Maximize application lifecycle management with SaaS
The scalable, flexible software-as-a-service model lets organizations balance many demands and keep the migration to ALM cost-effective.
Fifteen years ago, the software development lifecycle revolved around fixed requirements, in-house developers, and drawn-out “big bang” projects. No wonder so many software projects failed to deliver in terms of cost, timeliness or functionality.
Today, a global economy and a new focus on business agility have driven a major shift in software design, development and delivery. Enterprise engineering projects rely on activities managed by multiple personas, from business analysts (requirements) through developers, testers and QA engineers. These activities span companies, locations, countries and geographies.
While Agile development methodologies are increasingly being adopted as the de facto standard to reduce total cost of ownership, increase quality and reduce time to market, the move to application lifecycle management (ALM) brings its own challenges.
- How can we bring our different teams and stakeholders together to work on one ALM toolset?
- How can we standardize the processes supporting ALM?
- How do we best and most cost-effectively integrate existing tools and build a coherent ecosystem to support our ALM implementation?
- How do we drive best practices and enablement to our dispersed stakeholders?
- How can we scale our ALM solution as business dictates?
- With the degree of IT complexity continuing to rise, how can we redeploy our internal IT teams to focus on strategic projects rather than on routine functions?
ALM is key to meeting these challenges head on, but companies often find in-house models inefficient and ineffective. Many organizations are increasingly turning to ALM delivered as software as a service (SaaS).
Why SaaS for ALM?
When organizations look to migrate to ALM, they’re usually trying to balance many competing requirements: delivering projects on schedule while standardizing processes, building a coherent ecosystem while managing greater diversity in teams and stakeholders, and dealing with increasing scrutiny on costs while staying responsive to the business.
With SaaS, costs are incurred with use, and use happens only when you need it. In a subscription model, SaaS is counted as an operating expense, which avoids the need for upfront capital expenditure and complex multiyear accounting for depreciation. Beyond the benefits of the licensing model, SaaS vendors typically maintain additional capacity at all times to allow for rapid growth in demand. Scalability is built in, enabling IT to act nimbly when conditions change.
What to look for in an SaaS-based ALM solution
SaaS can let companies more nimbly adapt to changing business drivers and, in doing so, become more competitive. But as with any new technology, not all approaches are equally worthy. A good SaaS-based ALM solution should exhibit certain characteristics that will ensure it’s always easy for your organization to adapt quickly.
- A hybrid model: Moving ALM tools to the cloud in an SaaS model is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Some ALM tools, such as collaboration applications, are well-suited to SaaS. Others, such as source-code-related tools that require confidentiality, might be better kept in-house. A hybrid model lets you use SaaS specifically where it makes sense.
- A route to an on-site solution: SaaS-based ALM can help accelerate the pace of innovation without lengthy product acquisition, proof of concept and deployment cycles. But at some point in the future, you may choose to bring your solution entirely in-house. Good SaaS-based ALM will make that transition smooth.
- Customizability: Look for a solution that supports your organization’s IT policies, quality of service standards and service levels.
- Security: Demand robust security levels. Typically, aim for ISO 27001, SAS70 and Safe Harbor.
- Integrations: SaaS providers should be able to help implement and support integrations around ALM with best practices gleaned from a long history of successful engagements.
- Flexible licensing: Look for a solution that provides the business benefits of the cloud such as elasticity, quick time to value and subscription-based licensing. For example, avoid being locked into a long-term contract. Look for a subscription model that allows you to pay in whatever way is best for you: monthly, quarterly or annually.
- Support: Around-the-clock support is critical. Make sure you understand the vendor’s stated response and resolution times.
- Credibility: Talk to analysts from firms such as IDC, Forrester, Gartner and Ovum to get their take on the vendor and the solution you’re considering.
- Ongoing mentoring and customized training: As your organization grows more nimble, new opportunities for productivity gains will appear. Look for a vendor that had the experience and “know-how” to mentor your IT and quality teams on how to apply the latest best practices.
Software development today often presents more challenges than traditional ALM solutions are equipped to handle. The SaaS model, with its flexibility and built-in scalability, may answer those challenges head on. To learn more about SaaS-based ALM, read the HP solution brief, “Scale with speed and confidence.”