Business Agility: A technical perspective from the IBM Rational software staff

Mike Perrow, a Rational software manager, explains how Rational software and services can help you attain and sustain what IBM calls "Business Agility:" better decisions through analytics and business rules, a smarter approach to the process of software delivery, and ways to extend your reach with secure, multi-platform and cloud development. He cites relevant features and their significance and benefits in these products, among others: IBM® Rational® Asset Manager 7.5.1, Rational Automation Framework 3.0, Rational Focal Point 6.5, Rational Insight 1.1, Rational Team Concert™, Rational System Architect 11.4, plus support for Open Services Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC), the Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM), and CLM for Agility@Scale.

Mike Perrow, Writer and editor, Rational brand strategy team, IBM

author photoMike Perrow works as a writer and editor for the brand strategy team within the IBM Rational organization. His current focus is assisting thought leaders and subject matter experts as they explain the business value of Rational products and services through white papers, journal articles, blog postings, and other forms of the written word. Prior to this position, he served for eight years as the founding editor of The Rational Edge ezine. He can be reached at mgperrow@us.ibm.com.



11 October 2011

Also available in Russian

On October 6, 2011, three software brands within IBM® -- Tivoli®, WebSphere®, and Rational® -- all launched new products and services under the theme of “Business Agility.” This is an initiative that responds to the rapid pace of change that today's businesses must manage in their networks, partner and supplier relationships, customer preferences, and market fluctuations. But what does this mean to the technical teams who must manage complex projects with shrinking deadlines and increasing performance expectations from management?

This article addresses how the technical products and services from Rational software can contribute to real solutions that live up to the promise of what we're calling Business Agility. There are three themes that define this product launch, each of which maps to a set of new and updated products and services:

  • Make better decisions by using analytics and business rules
  • Take a smarter approach to the process of software delivery
  • Extend business reach with secure, multiplatform development, including the cloud

I'll describe each of these themes very briefly and then explain what IBM Rational software can help you achieve those objectives.

Theme 1: Make better decisions through analytics and business rules

This theme is really about helping your business beat competitors and reach new customers more effectively. Competitive businesses need to optimize their marketing efforts around new products and services. They need to avoid costly service outages by learning as soon as possible of impending disruptions in their supply chains and other critical inputs during the development and delivery cycle. The answer lies in better decision-making capability through business analytics.

With Rational software, you can conduct market-driven product development, which means you're better able to deliver the right goods and services, developed and driven by real-time market data. This yields higher customer satisfaction, greater revenue, and faster time to market. Rational software also helps guide better decisions with the visibility and control that you gain through enterprise architecture.

These are the primary products related to this theme:

  • IBM® Rational® Focal Point™ version 6.5
  • IBM® Rational® System Architect version 11.4

What's new?

IBM Rational Focal Point version 6.5

  • Application portfolio management workspace and guide (entry-level offering)
  • Modernization of UI and visualizations
  • Connection and integration with requirements management
  • Rational Focal Point and IBM® Rational Team Concert™ enhanced integration to bring project portfolio management closer to ALM (application lifecycle management), thereby connecting business and delivery
  • Quality improvements

IBM Rational System Architect version 11.4

  • IBM® Rational® Jazz™ and Open Services Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) support in essential areas:
  • Architecture management (IBM® Rational® System Architect, for example)
  • Requirements management (IBM® Rational® DOORS®)
  • Change management (Rational Team Concert or IBM® Rational® Change)
  • Integrations: BPMN 2.0 interchange (Business Process Modeling Notation)
  • Frameworks and standards:
  • DoDAF 2 metamodel usability enhancements
  • New DoDAF 2 hierarchy diagram
  • New DoDAF 2 reports,
  • DoDAF Migration Toolkit
  • Team development and collaboration: Improved workspace merging

What's significant?

  • Facilitated decision-making for value optimization and cost reduction so you make the right decisions for the right stakeholders at the right time
  • Control and efficiency with enhanced visualization and transparency, cost versus risk, and NPV and ROI assessments
  • Business-driven development when connecting the business and
    delivery organizations
  • Customer and stakeholder collaboration
  • Improved business execution and results via realistic, concrete and repeatable ways to connect strategy to execution
  • Effective planning and implementation of complex initiatives or systems of systems

What are the benefits?

  • Higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, improved productivity, faster time to market
  • Reduced business outages, resulting in cost savings to the company
  • Create visibility, control and understanding of the enterprise, prepare and analyze
    for future evolvement and change
  • Process ownership takes you through mandated compliance and audits

Theme 2: Take a smarter approach to the process of software delivery

If the company you work for is engaged in a dynamic, fluctuating market, it can't afford to base business decisions -- including those affecting software development and delivery plans -- on guesswork. Unless you're extremely lucky, that leads to missed opportunities, and the time required for course corrections is the time that the competition spends getting ahead. Companies need faster, simplified ways to change processes, based on insight provided through automation.

Well-managed application lifecycle management (ALM) practices can help unify development and operations teams, plus provide better planning and coordination. Businesses that use strong process management techniques can deal with opportunities and threats and deliver efficient, new applications without unnecessary delays.

These are the primary products involved with this theme:

  • Rational Software Architect version 8
  • IBM® Rational® Automation Framework version 3
  • IBM® Rational® Asset Manager version 7.5.1
  • IBM® Rational® Insight version 1.1

Plus, there's a new service offering called IBM Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) called Collaborative Lifecycle Management for Agility@Scale (see the next section and Resources for more information about CLM).

What's new?

