Much as we saw manufacturing, supply chain, and accounting apps meld together to become ERP applications, application lifecycle management (ALM) and engineering lifecycle management (ELM) have great similarities, especially as software is becoming increasingly integrated into almost all products. We have all witnessed simple mechanical products be replaced by electro-mechanical products, and then see the process repeat itself by replacing electro-mechanical products and software-driven products. This evolution is happening around us virtually every single minute, forcing companies to rethink the way they make innovation happen. While ALM is concerned with software use cases, requirements, tests, debugging, and maintaining and reusing source code, ELM integrates both the software development and product development side of the house — managing it all in the most effective way possible.
The pressure is staggering for engineers developing innovative products for a constantly changing marketplace. Companies are now accepting the fact that change is inevitable and are adopting processes, practices, and tools that help development teams more effectively manage change. This means weaving new capabilities into the fabric of engineering processes — from design and development to testing and delivery. Development teams are asking for a twinning together of product and software development processes to further support agile approaches and enable teams from both sides to collaborate more effectively, while delivering continuous improvements across every phase of a project.
Digital transformation driving the need for ALM and ELM
Traditional ALM provides a framework for software development which leads to faster deployments, improved workflow visibility, and higher quality products, the IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management environment provides a framework for managing both hardware and software development in concert, so teams can easily harmonize multiple disciplines and deliver innovation even faster.
Take the development of a new car and consider how you might need a management environment that can handle both hardware and software development. New vehicles are designed by engineers and assembled by technicians into what we would call a “car.” But that “car” is a very complex, highly integrated combination of hardware and software. In today’s automobile software developers create millions of lines of code expected to perform safely and consistently for more than 250,000 miles.
For a new vehicle to succeed in the marketplace, globally distributed teams need a pragmatic approach to managing development. From requirements and modeling through development, product testing and release, all information should be stored in a single location. This leads to a single point of truth, that eliminates silos and provides an end-to-end view across the entire product lifecycle for all stakeholders.
As the vehicle example above shows, digital transformation is driving more software into engineered products, increasing the need for ALM-type features in engineering industries. In fact, a recent market report from Forrester evaluated the benefits of integrating your tools and your teams, to extend the benefits of traditional ALM functions with ELM tools.
Developing smart, connected products and software is complex. The IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management tools are a viable replacement of traditional ALM capabilities and not only help improve collaboration and productivity, but also provide your business a more seamless approach to managing both the hardware and software development process across increasingly complex products.
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