IBM to highlight governance at Rational conference

Governance in software development will be a key focus at the IBM Rational Software Development Conference 2006 event in June, an IBM official said this week.

IBM plans to hone in on the idea of governance and managing the software development process, according to Buell Duncan, general manager of ISV and Developer Relations at IBM. Governance, he said, is playing a critical role in SOA. The IBM Rational conference begins June 4 in Orlando, Florida.

"What you'll see at the Rational show is increasingly, [in] software development, like many things today -- the idea of governance is becoming increasingly important," with companies managing software development on a global basis, Duncan said.

Governance is being defined as control of processes ranging from security to compliance to project management, Duncan said.

Technology, Duncan continued, has evolved from a consumption phase in the late-1990s to a management-of-costs phase to an innovation phase. Companies want to differentiate and re-engineer business processes to be more responsive, he said.

Software development processes are about reusing components. "That really drives the need for governance," Duncan said. "You should expect to see an increased emphasis," on governance, he said. Announcements pertaining to governance are anticipated at the conference, although Duncan would not provide specific details.

Also, Duncan in an interview emphasized the momentum of IBM's partner programs such as PartnerWorld Industry Networks, in which the company is assisting more than 6,000 software partners. The program includes third-party companies who have found themselves suddenly competing with Oracle or Microsoft after those vendors made acquisitions, he said.

"If you are a CRM business, all of a sudden Oracle has acquired Siebel. That is a major competitor," Duncan said. Microsoft, with its purchases of Great Plains and Navision, also has gotten into the applications business, he said.

But many smaller players remain in the applications space, Duncan indicated. "Despite there appearing to be consolidation in the marketplace, at the same time the market is more highly fragmented than it has ever been," Duncan said.

SAP and Oracle, despite their large size, collectively only hold 15 percent of the application market, which was sized at $US70 billion a year, Duncan said. That $US70 billion market drives another $US400 billion in ancillary middleware, servers, and services, he said.

IBM spends $US1 billion a year to help partners build solutions on IBM platforms, such as WebSphere, DB2, and Tivoli. IBM also co-markets these solutions.

Like Oracle and Microsoft, IBM also has made acquisitions such as buying Rational, Duncan acknowledged. IBM, however, has steered clear of buying applications companies and instead focuses on middleware, software development, and tools for system management, he said.

"Unlike Oracle, which buys application companies to expand their customer base, we acquired some 20 companies over the past three years to extend our technology capabilities, to extend our middleware capabilities," Duncan said.

Microsoft was not able to provide responses by press time.

Also, in a study recently released by Gartner Dataquest, IBM was found to be the leader in revenues in the application development tools and project portfolio management tools space for 2005. The company had a 25.4 percent market share in this $US7 billion market space, with Microsoft's 10.5 percent share coming in second.

"IBM was the leader in terms of software revenue, which includes licenses. It includes upgrades, updates, support, maintenance," and software-as-a-service revenues, said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner Dataquest.

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