IBM Smarter Development

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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt

We had an interesting roundtable with IBM today, starting with the news that systems engineering is now Smarter Development, as far as IBM is concerned. What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually and “systems engineering” as a term has baggage – it’s old and done by people in suits.

Smarter development has a better feel to it – and, apparently, it is still for engineers. Which is good. I know that most developers see themselves as creative artists but I’d rather have the technology my life and well-being might depend on built by engineers, thank you very much. We can be artists in our spare time.

This “smarter development” focus appears to be paying dividends – RELM (Rational Engineering Lifecycle Manager), for example, appears to be reaching its sales targets well ahead of schedule. That’s good too; it seems to be a good product and since everything runs on softwhere these days, I’d feel much more comfortable if I thought it was the product of a managed  engineering lifecycle. And, that seems to be the reason users give for investing in RELM – comfort, from managing risk better (which, I suspect, is a better motivator than low TCO, in the end).

As usual, my only slight concern is whether RELM will be adopted outside of its home ground in the systems engineering community. “Smarter development” is probably more of a stretch objective for the general IT community than for the people in defence and aerospace (which, by the way, haven’t been as much of a declining market as IBM once feared) – and, as analysts, we tend to meet the early adopters of these new initiatives, who want to talk about them, more often than we meet the people who really aren’t interested but who don’t want to put their heads above the parapet by saying so.