorks: developerWorks is IBM's premier technical resource for software developers with tools, code, and education on IBM products and open standards technology. I'm Scott Laningham. Talk to you next time.

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