Any successful digital transformation is based on the common view of how the future shall look like. In order to realize this common vision, concrete actions and software products shall be engaged. Application Lifecycle Management software (hereafter also referred as “ALM”) – is one of such tools, that can support the transformation process during the entire lifecycle.
Why should an enterprise opt for the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)?
Application Lifecycle Management, unlike Software Development Lifecycle, encompasses the whole timeline and investment which an organization consumes from inception to retirement of an application’s life.
The whole lifecycle starts from the conception of a business idea to the inevitable end of lifecycle of the given idea. Any development of software or inclusion of tools supports simply the given ideas’ lifecycle. To achieve this, ALM can be divided into four specific value scenarios: Portfolio to Project, Requirements to Deploy, Detect to Correct and Request to Fulfill.
Requirement to Deploy – for building a solution preferred with agile development methodologies. It provides visibility of the quality, utility, schedule, and cost of the services or the to-be-created product.
Detect to Correct – for resolving production problems. It brings together all IT service operations to enhance results and efficiency. End-to-end visibility and reducing the mean time to repair are only a few advantages of this scenario.
Request to Fulfill – is helping you to catalog, request and fulfill services by efficiently managing new requirements for the solution.
Key Aspects That Shall be covered by an ALM Solution
To support the above-mentioned value scenarios, an ALM solution should cover the following aspects:
Planning projects and getting an overview of them is crucial. Thus, an ALM solution should support the execution of the project phases design, build, test, hand-over to production, and deployment to production.
The heart of every company is their processes. Therefore, a business and IT perspective on processes, applications and system landscapes need to be in one place. To achieve this, it is required to have process diagrams (e.g. BPMN 2.0), requirements and implementation documentation with a version control attached to processes.
Making sure that your applications are running as designed is the number one priority in an IT organization. Therefore, an ALM solution should support you in determining the scope of testing required for cross-system business processes, managing the tests centrally, executing and reporting the tests.
Business Process Operations:
Makes sure that core business processes run according to the priorities of your company and that the costs for operating a solution remain at a reasonable level.
Change Control Management:
As usually the company and its environment are changing, companies’ applications need to be adjusted over time as well. Therefore, it’s vital to create requests for change, edit them if required, and implement changes across technology stacks and application components.
An ALM solution needs to provide all capabilities for central monitoring, alerting, analysis, and administration of software solutions. It helps you to reduce TCO by predefined content and centralized management tools for all aspects of operations. Additionally, it should generate reports across solutions for a detailed analysis.
Data Volume Management:
Data volume management (hereafter also referred as “DVM”) monitors the volume of data in your system landscape. Using DVM, you can devise strategies and actions to reduce the size of databases and the amount of data in your landscape, significantly lowering total operating costs.
IT Service Management is required to be able to report incidents and problems, create service requests, and get help to find solutions.
Custom Code Management:
Custom Code Management is the central point of access for all functions that you use to monitor and manage the lifecycle of custom developments from creation to deletion. You can continuously optimize your developments.
Managing your system landscape should contain components such as describing the landscape, planning landscape changes and implementing landscape changes.
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM): Values & Benefits in Short
The Application Lifecycle Management entails crucial competences, summarized in short below, make it a valuable asset for each innovative enterprise on their journey to a digital transformation:
- Standardized methodology to execute projects and the support of the productive operations
- Well-structured and documented processes
- Support the implementation of innovations and ensure business continuity
- Monitor and change system and application landscape
- Everything is traceable and auditable
- Saving costs by implementing projects effectively and also saving costs at a later stage in the maintenance of the solution by having a single source with regards to the documentation
This article was created in close collaboration and with the contribution of Oliver-Jens Götz, a principal business consultant in the business unit CFO Advisory within SAP Germany, and with the contribution of Benedikt Kraus.