RATIONAL USER CONFERENCE:The e-Software Paradox

Forty nine of the Fortune e50 companies, a credible roster of
Internet success stories, rely on one tech vendor to help them stay there. The
tools they use for developing their e-biz apps come from Rational.

For the $0.6 billion Rational Software Corp, based in
Cupertino, CA, and Lexington, MA, 85% of its revenues came from businesses that
bought its application development (AD) technology solely for developing
Internet apps.

Software development today is about speed and quality, all
the more so for e-biz apps. If you need to add some new functionality to your
e-com app, unless you can develop and deploy it on the fly, you lose valuable
shop-time. The quicker you can do this, the quicker you can serve that customer
in a remote country.

Rational calls this build-it-fast, get-it-right duality an
“e-software paradox”.

As development cycles shrink to days, and the cost of failure
escalates in a 24×7 global environment of unpredictable Web usage and traffic
patterns, the e-software paradox looms large. Rational says it resolves it by
providing a unified process that is practical, with unified tools for the
project team, and accelerated implementation by its tech services.

The company showcased these tools and services at the
Rational User Conference 2000, at Philadelphia in August. The annual event had
over 2,000 developers and project leaders this year, a lot of people looking for
ways to develop apps quicker. Over 200 customers presented their experiences
with Rational’s AD technology.

Rational has customers in three broad categories: e-biz,
e-infrastructure and e-devices.

  • e-biz customers
    include organizations leveraging the Internet to improve their businesses by
    building B2B or B2C software–Charles Schwab, E*Trade, i2 Technologies,
    Merrill Lynch, Seibel Systems, et al.

  • e-infrastructure
    customers are building the physical and software infrastructure for the
    Internet: OS, middleware and communications software vendors–these include
    AOL, Cisco, Ericsson, IBM, Lucent, Microsoft and Sun.

  • e-devices
    customers are building devices with embedded software to connect to the
    Internet and other networks–HP, Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Philips, Sony, et
    al.

UPM: Tying it all together

Software configuration management is an important activity in
team-based software project development. When multiple people make code changes
in parallel, configuration management is essential. SCM isn’t new, but it has
great significance in Internet apps development.

Says Rational director Bill Thornbug, "If you look at
dot-com failures like eBay…they most often fail in configuration
management." Rational leads the SCM market with 27% market share (IDC), and
advocates the Unified Change Management model to manage change. Says Thornbug,
"Traditionally, companies buy change management tools separately from
configuration management tools. Actually, the two should go together.
Integrating activity management with artifact management is at the heart of UCM."
Some of the biggest adopters of UCM are the embedded software and telecom
companies like Motorola and Ericsson, and financial institutions and banks. A
good number of dot-coms like eSchwab also are Rational customers for SCM tools.

The value in a software project or product development
activity is realized when all the stages of the development activity is bound by
a single and unified process. Rational’s unified process model (UPM) helps
bring the team together with better communication and best practices that are
iterative. UPM users include Ernst & Young, Cap Gemini, CBSI, Lante, and
Deloitte Consulting.

Testing is one of the fastest-growing segments of the AD
tools market. Rational’s suite of products is robust, and enjoys the
support of major ISVs. In the Internet area, PeopleSoft, JDE, IBM, Oracle, BEA
and Vignette are the ISV customers of Rational’s testing products. According
to Rational’s director of automated testing, Sam Guckenheimer, Rational is
"equally strong in the three dimensions of quality testing–reliability,
functionality and performance."

The company announced a new testing product, Rational
SiteLoad, to help e-biz users avoid costly and highly visible Web site failures.
Rational SiteLoad is a scalable tool that simulates Internet traffic and
provides developers with real-time information on site performance.

Accelerating the pace

E-development Accelerators is an initiative to allow
development teams to jump-start their AD process through industry standards,
proven reusable templates and enhanced tool automation. This is a step forward
in the application of Unified Modeling Language (UML) to real-world software
engineering. Users can employ reusable assets from Rational and its customers to
accelerate AD and application quality. Customers can also use e-development
Accelerators to capture their own reusable assets and reapply them to other
development projects.

"Rational’s tech initiatives work well with IBM’s
VisualAge AD environments and the WebSphere software platform," said Paraic
Sweeney, VP, marketing, IBM WebSphere, a popular middleware platform. UML users
include Merrill Lynch, Cisco, IBM WebSphere itself, BEA WebLogic and Ericsson.

Rational’s portfolio spans 40 products, which can be
procured separately or as a suite. The Rational Suite 2000 was launched in May
this year, and now brings in a quarter of the company’s new license revenues.
Its overall product strategy now centers on providing extensibility to the
Rational suite. Its other methodologies like UPM and automated testing coupled
with e-development Accelerators present a wide portfolio of products and
services for the AD market.

Easwardas Satyan
in Philadelphia, PA

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