Borland ups ante on app lifecycle

Gartner analyst believes Borland's strategy is at least "comparable" with established players in the market.

SINGAPORE--With a new set of IT management and governance products wrought from its recent acquisitions, Borland Software is looking to root itself firmly as an application lifecycle management (ALM) player.

Erik Frieberg, vice president of product marketing at Borland, told ZDNet Asia last month that the company has "started on a route of being more holistic in its approach". "[We're] assessing organizations and their environments, making sure they get the right match of business processes, human processes, and engineering needs," he said.

Over the past year, the company has been trying to reinvent itself by exiting the low-margin developer tools business, in favor of new areas of growth potential such as application lifecycle tool suites.

According to research company IDC, the IT project and portfolio management (ITPPM) market will experience nearly 15 percent compound annual growth for the next four years, until 2009.

Another market researcher Gartner, also estimated the global market opportunity for ALM, of which the ITPPM market is a part of, to be worth about US$2 billion to US$3 billion.

Stressing the importance of using IT governance tools, Michael Barnes, Gartner's Asia-Pacific vice president of research, said: "Every area of the business has gotten more sophisticated, and we've managed to identify more and more processes. The only thing left to identify and automate is IT."

"Being able to effectively measure non-technical business terms will help increase your credibility as an IT decision maker," he said.

So how does Borland's overall vision in IT governance and ALM stack up against other niche players such as Mercury? According to Barnes, Borland's strategy is comparable.

"The big difference between each vendor lies in their relative starting points, which impacts their emphasis, and potentially, their value proposition," he said.

Barnes explained that Borland's background in the application development space means it focuses primarily on governance from an application development and delivery lifecycle management perspective.

In contrast, because of Mercury's long-time focus on software quality and optimization, its IT governance strategy "straddles the line" between application development and delivery, and IT operations, he said.

The company will continue touting its "service delivery optimization" strategy for selling ALM suites, at least for the next couple of years, Frieberg said. "Software delivery optimization has been our focus for the last two years, and will be for the next two years. It's a five-year vision," he added.

Companies which Borland snapped up to further its end include testing tools provider Segue Software, IT governance software vendor Legadero, and software quality assurance company TeraQuest.

The Borland IT Management and Governance Solution combines the company's process improvement and skills training services with a new version of Borland Tempo. The Tempo product was acquired from Legadero, and it provides executives, developers and project managers with tools to manage software demands, portfolio, processes and resources in software development projects.

Customizable dashboards within Borland Tempo provide users with access to relevant data.

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