ALM is an abbreviation of Application Lifecycle Management. As the name shows, the concept was supposed to be used mainly by developers during the process of creating programs. Currently, ALM is widely used in different business fields, where it helps manage a variety of projects. This continuous process of software development can be divided into three stages. The first one – management, which means providing business requirements of a product being created. The second one – development – taking users’ remarks into account as well as comments of a changing market, in the following updates; and the third one – exploitation – maximum use of resources. How does it look like in Transition Technologies PSC?
ALM in PTC
Our partner PTC got interested in ALM market around 2007, when the process of joining Mortice Kern Systems started. MKS has been operating since Orwellian year 1984, and they offered their solutions concerning application lifecycle management in 2001. Then, Integrity application was created – written in Java language, a platform which deals with ALM issues. Its beginnings were visible much earlier, but it was the beginning of a new millennium where the first version was shaped. Final merge of MKS with PTC took place on 31st May 2011. Since then, Integrity has been branded with PTC logo and recently changed name into Windchill Requirements, Verification and Source.
Along with 2015 and incorporating Atego company, product family under former Integrity’s name expanded. Currently, the most important of them are:
Requirements, Verification and Source – basic product for ALM solutions
Modeler – used for modeling software solutions (Model-Based Systems Engineering, which is MBSE). Provides integrated set of tools for creating consistent, high-quality models in SysML, UML as well as solutions at the scope of SoS, CBD and SOA. Additionally, it can generate source code from designed software owing to „Automated Code Synchronizer” functionality use
Requirements Connector – facilitates effective and efficient method of requirement synchronization between projects and departments within a company and beyond it, e.g. with business partners. It uses ReqIF (Requirements Interchange Format) as a main format for data representation, which makes it possible to provide connection with every tool supporting this record. Additionally, it enables integration with IBM Doors
Currently, PTC Windchill RV&S software is one of the best and guarantees a full scope of solutions in ALM field. Its role in System Engineering area has been also recognized. There are newer editions released every year, which causes that its popularity is still increasing among current and future clients. This situation makes it possible for us to continuously participate in attractive projects by interesting purchasers.
Competition never sleeps
Fortunately or unfortunately, for a long time, we have been living in one global village. Here, again, free market rules, so PTC cannot count on having a corner on the market in the field of ALM (not so soon, at least). Potential clients can pick over competition’s offers, i.a. Microsof’s, IBM’s, Atlassian’s, SAP’s and Siemens’ ones. Each of them is luring with their own approach to the subject and different covering of ALM requirements. However, it’s worth writing more about three main competitors in this field.
A huge player in the market, which is IBM, is worth mentioning at the beginning. Their software is called Rational Team Concert. It has been on the market since 2008. Its main functions include plan and task management, revision control, application development and reports. You can clearly see that its main aim is to produce software. What is interesting, there’s a Polish version of the app.
Another competitor is Polarion. Software which was created in 2004 and taken over in 2016 by Siemens, is the first one which uses an Internet browser for application lifecycle management. With its use, potential clients can manage i.a. requirements, tests and defects. Owing to adding Polarion to their own PLM solutions, Teamcenter software, Siemens makes part of ALM one of the elements of product development process.
The last competitor is quite interesting because TT PSC also provides its technical support. It’s obviously about Jira by Atlassian. The first version was created in 2002. With its use, you can mainly monitor detected errors and manage projects. It possibly does not cover huge area of ALM, but it’s quite popular and you can encounter it in many clients’ companies.
How does PTC’s offer look like in this group? It can be easily said that quite well. Windchill RV&S has systematic updates, covers ALM issues at a great extent, and enables adjusting to client’s requirements. With every following version, it’s becoming software which provides solution for every business consumer. PTC are developing integration of their products. In this case, it’s worth mentioning the connection with a ready-made solutions in the PLM area, which is standard Windchill. Adding OSLC solutions has been included in the plans for this year, which will make data exchange between applications even more complex.
ALM’s entering into TT PSC’s scope of interest
Transition Technologies has quite fast realized projects’ capability deriving from appearance of ready-made solution for ALM. After reporting their interest, following a series of talks, PTC gave their consent. Later on, a series of official workshops started in the middle of 2013 in department of the city of Łódź. An eager group from TT spent a few weeks being supervised by PTC’s trainers: Patrick Mullen and Scott Tomer. For all the time, they were learning the world of ALM and the one of Integrity as well – along with its strong and weak aspects.
Since then, step by step, there have been more and more projects where newly-trained workers could prove their skills. Everyone in the team can show their project history and share knowledge in specially determined areas of TT network. Owing to that, significant information is archived. In the meantime, as it usually happens in every group, the team’s members were changing all the time – new people started coming, the old ones were leaving. One thing remained unchanged, which is involvement and efficiency in delivering the best solutions for end customers.
ALM team in TT PSC
Currently, ALM team consists of ten people: nine of them can be found in the office in Białystok, and the only one individual (responsible for Windchill Modeler) is in department in Kielce. Despite a low number of people, we are really happy that we constantly hear positive opinions concerning our work from our colleagues from PTC and clients as well. A current team manager is Jarosław Aleksiuk. A technical leader is Sebastian Kopczewski – the person who attended the official training in 2013.
The future seems to have a shade of potential possibilities. Owing to great opinions received from clients and foreign coworkers, we have marked our position in ALM solutions’ implementation in PTC. As a consequence, we are trustfully given the role of leaders and architects in more and more demanding projects. As TTPSC department, we are not afraid of challenging tasks, and we deliver our products World Wide with clear excitement. The team, again, is still developing and there are plans to expand it with new people. The nearest future will be undoubtedly full of interesting challenges to face.