Has application lifecycle management (ALM) passed its use-by date? Some CIOs apparently think so.

"The concept of ALM is dying in the eyes of these CIOs," Jeff Findlay, Borland architect for Asia Pacific at Micro Focus, told iTWire.

Which CIOs was he talking about? Those that see an important part of their role as managing a "software supply chain" where the organisation retains control of the intellectual property and business value around software, but outsources some or all of the execution to various suppliers.

But 81% of the CIOs responding to the company's most recent survey said they do not have confidence that their partners understand what is needed. Communication between the business and the execution team is an issue, regardless of the methodology, so testing is becoming the "quality gate" for projects.

ALM would seem to be relevant still, but according to Mr Findlay the problem is that each supplier makes its own choice of toolset, so the client CIO does not have visibility of the overall project: "this is a major problem."

Not surprisingly, Micro Focus's Borland operation is working on a solution. Borland Connect will gather information from disparate toolsets to provide the required visibility.

Mr Findlay compared the current situation with the way the vehicle manufacturers buy in all sorts of subsystems and parts for just-in-time delivery for assembly into a car or truck. But where the manufacturers have systems in place so they can see what's happening at the suppliers, for IT departments this control component only exists in the minds of individual project managers.

While some providers - possibly including the well-known names - might resist such moves, he suggests that the importance placed on the issue by CIOs means they will need to participate or risk missing out on future opportunities, he said.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.


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