We chose the name "Innovate" for our annual conference because it's focused on the development and delivery of software. And software innovation is where the competitive opportunities lie these days.
But creating software is no easy task. Whether it's targeted for IT applications or embedded products, software creation remains a complicated challenge.
What should IT and product & systems teams be thinking about these days, as they try to improve their capabilities in software development and delivery?
Here are my five top suggestions:
- Use tools that anticipate your mobile application and mobile device strategies. The field of mobile computing is seeing a proliferation of end-point devices along all sorts of data paths, causing delivery teams to scramble before market opportunities vanish. In 2011, smart phone sales outpaced personal computer sales for the first time. The growing popularity of these devices has increased the number of platforms in use, which means more complicated testing and the need for reuse in core mobile device design. For both IT teams and product & systems teams, the right development tools can help you manage the processes and methods you need to be successful.
- Create more budget freedom by reducing the complexity. In the IT arena, with 70 to 80% of most budgets locked up in maintenance costs and a third of all software projects going over budget, the funds needed for innovative breakthroughs are scarce. What's more, a complex software supply chain -- increasingly defined by changes in cloud, mobile, and social business models -- strain most teams' abilities to govern. It's no surprise that 75% of projects miss their target delivery dates. You need tools that help with best practices like application portfolio management that can help you cut through the waste and free up the funding you need to innovate.
- Streamline the software development aspects of product delivery. For product & systems teams, consumers are demanding more features and functions, faster, and with higher quality. Meeting these demands is increasingly difficult, given that complexity is increasing exponentially, as multiple sub-systems, perhaps designed by different teams located in different geographies, must operate fairly seamlessly. You need requirements management tools and methods that can help you meet multiple, and differntiated, customer opportunities in a way that takes advantage of your core technical strengths.
- Integrate your development and delivery tools. Integrated tools are the technical underpinning of an efficient team. Tools that are poorly integrated or cannot scale to larger projects make it hard for teams to collaborate, which in turn makes optimizing for business needs impossible. Successful teams find and use tools based on common industry standards, tools that work well with each other across the software delivery lifecycle.
- Expand your software lifecycle beyond the development team. Not only should your IT application development group learn and embrace methods that connect them to the operations and production teams (this is the essence of DevOps), they should know that this coordinated effort is directly in line with business priorities. Newly optimized to expand lifecycle management beyond core development, IBM tools and methods can help with this goal.
Our IBM Rational experts can help you with these challenges and much more. And my team and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our spring 2012 product and services launch. Leave us a comment here.
About the author
Randy Newell is the Director of Capabilites Marketing (Go-to-market) for IBM Rational software. He has 25+ years of experience in technology marketing & business development, focused largely on industry offerings, application development software and professional services market management.