Table of Contents
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analyst’s Take
- About Michael J. Levan
Value Stream Management (VSM) is a term that reflects a market landscape in transition. From an enterprise perspective, organizations are looking to address multiple challenges posed by inefficient development processes, team collaboration, connections between managers and engineers, and fragmented toolchains. At the same time, they are working to scale up their levels of software-based innovation, deployment times, and AI-driven analytics to deliver business value and increase customer engagement. The pressure to do more with less has never been greater, as companies in every industry grapple with unprecedented challenges.
The software development and operations vendor landscape likewise has seen sweeping changes. This sector has always been fragmented, despite efforts by larger players to consolidate every decade or so. What is clear is that point products are not enough and can actually create a host of challenges, as noted above. As a result, incumbent DevOps tool suppliers are seeking to broaden their scope from a feature-centric, API-integration-driven base to one that addresses the top-down requirements of an end-to-end lifecycle. As vendors expand their mandate, they find themselves increasingly in competition with new rivals from different categories, such as application lifecycle management and agile planning.
A third element in this space is the evolution of target architectures, notably around distributed and multi-cloud models. The resulting distributed nature of applications has added complexity, even as it opens the door to a new set of vendors. It is against this background that VSM has emerged, delivering on value stream efficiency, integrations, and effectiveness as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. VSM Addresses Both Efficiency and Effectiveness
At the outset of writing this report series, several potential key criteria were considered, based on needs expressed by the organizations we work with. Some had to be ruled out as differentiating key criteria, simply because few if any vendors provided them. A case in point is “Innovation Management,” a concept originally defined to support innovation-led activities such as co-creation, hackathons, and so on. Large organizations across sectors are engaging in experiment-based activities such as these, but lack appropriate tooling to support them, relying instead on spreadsheets and other office tools (with vendors like Optimizely the notable exception). While it is likely that VSM will evolve to support innovation activity, we were surprised to see it currently absent from vendor thinking. Only Planview came close, with its Idea Management product.
Other capabilities didn’t quite make the cut. That includes the use of a normalized repository of data about the software development cycle (as offered by Plutora and others), as it is more a function of the platform than a differentiating capability for end users. Also considered, but not incorporated as a key criterion, was the still-nascent promise of artificial intelligence (AI) to offer “smarter” insights at the pipeline level. Hopes that AI can generate an ideal process are tempered by the fact that the notion of an ideal process is flawed. But AI could, at the least, help harness sources of data and interpret them in a way that speeds human decision making.
VSM is still maturing, but this report is designed to drive decisions today. Even in these early stages, enterprises need VSM practices and tooling to address the challenges they face. Yet organizations must contend with a confusing marketplace, in which vendors from diverse backgrounds are dropping other terminology and clustering around the term VSM. In fact, not every company listed in this report would categorize itself as a VSM provider, but that should not rule them out. We have avoided putting too much weight behind the term VSM, preferring to focus instead on what makes up the elements of a solid solution in response to the end-user challenges we see today.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.