Borland, Rational, Merant push change management

Nearly all the top players in the tools arena announced new products and partnerships this week, including Borland Software Corp., Rational Software Corp., and Merant International Ltd.

The common themes emerging from a flurry of announcements were ones of software change management and hosted development lifecycle services.

To that end, Rational Software, based in Cupertino, California, announced ClearCase MultiSite, an optional, add-on to ClearCase that supports change tracking and management among developers in dispersed locations.

Rational also teamed up with IBM, in Armonk, New York, to integrate Rational's ClearCase LT with IBM's WebSphere Business Integrator to help users manage software changes.

Singing a similar note, Rockville, Maryland-based Merant entered the software change management fray on Monday with PVCS Dimensions 7.0, which incorporates content management with change management, according to Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Andrew Weiss.

Dick Heiman, an analyst at IDC, a market research based in Framingham, Mass., said that although software change management and content management have been issues for years, e-business and the complex Web-based applications that it requires are making managing change more important than ever.

"What software change management is really about is being able to keep all of the pieces of these complex applications in step with each other," Heiman said. "The bigger the enterprise, the more spread out systems are, the more difficult it becomes."

Kathy Quirk, an analyst at Boston-based Hurwitz Group, said that these products enable customers to centralize storage, and likewise control, of content and code.

"Code and content now go hand in hand. Sites are composed of both. Companies need better coordination of all elements and a central repository of all elements," Quirk said.

The risk, Quirk said, is chaos. She pointed to a recent example where an airline posted incorrect pricing for its tickets and had to honor those prices because it was unable to change quickly. Had the airline been able to manage that change across all the necessary systems, it could have altered the price more quickly and, in turn, earned more money on the price of those tickets.

Also looking to provide a more effective means to manage code and content, at its BorCon user group event in Long Beach, Calif., Borland detailed its TeamSource hosted rapid application development service. Merant, too, expanded into this are by announcing that it too will offer a hosted version of PVCS Dimensions 7.0.

Analysts say the advantages of hosting the application development lifecycle include higher-quality applications, faster implementation, and more rapid adoption of new technologies.

Borland and Merant, along with Compuware and Westside, are part of an emerging marketplace of HRAD services providers.

Borland also announced a new version of its Enterprise Studio for Java, which includes integration with Rational Unified Modeling, and Kylix Open Edition, tools for Linux developers to build GUI open-source applications.

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