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Expanded focus at IBM Innovate 2010; ALM, Rational and Jazz

For 2010, IBM is planning to expand its Innovate conference focus beyond its Rational suite of software products in an effort improve business systems from within. ALM tooling and products built on the Jazz platform will also be represented this year.

Next week's IBM Innovate 2010 is expanding beyond Rational Software's annual conference attendees to embrace developers who focus on systems of systems, smart products, power systems and hardware, according to Scott Hebner, vice president, marketing and strategy, IBM Rational. "In effect, every business is becoming a software business," he said.

The conference "is IBM-wide, not just Rational. It's a different conference than it was in the past. The majority of attendees haven't attended before," Hebner said.

The focus, he said, is designing and delivering smarter products. To do so, IBM is stressing an integrated process that goes beyond the development organization—to an enterprise-wide integration, with the Jazz platform as the underpinning, Hebner said.

"One of the least efficient business processes is the process of software and system delivery," he explained. "There's a lot of waste in the system, which comes from a very manual process, one that's not collaborative. Most companies can't measure in real time across projects, and therefore improve the process. We're driving an integrated process based on the Jazz platform, allowing all these different phases to be integrated into one process. What underpins change management, requirements, etc., is a common infrastructure based on an open standard called Jazz. We will be talking about how teams need to collaborate, and that extends into operational teams."

Theresa Lanowitz, founder of analyst firm voke inc., said over the past two years "IBM has fully embraced the Rational brand, and understands how critical it is to the success of software." At the conference, she said she expects to "see more of how IBM uses Rational internally to put forth their software solutions in other areas, and also how IBM customers are using Rational technology to deliver innovative solutions in their own vertical segments, which is what the market is looking for."

She said she expects IBM to "talk about the expansion of the application lifecycle; and how we will see new constituents coming into the application lifecycle—stakeholders from the line of business, stakeholders focused on requirements, stakeholders focused on design and architecture."

The cloud will also be prominent, Lanowitz anticipates. "It's accelerating faster than everyone thought it would have. Small and medium businesses are getting into the cloud quickly, and larger-size businesses too." She said she also expects that IBM will address virtualization and service virtualization, and how virtualization and cloud computing are tied together.

Forrester analyst Dave West also expects to hear some announcements around IBM Tivoli. "I think there will be a play on the operations side of house," in terms of integration, he said. "At the moment, Tivoli integration is with the legacy IBM products. I expect integration with Rational Team Concert [RTC] and the more modern products," he said.

Lanowitz agrees. "What we see in the market is the intersection of apps and ops. Ops is saying they have to work more like the application team, and be proactive. I think we will see a lot more from IBM/Rational on how Tivoli is being woven into Rational and Rational woven into Tivoli.

As far as the Jazz platform, West said it's "a great vision." However, Rational Team Concert [built on Jazz] is not gaining much market share. "It's competing with other products in its own portfolio—ClearCase, ClearQuest, etc.; it's priced expensively; and as soon as customers do a real evaluation, they realize RTC is a completely different platform. Jazz is powerful and compelling, but the reality is it's IBM centric, and I don't see many other vendors taking on Jazz."

Lanowitz, however, said IBM has put a lot of effort into building out the Jazz ecosystem. "I suspect we'll see more of the same. IBM is committed to it, and we'll continue to see them grow things out for Jazz, and to expand what ALM really means."

To move customers forward to the Jazz platform, Hebner said IBM is doing three things: extending existing products into Jazz with connectors, rebuilding some other products on the Jazz platform, and positioning Jazz as the underpinning for the flexibility and affordability of cloud computing.

According to Robyn Gold, marketing manager, for Jazz and collaborative ALM, IBM Rational, the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) initiative will also be important this year. OSLC is an effort intended to simplify collaboration across the software delivery lifecycle. "This is definitely the year where that initiative is becoming real," she said. "We're seeing partners embrace it and more products incorporate it. It's a great proof point year for enabling tools interoperability across vendors."

While Lanowitz expects IBM to talk about OSLC, she said the other three big application lifecycle players—Microsoft with Visual Studio 2010, MKS, and HP—have yet to get on board. "For IBM to take a leadership position [on OSLC] is a positive thing, but for OSLC to have a life, you need another heavy hitter. We're seeing those other three companies all make major moves in the application lifecycle as well. Microsoft has TechEd coming up; HP's conference is coming up mid-June, and while HP doesn't think it plays in the application lifecycle market, their customers do; and MKS doesn't have a conference, but they're really powerful in the embedded space."

The embedded space is where IBM is aiming as well, and Gold said the Innovate conference has a number of sessions designed for the systems engineering audience. "Sometimes we find the systems engineering audience brings an additional level of rigor in some disciplines, and often the IT audience appreciates that and will pick up on that rigor. With the Rational acquisition of Telelogic and Doors we've had some success in that many of our IT customers appreciate the additional rigor Doors brings and have adapted it."

Forrester's West said that MKS has made "significant inroads" in the systems ALM space, and that while IBM has all the components and expertise to play in this space, he has been "underwhelmed by their embedded story." In particular, he said, IBM has not transitioned the Telelogic products to the Jazz platform yet. But, he added, "At the conference they may announce a great partnership with PLM [product lifecycle management], or they may announce Telelogic changing to the Jazz platform. If they do, that might change my opinion."

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