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Serena 'Conducts' Orchestrated ALM

Serena Software's latest chapter in its orchestrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) story now comes with a new dashboard view of developer controls, featuring enhanced requirements and process automation functions for the application delivery supply chain.

The company's current developer mandate is to try to allow software developers to reduce the challenges of siloed project teams working with multiple development tools and methodologies. Since debuting the new Serena Release Management Solution in November 2010, Serena says it has been working to provide developers with a new way to identify and reduce "re-work" and improve responsiveness to the business.

While these kind of assertions arguably emanate directly from the company's corporate message center, Serena does appear to be providing a route towards achieving application delivery visibility through the orchestration of so-called 'demand-to-deployment' processes — the 'end game' result being shortened release times.

Speaking exclusively to Dr. Dobbs Journal, Serena VP of marketing David Hurwitz said that, "Development teams want to be more productive, while business teams want the results of development work faster. These two teams ultimately have the same goals, but the tools that they use to support these processes have often put them at cross-purposes. To overcome these challenges, organizations have to take a more orchestrated approach to their application delivery that covers the whole lifecycle. This should link into the existing tools and solutions that enterprises have in place, and make these work together more effectively to automate workflows and bridge gaps between application demand, development, and deployment."

Serena sets out its ALM stall on the premise that an effective dashboard must be able to flow work data and "insight" to developers, analysts, executives, operations managers, and other stakeholders in the application lifecycle.

The company argues that "other" dashboards provide a view into key performance indicators (KPIs) and correlated metrics, but most are built to report on a single vendor's technology — and that this prevents companies from gaining an intelligent, comprehensive, and timely look at how their critical processes are functioning.

Serena's new product announcement centers around its product, a web-based solution for orchestrating the requirements management process from demand-to-development.

Serena also introduced a new Development Manager Suite, which integrates the newest version of Serena Dimensions CM and Serena Business Manager. Claiming that this is the "first" enterprise-class solution for orchestrating global development, Serena Development Manager attempts to provide a way for organizations to streamline the development and maintenance of applications across multiple platforms, departmental processes, and development tools.

Key features include Platform-Proof Traceability to address compliance issues through automatic end-to-end traceability; Process-Based Development to accelerate development by identifying, measuring, and removing process bottlenecks; and Globally-Proven Scalability that streamlines the administration and sharing of development data for distributed development teams and partners.

"I see that the application delivery function within businesses has to look at wider business processes for software development and change management, rather than just concentrating on putting together code, if it is to meet the greater demand for updates within the business, and the shorter timescales for that work to be delivered in. Serena's vision for application delivery is to make the business process work better for the application development team and the business, letting each section of the chain concentrate on what produces value," said Serena's Hurwitz.

"This approach requires greater orchestration between the two groups, rather than business and development being at loggerheads. On the development side, some of this is due to feeling like management is enforcing specific tools or approaches on them which do not fit with their requirements. This can be overcome by taking a more agnostic approach to what tools and solutions are being used, and linking these at the workflow level. In practical terms, this means letting development use the tools that suit them, and integrating these into the business process management approach. Not only does this make development happier, but it means not ripping out and replacing any existing application lifecycle management, change management tools, or QA tools," added Hurwitz.

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