January 30, 2006 8:56 AM PST

IBM invests in software 'governance'

IBM is beefing up its development tools to give business managers better control of ongoing software development projects, according to IBM's Rational general manager Danny Sabbah.

On Tuesday, Big Blue intends to release a product called IBM Rational Systems Developer, which the company said is part of a bigger push to build so-called governance capabilities in its Rational tools suite.

Often, managers lack a sufficient understanding of ongoing application development projects' progress, Sabbah said.

Sabbah
Danny Sabbah,
general manager,
IBM Rational

"You need a unified view of what's going on," Sabbah said. "If you can't impose structure and discipline on (developer) practitioners, you're subject to chaos."

The Rational suite includes tools for different phases of software development, including application requirements, coding and testing. Sabbah said IBM is investing in enhancements to automatically gather information for project managers so they can easily see if a project is meeting goals and is on schedule, for example.

The rise in compliance regulations and geographically dispersed software development teams is driving demand for better tools to oversee the software development process, Sabbah said. In addition, companies adopting a service-oriented architecture (SOA), in which individual programs are reused, need better tools to track usage and monitor performance, he said.

IBM Rational Systems is specifically aimed at system engineers who design products combining software and hardware. For example, the design process in the auto industry involves teams of designers working on both software and hardware portions of a product.

Big Blue intends to sign on software companies that sell computer-aided design and manufacturing systems to tie into the Rational Systems Designer, Sabbah said.

Based on the Eclipse open-source tool framework, Rational Systems Designer allows users to establish a development process that complies with industry-specific product guidelines, according to IBM. The program can also generate regular reports for project managers.

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