Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Trends in SCM Predictions for 2006

The January 2006 CMCrossroads Journal came out a few months back. Each January issue of CMCrossroads Journal usually tries to make some predictions about SCM in the coming year (or years).

My predictions on The Future or Agile SCM (from the January 2005 CMCrossroads Journal) actually tried to project thru 2008 (and even 2010 and beyond for one particular prediction). This year we scaled it back to just looking at 2006 (and possibly early 2007).

There were several recurring themes that I noticed among the half-dozen or so articles. No big surprises of course, but the degree of concurrence among the different contributors was very noteworthy (at least I think so):
Globally Distributed development is the new "normal"
Globalization is kicking into high gear in the "flattened world" (see Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat and Barry Lynn's End of the Line : The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation). The trend of globally distributed development is increasing at a rapid rate and will be a more important focus (and more frequent "buzzword", along with "collaboration").

ALM is the "new" SCM!
Application Lifecycle Management (or ALM) is becoming the new/trendy term for the full-spectrum of Software CM. Vendors have spent the last 6 years or so buying-up individual tools to provide "full-lifecycle" suites to enhance an IDE: modeling tools (that do their own versioning), requirements tools, version control, test management, change-request tracking, and others are all being offered as singly-packaged suites of integrated tools. And the vendors are using the term "ALM" for the result.

TeamSystem, and Eclipse ALF & Corona are the new "Vision"
Microsoft's new Visual Studio Team System (and Team Server) will make a huge splash! Look's like the splash already started, with TeamSystem winning a "Jolt" award (tho not in the SCM category). The fact that it's Microsoft and integrated with VisualStudio is enough, by itself, to warrant other vendors "taking notice." With a single integrated tool-set running off the same server and integrated with the IDE, you can do all sorts of amazing things with automated logging and traceability (especially if it's web-services enabled, or the .NET equivalent).

In order to compete, other vendors are aligning with the Eclipse ALF project, which just recently had its "proof of concept demo." ALF is the Application Lifecycle Framework, an under-development set of web-service and interoperability standards for vendor-independent integration of tools in the ALM space (version control, change/defect tracking, requirements mgmt, test management, project tracking, build/release mgmt, and even IDEs and modeling tools). And at EclipseCon 2006 the Eclipse Corona project was announced as a recent "spinoff" of ALF. According to a March 20 InfoWorld article:

    "ALF addresses the issue of integration and communication between developer tools across the lifecycle; Corona enables Eclipse-based tools to integrate with ALF, according to Eclipse. Also known as the Tools Services Framework, Corona provides frameworks for collaboration among Eclipse clients."

Other related Eclipse projects are BIRT (business-intelligence & reporting tools), the Data Tools Platform, the Test & Performance Tools Platform and the SOA Tools Platform.

Integration of CM with ITIL is the new "Enterprise CM"
More and more SCM services departments are having to deal with many of the same issues of IT (and even being lumped together with IT) as they support not just the functions for CM, but also provide deployment, training and support for the corresponding ALM tools, repositories and servers. The integrated CMDB is also useful for both traceabilty and accounting/accountability (think Sarbanes-Oxley).

Also, more and more folks are needing to extend CM into their deployment sites at their customer's operations to help them handle field-issues and upgrades, even monitoring, service-tracking/licensing/monitoring and possibly some CRM functions.

So it makes sense that CM professionals who need to deploy, develop and support "the whole shmeer" are having to learn and understand CM, ALM and ITIL. Word has it that integration of CMMI with ITIL is coming soon.

SOA, BPM and TCO are emerging priorities on the horizon
There wasn't quite as much mention about these, but it seems clear that they will be growing more important this year. Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) will be important to the extent that TeamSystem and ALF are important, and some vendors are already using SOA-based integration for the tools within their own suites.

As the integrations between ALM tools and with the IDE become more seamless, Business Process Management (BPM) and Workflow will become a bigger concern as folks try to more readily define and automate their processes, particularly for deployment to multiple distributed sites.

And Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is becoming an increasingly more prevalent factor in selection of CM/ALM tools. The spiffy features and functionality are nice, but just as much weight (if not more) is being given to business issues of global licensing and upgrade/support, administration/maintenance, along with total cost of ownership.

So where does that leave us today? And how does this relate to the subject of last month's blog-entries about globalization and the resulting business imperatives of continuously connecting and collaborating to create, innovate and dominate?

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