Application lifecycle management, or ALM, specialist MKS says a new version of its platform, MKS Integrity 2007, will propel it to the forefront of a market some are now calling ALM 2.0.
Expected to be made commercially available in the next day or two, MKS Integrity 2007 includes additional support for requirements change management, reuse, persistence and baselining; enforced process control SAP and Oracle/Peoplesoft change management; unified test management; and IT service management.
Speaking to Computer Business Review, MKS CEO Philip Deck said rival vendors such as Telelogic and IBM Rational have separate products for different challenges like change management and version control, whereas he claims that MKS has integrated workflow management, requirements management, testing, version control, build management and more on its unified MKS Integrity 2007 platform.
Asked whether companies are really likely to swap out products in use already for a more integrated suite, Deck said: We don't go to market saying 'throw out your investment in Mercury [the market leader in testing tools recently acquired by HP]. But once companies use one of our modules, and see the benefit of a more integrated approach and the power of the platform, that's often what they end up doing.
Deck also once again defended the firm's decision not to support, the Eclipse-based Application Lifecycle Framework, ALF, project that seeks a standard for interoperability between heterogeneous vendors' application development tools. As Computer Business Review has previously reported, there are around 16 vendors committed to supporting the project, MKS not being one of them.
Deck said, It's easy for those vendors to make a case for the need of a project like [ALF] because each of their own products are all so different and hard to integrate. We have an integrated platform so we have no problem there, we don't need ALF to help us integrate our own product set.
Deck said the new version of the platform, delivers groundbreaking capabilities for reuse, packaged application change management and usability enhancements supporting a much broader deployment of ALM across IT disciplines.
The firm said that it is able to give developers and other development stakeholders either a database-centric or document-centric view of the entire application development lifecycle, enabling the rich mining of data and ease of use in managing the extensive documentation and specifications typically associated with managing thousands of requirements.
The firm also added change management capabilities for packaged SAP and Oracle/PeopleSoft applications, unified test management as part of the Integrity platform, and advances in its software configuration management (SCM) support said to increase developer productivity.
With full year revenues for fiscal 2007 (ended 30 April) of just $48.3m, unchanged on fiscal 2006, and a net loss in the period of $2.8m, MKS has some way to go before it gives the people at Telelogic, IBM Rational, Mercury/HP or even Serena Software too many sleepless nights.
But as you will notice, several of those companies have recently been acquired or taken private, and it seems there is a more open playing field once again in the ALM space, particularly for customers who prefer not to buy their software from their systems and hardware vendors.
MKS does have around 200,000 seats installed at around 700 customers, and besides, a sharp focus on a more integrated ALM suite, while several of its rivals have their attentions turned to integrating acquired products or entire companies, could stand it in good stead to see better growth between 2007 and 2008. Strong version controls for packaged application changes to SAP and Oracle/PeopleSoft may win it some friends at the large systems integrators, too, many of which have been crying out for such capabilities for some time.