Rational Automation Framework version 3.0

  • New Eclipse-based user interface, in addition to a web UI, for drag-and-drop and other rich UI operations
  • Improved management, editing, and comparison of environment configurations to identify differences easily
  • Enhanced support for IBM® WebSphere® Virtual Enterprise, including Augment and Promote modes
  • Enhanced security through support of multiple user roles (root, user) and execution of files or actions with related privileges
  • New packaging with simpler PVU-based pricing and no more dependency on IBM® Rational® Build Forge®

CLM for IT Agility@Scale service offering

  • Turnkey, process-driven service offering based on IBM best practices for how to deploy the Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM)
  • Includes installation, planning, implementation, workshop, and mentoring activities
  • Can be combined with additional service components for developing agile coaches, integrating with other solutions or projects, or migrating existing data
  • The Rational solution for CLM, announced earlier this year, is an integrated ALM approach, powered by Jazz technology, designed to help teams avoid the pitfalls of working in silos with broken communication, resulting in project delays, low quality and budget overruns

IBM Rational Insight version 1.1

  • Improved usability through the integration of version 10 of IBM® Cognos® 10 Business Intelligence and Financial Performance Management software
  • Significant improvements to the dashboard UI, offline reporting capabilities for improved performance, Apple iPhone and iPad support, and Microsoft Office 2010 integration
  • Additional platform support
  • Simpler installation and configuration

What's significant?

  • Powerful configuration management and deployment automation for middleware
  • Turnkey, process-driven service offering based on IBM best practices for how to deploy the Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management
  • Ability to measure and manage performance throughout software and systems delivery
  • Analytics to quickly locate root causes, prescribe course corrections,
    predict future outcomes

What are the benefits?

  • Lowers the risk and cost of adoption by deploying a predefined use model based on IBM best practices
  • Accelerates ROI by taking an adoption-through-execution approach and leveraging IBM best practices and process guidance
  • Maximizes learning by delivering just-in-time, role-based knowledge transfer sessions and extended onsite presence

Theme 3: Extend your reach with secure, multi-platform and cloud development

Over the past few years, you've probably seen a rise in customer requests for new applications and services. And that increased demand is coupled with rapidly growing data volumes and a proliferation of tools, platforms, technologies, and application end points. Not only that, you're tasked with ensuring security in a shared resource environment and handling unexpected spikes in demand.

IBM Rational software can help you with efficient, secure application development and deployment capabilities across multiple platforms, including whatever mode of cloud computing suits your business and development needs.

These are the products involved:

  • IBM® Rational® Host Integration Solution for Multiplatforms (HIS) version 8 and IBM Rational® Host Access Transformation Service (HATS) version 8
  • IBM Rational compilers: C/C++, COBOL, EGL, Fortran, PL/I, RPG (see Cafés in Resources)
  • Cloud deployment and ALM
  • IBM Rational Automation Framework version 3
  • IBM® Rational® AppScan® security portfolio, version 8

What's new?

  • New code understating and quality assurance tools
  • Skills mobility with improved compatibility with IBM ISPF (Interactive System Productivity Facility)
  • Enhanced debugging for IBM® z/OS®, IBM® AIX®, and Linux environments
  • Support for GNU C, C++ compilers, and 64b client OS
  • Flexible license management that enables cloud provisioning (IBM x86 blade support)
  • New middleware support, including IBM® DB2® version 10
  • Flexible, easy to use web services options with support for REST
  • Support for the latest tooling and runtimes, including JSR286 portlet support
  • New support for Apple iPad
  • Improves exploitation of zEnterprise 196 and new zEnterprise 114 hardware for COBOL and PL/I languages
  • New support for C/C++ for IBM® z/VM® version 6.2
  • New optimization technology for Metal C (XL C) for z/OS XL C/C++
  • Improves COBOL runtime performance for AIX
  • Collaborative security testing throughout the SDLC (software development life cycle)
  • New Rational AppScan Enterprise Server provides a central repository that serves the needs of all users, from testers to developers to security auditors

What's significant?

  • 22 - 37% improvement in developer productivity and 50 - 80% reduction in host CPU use (according to an aggregation of results from a productivity study conducted by IBM® System z® customers)
  • Reduced development and administration costs for multi-platform applications
  • Extends the reach of traditional applications to a broad range of interfaces and devices
  • Maximize application performance on existing hardware to reduce capital expenses
  • Deploy to the cloud -- or anywhere!
  • Reduce installation time from weeks to minutes by deploying preconfigured images
  • New Rational AppScan Enterprise Server that can centrally manage dynamic analysis, source code analysis

What are the benefits?

  • Multiplatform development capabilities include a standard Eclipse-based development environment for enterprise applications that span multiple platforms, languages, and technologies.
  • Application modernization helps transform business-critical systems into flexible services and extends their reach to mobile devices.
  • Application security reduces risk in exposing legacy functionality in web applications and services through scanning before deployment.
  • Compiler upgrades offer a quick, low-risk way to improve application performance and scalability of existing IT infrastructure, while keeping costs down.
  • Cloud-based environments can transform the development and test phases by reducing costs yet helping to keep up with the pace of change in today's businesses.

Summary

As a major player in IBM's Business Agility fall launch, the Rational brand provides products and services to help companies use business analytics in decision-making, to measure and improve the software delivery process, and to move to secure, multi-platform development, including cloud-based development and deployment. We remain committed to helping you succeed in the complex, often difficult goal of developing and deploying software for IT and systems. As your business becomes more agile in responding to market demands, we'll continue to provide you with the products and services that you need to get the job done.

Resources

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Get products and technologies

  • Download a free trial version of Rational software.
  • Evaluate other IBM software in the way that suits you best: Download it for a trial, try it online, use it in a cloud environment, or spend a few hours in the SOA Sandbox learning how to implement service-oriented architecture efficiently.

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