IBM Rational Business Partners Unveil New Products, Services for Software Development Market

By Alison Diana  |  Print this article Print

Looking to escalate and leverage software’s growing importance throughout a wide and diverse range of industries and applications, IBM has seen explosive growth within its embedded computing business partner community. Here are some of the solutions unveiled at a recent event.

Looking to escalate and leverage software’s growing importance throughout a wide and diverse range of industries and applications, IBM has seen explosive growth within its embedded computing business partner community.

Underscoring the channel’s interest in this market, IBM Innovate 2011, the developer’s annual conference for Rational Software developers, attracted 400 business partners to Orlando, Fla., up from only 40 four years ago, company executives said. Rational and its 1,000 worldwide partners are helping customers reuse software development tools, implement agile development tools and practices, and embed software into an ever-growing array of products, executives noted.

Recognizing this opportunity, more than 20 business partners used Innovate as the setting for announcing new products and services. Rational also recognized solution providers and integrators during the event’s business partner awards ceremony.

"The number of business partners in Rational's ecosystem continues to grow each year and these organizations play an important role in driving key growth areas for IBM," Michael Loria, vice president, business development at IBM Rational Software, told Channel Insider. "The Rational Award allows IBM to recognize companies with solutions that improve the software delivery capabilities of our customers, and help them derive greater value from their investments in software."

Rational Solutions in the Cloud

Like many of their counterparts across the IT spectrum, several Rational partners have focused their development attention on creating new cloud-based products or services.

CloudOne, a provider of Saas (software-as-a-service) services and Rational tools, discussed an upcoming Rational applications store, similar to the app stores available on Apple and Android. Although the as-yet unnamed store will first include 12 to 16 apps, there are about 100 appropriate applications on the market today, said John McDonald, CloudOne CEO, in an interview.

In addition, the Naperville, Ill.-based service provider launched TestStorm, a "canned performance testing service," he said.

"Lots of companies that do software development internally would like to do more performance tests before they go live," said McDonald. "We let them execute a performance test from the cloud. It’s much easier to set up and encourage more testing. It’s extremely elastic."

With TestStorm, organizations have access to up to 50,000 simulated users against applications including HTTP, SAP, Siebel, SIP, TCPsocket, Citrix, Windows, Linux and mainframe, without needing to buy the hardware and software necessary to conduct these tests internally. CloudOne provides both the environment and partners are available to provide assistance on reading results, improving performance, or other services, he said.

"Our customers have saved more than 70 percent off traditional testing methods," McDonald said. "We’re fast, too. We can often complete tests within 24 hours."

Rational business partner Atos Origin also turned its attention to testing in the cloud, debuting Test & Acceptance Management Services, which lets clients use a pay-per-go use model for the entire development cycle. The solution, designed by Atos Origin using the Rational Jazz toolset, gives organizations an efficient, flexible way to manage testing requirements, according to the service provider, which has headquarters in Bezons, France.

"The market for cloud computing is set to grow fast and we have identified testing services as one of the first and fastest growing areas. Testing in the cloud is flexible, cost efficient and fast, helping clients to get services and products to market more quickly," said François Gruau, senior vice president at Atos Origin, in a statement.

Expanding relationships and milestones

Worksoft, a Rational business partner, develops automated business process validation and testing solutions designed to slash the time associated with software testing. Although many companies continue to conduct testing manually, those that adopt automated solutions can reduce the time and expense associated with this necessary-yet-onerous task by between 40 percent and 60 percent, said Jim Kent, CEO of Worksoft, in an interview.

"I’d say 80 [percent], 90 percent of people do manual testing. Once you’ve automated, you can look at things you’re about to change and see how they’re going to impact your processes," he said. "The problem with automated solutions is you can do it one time and it’s very different to do it again. We solve that problem."

Worksoft Certify supports SAP solutions and uses an object-driven approach which eliminates the need to generate scripts or write testing code. The solution automatically identifies and extracts representative SAP data, and embeds it into Worksoft Certify during the construction of a test case. The software identifies planned changes to SAP Solution Manager, then recommends and conducts business process tests based upon these proposals.

During Innovate 2011, Worksoft and IBM disclosed a new partnership that allows IBM to resell Worksoft Certify, Certify Impact and Certify Data as an integration option to the IBM Rational Quality Management suite for testing environments running on SAP.

"By this relationship, we’re on IBM’s price list worldwide by the end of June," Kent said. "It will help our brand awareness incredibly. We’re opening doors to new opportunities."

Lifecycle Management Services Unwrapped

In collaboration with IBM, Capgemini launched the Agile Legacy Lifecycle service at Innovate. The service addresses one of organizations’ top IT priorities: dealing with the costly problems associated with managing, maintaining and updating legacy solutions.

"A typical enterprise's application portfolio spending grows at a compound annual growth rate of between 4 percent and 7 percent. During a 15-year life span, the average go-live cost hovers at approximately 8 percent of the lifetime total cost of ownership, leaving 92 percent of the full cost of operation to sustain and maintain function—often without clear responsibility or accountability for that funding," wrote Gartner analysts Matthew Goldman and Allie Young earlier this year.

The new service takes aim at this dilemma, which affects organizations across geographies and vertical markets, said Lon Holden, Capgemini IBM alliance, global enablement manager, in an interview. The service features a "modernize-to-improve" service instead of a traditional "one-stop modernize and pay" format, which typically requires a large, upfront investment. The incremental, iterative service incorporates WARP1 methodology—Wide-angle Application Replication Program—which uses a hypothesis-driven approach, and melds business and system facts with change-management aspects to generate an action plan. The service incorporates IBM’s software, which Capgemini uses to automate and assist in clients’ modernization initiatives through analysis of the code base and the subsequent uncovering of hidden logic and challenges.

"We are addressing the problem of legacy application modernization," Alain Olivier, vice president at Capgemini, told Channel Insider, noting that the service can leverage clients’ investments in IBM and non-IBM technologies.