The opening of IBM’s Rational Software Development Conference 2007 in Orlando, Florida today is expected to see Big Blue unveil Rational Team Concert, the first product to put flesh on the company’s Eclipse-based Jazz strategy for collaborative development.
Team Concert is said to be heavily geared to the needs of agile development teams, and will be accompanied by wider access to the companies Jazz.net website – enabling customers to populate the Team Concert framework with open IBM and third-party developed Eclipse-based tools.
The arrival of Team Concert is a shot across the bows of IBM’s two key enterprise development tool rivals, Borland and Hewlett-Packard, since it represents IBM’s first formal endorsement of application life-cycle management (ALM).
Borland has championed ALM since 2002 when it launched a series of acquisitions that kick-started its drive to add comprehensive distributed modelling, software configuration management (SCM) and requirement management capabilities to its well established development tool portfolio. Since then, it has used its ALM credentials to build higher-level strategic links with enterprise customers, and de-emphasised, but without abandoning its strong ties to the developer community.
Since acquiring Mercury last year, HP has also used ALM as the cornerstone for its own growth into the enterprise development and software governance arena.
Now though, both Borland and HP must face up to the renewed challenge of IBM in the ALM space. Indeed, analysts such as Forrester Research’s Carey Schwaber has the potential to leap-frog both companies with its Team Concert initiative. Not only does the announcement bring IBM’s ALM credentials in line with both companies, but IBM continues to have a clear lead over HP in terms of development tool provision, and its emphasis of agile methods is also seen as an advance over Borland’s current position.
According to Schwaber, Team Concert gives IBM a chance to “re-take market leadership” in the development tool sector.