Facilitating application modernization with application lifecycle management (ALM) is the key goal for HP’s new HP ALM 11 platform, which promises to unify and automate all application-centric processes. Forrester Research IT Application Development/Program Management principal analyst Dave West thinks this announcement will put ALM on the map for IT organizations.
In essence, the HP ALM 11 platform – which is a component of HP Application Transformation solutions -- automates and integrates legacy and new HP tools that handle application processes from development through requirements management through quality and performance testing through deployment. The HP ALM 11 core system includes requirements, test, project management and integration for the developer environment.
“We had a little bit of integration before; but, essentially, we’ve brought much deeper integration now into developer tools,” said Mark Sarbiewski, HP Software and Solutions vice president of products and business technology optimization applications. “We want to bring them into the process, help drive the workflow, but let the developers live in a world they’re comfortable with.”
Actually, the target audience for HP ALM 11 platform reaches far beyond developers, according to Dave West. “HP ALM 11 is aimed at a broader set of roles than HP have traditionally serviced, now including more than quality and requirements to their offering. For VPs of development, engineering --the roles we see filling the ALM management role -- HP is offering a more comprehensive solution with better integrations to development and broader reporting.”
HP is going after a sweet spot in the software – application modernization – with a twist, said West.
First off, an HP-sponsored Forrester Consulting study on application modernization showed that over two-thirds of IT decision-makers will 25% of their annual IT budget on it and 30%.
HP’s twist is taking the ALM route, a path that maximizes HP’s technology strengths, according to West. “This release provides a platform for long-term unifying strategy between their portfolio management (PPM) and operations stories with HP ALM 11 being the glue between those elements,” he said. “Unlike other vendors HP have approached ALM from a change management point of view, with clear focus on reporting, traceability and integration. This different solution is consistent with the fact that they do not own a run time platform - thus they have to be more heterogeneous compared with vendors who want to encourage a platform.”
Forrester’s West thinks this release is a major boon for ALM. “It is without question that this release will continue to help push the idea of ALM into IT shops,” he said.
Historically, said West, ALM adoption has been mostly limited to pure engineering shops, which require a strong focus on engineering and a reduction in the amount of tools used. “For organizations where the software delivery is not the core business, but in support of a core business, it has always been much harder to push ALM … Increasingly it is crucial for organizations to understand what is happening to their application portfolio as they try and deliver better services and products to their end customers. This announcement from HP will focus organizations on that agenda - this is a good thing for the industry!”
The headliners in this HP ALM 11 platform release include features that automate workflow across multiple teams, traceability, and testing activities, including:
• ALM 11 Project Planning and Tracking delivers real-time release criteria and manages milestones.
• Automated tools for integration between HP ALM 11 and integrated development environments (IDEs), which provide traceability and change management.
• Rapid application delivery with HP Agile Accelerator 4.0, which manages Agile development projects with predefined workflows and configurations that significantly simplify the development process.
• Automatically imports business process models into ALM's Requirements Management to visualize business process flows and augment textual requirements.
• New versions of HP Quality Center and Performance Center 11.0 products automate application quality and performance validation processes.
• HP Sprinter enables accelerated application deployment by automating manual testing activities and manually driving repetitive tasks across multiple environments.
• Included is HP TruClient, part of HP LoadRunner 11.0, which tests an application's performance without scripting.
• HP Unified Functional Testing 11.0 - a combination of HP Functional Test and HP Service Test 11.0 – automates and helps improve quality of GUI and non-GUI testing.
A high point of this release is that its requirements tools add business process model support, said West. Giving the business analyst or SME a way to develop a process model, which will then drive out test cases and other process elements, will be great.
Current HP Quality Center and Performance Center users have good reason to move up to 11, West said. “I think that the improvements around integration and reporting will encourage existing customers to upgrade,” he said.
Cardinal Health’s Performance Engineering Group has beta-tested the LoadRunner 11 module in HP ALM 11 and will adopt the new platform, said Don Jackson, certified product consultant and LR/senior engineer for the pharmaceutical and medical product distributor and ISV.
“There are some pretty significant changes in ALM 11,” Jackson said. “One is scheduling a performance test with Time Slot. Right now when you schedule in Time Slot, it’s not intuitive.” In ALM 11, the scheduler has the look and feel of an Outlook calendar. “So if you know Outlook you can start scheduling and using resources, whereas in the prior ALM world you have to learn how to use Time Slot appropriately.”
Whether HP ALM 11 takes hold with non-HP shops depends upon how heterogeneous HP is making ALM 11. “The reality is that most customers have a combination of tools. That means that the success of making HP ALM 11 the center piece to a customer’s ALM strategy will be dependent on how easy it is to integrate the platform with other tools,” said West.
The heterogeneity options, should they be successful, have other implications. West noted: “Considering how much business HP Quality Center has traditionally got from SAP customers. It will be interesting to watch for how this more complete solution complements or competes with the ALM vision from SAP.”
HP has taken steps to make it easy to integrate open source and other vendors’ tools with HP ALM 11, according to Sabriewski. “You don’t have to buy everything in ALM 11,” he said. HP has published and will constantly upgrade and refine APIs and uses the Restful architecture. “If they choose an open source tool for one of those processes, that’s fine, “ he said. If one takes that path, he recommends using ALM 11 synchronizer or the interface to pull the information into the unified system so you can measure and trace to it.