IBM 'Testing' HP's Market Position In Software Quality Management


IBM's Rational division already has about 300 resellers, ISVs and systems integrators working with its Rational quality management tools, a 200 percent increase from a year ago, said Scott Hebner, marketing and strategy vice president at IBM Rational. With the expanded Rational Quality Management Portfolio, IBM hopes to lure additional business partners and customers away from HP.

HP became a major player in the development tool space with its $4.5-billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive in November 2006.

Selling development and quality management tools requires lots of vertical industry expertise. "That's why you see us put such a big focus on our business partner network around our quality management offerings," Hebner said in an interview.

IBM said it is offering a 25 percent discount on its quality management software to HP business partners and customers who want to migrate to IBM's products. The company said that promotion could save customers more than $5,000 in software license charges.

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The new products become generally available over the next week. IBM will also offer Express versions of the software for midmarket customers, Hebner said.

The core of the new product lineup announced Tuesday is IBM Rational Quality Manager, a collaborative hub for software development projects. Most quality testing tools are geared specifically toward developers who test software just before deploying it or releasing it for sale. Rational Quality Manager provides realtime information to a wide range of people, both geographically and those in different business roles, about the status of development projects. A CIO, for example, can use the product's dashboard to monitor a software development project and step in if the software is straying beyond its original requirements.

Fixing problems in software early in the development process is more cost-effective. Businesses are estimated to lose more than $300 billion every year because of software-related downtimes, according to market researcher The Standish Group, while 41 percent of all software projects fail to deliver the expected business benefits or ROI.

While IBM Rational has long offered software quality assurance tools, Hebner said they lacked the collaboration and realtime capabilities of the new product.

"I think it's a real game-changer for [IBM] in this market," said Sameer Dholakia, CEO of VMLogix, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based ISV whose LabManager virtual machine management solutions are integrated with Rational Quality Manager. "The product will challenge HP's dominant position in software quality management," he added. "Especially in the testing arena."

Rational Quality Manager is based on Jazz, the collaborative software development and delivery system IBM released last year and built a channel partner program around in June. The Web-based system incorporates a Web 2.0 interface.

Dholakia said Jazz let's ISVs like VMLogix add value to IBM's development and testing software. His company leverages Jazz to help build its solutions that lie at the confluence of testing and virtualization technologies.

Also unveiled Tuesday was IBM Rational Test Lab Manager for automating the testing process, including configuring IT systems to make them ready for testing. IBM said those steps can eat up as much as 40 percent of a testing organization's time and resources.

IBM also unveiled new releases of existing Rational development tools, including IBM Rational Application Performance Analyzer, IBM Rational Functional Tester, IBM Rational Quality Manager Express, IBM Rational Performance Tester, IBM Rational Service Tester for SOA Quality, IBM Rational Test RealTime, IBM Rational AppScan Tester Edition, IBM Rational RequisitePro, IBM Rational Measured Capability Improvement Framework Assessments and Telelogic Rhapsody TestConductor.