It would appear that according to IBM, the technology segment that is most ripe for improvement and advancement through innovation is the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) space, and that innovation is happening by leveraging cloud based technologies and pushing the ideas of global collaboration between disparate and distributed teams.

A new look at the cloud

Typically, when marketing types talk about the cloud, it's always the same mind numbing talk about cost savings and elasticity, both of which are solid selling features, but neither of these topics are revolutionary enough to inspire any jaw-dropping interest. Sure, some technologies are more elastic than others, and some cloud-based technologies are cheaper than others, but those boring comparisons are just that: boring comparisons.

But what is exciting is the manner in which the participants and speakers at IBM Innovate 2012 are using cloud-based technologies to bring teams and stakeholders together with technology. IBM used day one of the Innovate 2012 conference to announce the release of version 4 of their flagship ALM product, the verbosely named IBM Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management Solution, or CLM for short, but the discussions about how ALM based technologies can be used effectively go far beyond the IBM product line.

The collaborative theme

The big theme is collaboration, and it's not just about collaboration within the development team, the IT department, or even the company investing in IBM’s wonderful software, but instead between every single stakeholder in the process of development. With globally accessible, cloud based, application lifecycle management systems, universal access to all stages of the development process can be collaboratively shared, but more importantly, it can be controlled as ALM technologies are making it possible to control how various participants can access information and environments, right down to the what, when, where and why access is being granted.

An example of effective collaboration

Is there a core dump when two pieces of software from two different vendors come together and try to integrate for the first time? One approach to solving such a problem might be to FTP the contents of the core dump to each vendor and have them recreate the problem independently, all of which gives each vendor the chance to point fingers at one another. A better approach? Using various collaborative lifecycle management tools to allow each vendor simultaneous, secured access to a limited segment of a virtualized instance of the environment, and have the two vendors work together to fix the problem. Old-school virtualization makes this type of interaction possible, cloud based technologies make these types of systems globally accessible, and the various collaborative ALM tools entering the market make organizing such interactions easier and more productive than any time in the past. It’s all an innovative and effective means of using modern and mature technologies to facilitate the development process while helping to get solutions to market faster and more effectively.

For more information Collaborative Application Lifecycle Management, take a look at IBM's latest offerings in this space:

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/rational/alm/collaborate/connect/