IBM Jazz-ing up software project management

The rollout of Jazz-based project management tools precedes the forthcoming Rational cloud effort

IBM  will unveil on Monday software project management wares as a precursor to enabling access to Rational products via a cloud computing paradigm.

The rollout, based on the Jazz application lifecycle management platform, will be highlighted at the 2009 Rational Software Conference in Orlando, Fla.

[ Earlier this month, IBM added portal view to its Rational line. ]

Included as part of the announcement are three tools in the software investment management vein. "Everybody is recognizing now that software is key to business," as far as reducing costs and producing products, said Dave Locke, director of marketing at Rational.

"In effect, the software is running our business, so we need to manage that as a strategic investment," he said.

Featured is the rollout of IBM Rational Insight, intended to provide real-time metrics and dashboards on all facets of software processes and development. It would be used by persons ranging from CIOs to project managers and developers. "The dashboards allow us to get real-time data based on artifacts being developed," Locke said.

Based on Cognos technology, Insight replaces IBM Rational ProjectConsole, offering collaboration and communication afforded in the Jazz platform as well as more sophisticated data mining capabilities gained through IBM's Cognos acquisition, Locke said.

Also being announced is Rational Focal Point for Project Management, to manage activities such as Gantt charting and resource management. Focal Point manages day-to-day tasks while Insight offers higher level metrics. "They really work hand in hand," said Locke.

The third product, MCIF (Measured Capability Improvement Framework), is a framework offering a phased approach to addressing solving software problems.

IBM plans to offer Rational products via a cloud service, helping developers with building applications in the cloud, offering a new way to access the products and providing instant scalability, Locke said. The company will do technology previews on its cloud plan in late-June. The cloud endeavor will be called IBM Rational Software Delivery for the Cloud.

IBM also will unveil on Monday enhancements that integrate Focal Point for Product and Portfolio Management, Rational Requirements Composer, and Rational Systems Architect.

Insight and MCIF are available this week. FocalPoint goes into a beta release.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.