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IT Management Is Mature Yet Still Reinventing Itself

Joseph Gulla starts a new series on IT management and application lifecycle management

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This week, I begin a new series—a focus on IT management. I’ll start with a review of the basics then move to application lifecycle management used to manage the governance, development and maintenance of computer programs.

What Is IT Management?  

IT management refers to the monitoring and administration of an organization’s IT systems including hardware, software and networks. IT management focuses on how to make information systems operate reliably and at the right cost. Over the years, the scope of IT management has expanded to include the notion of a service, which includes focus on IT personnel. With this additional focus, IT management is also about helping people work better.
 
IT management has evolved. In the early days of IT, management was not a major focus because the priorities were the rapid deployment of systems and applications. In the 1970s and 1980s, systems, networks and applications were deployed and in production—now there was something important to manage so the need IT management began to develop with urgency. In the 1990s, when distributed applications were rolled out in great numbers, application management became a new and specialized concentration of IT management. Since application components were distributed across multiple systems connected by the network, IT managers had new challenges. When there was a disruption in the application, they had to figure out where, in this maze of systems supporting applications, databases and messaging systems, the problem was. IT management was reinvented.
 
Today, the discipline of IT management, in its many forms and specializations, is mature yet growing and changing in response to technology undertakings like cloud computing, microservices and IoT. Business growth is also driving the need for IT management, as growth typically requires IT support. This puts personnel and the systems and services they support into the spotlight with greater attention.

Application Lifecycle Management  

Application lifecycle management is the people, tools and processes that manage the lifespan of an application from concept and design to the application’s end of useful life. It’s made up of several disciplines that are often separated within mature development processes, such as the waterfall development method. These masteries include project management, requirements management, software development, testing and quality assurance, deployment, and maintenance. 
 
Application lifecycle management tools have evolved rapidly throughout the years. These tools support development methodology and work processes that have evolved over time starting with linear stage-gate processes and incorporating various innovations such as Scrum, extreme programming and Kanban boards.

The integrated application lifecycle management tools market started to expand around 2003 but supported waterfall mainly because Agile was not yet mainstream. By 2010, Agile became mainstream and application lifecycle management tools were revolutionized by it, so next-generation application lifecycle management tools had to support hybrid processes. At the same time, DevOps emerged, and quickly gained mainstream status. DevOps had less impact on application lifecycle management tools than Agile, because DevOps tooling formed a separate tools market focused on creating continuous integration and continuous delivery techniques.

Application Lifecycle Management Products

IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management provides a collection of related solutions developed to help worldwide teams design and develop products, systems, and systems of systems. The product is delivered both on-premises and on the cloud as a software as a service.
 
On-Premises Offerings 
 
IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management, formerly known as IBM IoT Continuous Engineering, is a suite of engineering and development tools that help systems engineers, application developers, embedded developers, testers, project managers, and people in many other roles work together to create beneficial products and systems. This solution supports the team’s ability to plan, design, develop, test and manage change more effectively. The suite has the following software components:
 
Name Purpose
IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next (previously Rational DOORS Next Generation) Define, manage and analyze requirements
IBM Engineering Workflow Management (previously Rational Team Concert) Task tracking, source control and agile planning
IBM Engineering Test Management (previously Rational Quality Manager) Plan, develop, execute and report on test plans
IBM Engineering Systems Design Rhapsody (previously IBM Rational Rhapsody) and Engineering Systems Design Rhapsody Design Manager (previously IBM Rhapsody Design Manager) Assist model-based systems engineering and model-driven development
IBM Engineering Lifecycle Optimization - Method Composer (previously IBM Rational Method Composer) Process management platform with a method authoring tool and a process asset library
IBM Engineering Lifecycle Optimization - Engineering Insights (previously IBM Rational Engineering Lifecycle Manager) Helps to visualize and analyze engineering data
IBM Engineering Lifecycle Optimization - Publishing (previously IBM Rational Publishing Engine) Automates the generation of document-style reports—those needed for formal reviews, contractual obligations, regulatory oversight and others
 
There is a subset of the main product called IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management Base, which includes three main components from the above table:
  1. Engineering Workflow Management 
  2. Engineering Test Management  
  3. Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next  
Cloud Offerings 
 
IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management Extended SaaS includes the following tools:
  1. IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next  
  2. IBM Engineering Workflow Management  
  3. IBM Engineering Test Management  
  4. IBM Engineering Systems Design Manager, specifically the Architecture Management server known as "Rhapsody Model Manager"
  5. IBM Engineering Lifecycle Optimization - Engineering Insights  
IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management Base SaaS, a subset of the full SaaS offering, includes:
  1. Engineering Workflow Management  
  2. Engineering Test Management  
  3. Engineering Requirements Management DOORS Next  
The IBM UrbanCode® family of products (IBM UrbanCode Build, IBM UrbanCode Deploy and IBM UrbanCode Release), which automates software continuous delivery in a DevOps process is available separately and is not part of the Engineering Lifecycle Management solution.

The IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management Family

Clearly, this product family has significant functionality that helps a variety of IT personnel do a diversity of application lifecycle management tasks. It runs on premises and in the cloud as a service. The offering that runs in the cloud has different pricing that reflects the flexibility of cloud-based offerings. When the product was announced in 2019, it included a collection of enhancements to common capabilities and improvement to quality of services in domains like performance and reliability, scaled agile framework, Jazz reporting service and many other areas.

Next Week

Next week, I’ll continue my focus on IT management in the area of hybrid IT management.
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