Key Criteria for Evaluating Regulated Software Lifecycle Management (RSLM) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. RSLM Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Dana Hernandez

1. Summary

Industries such as automotive, aerospace engineering, utilities, financial services, and healthcare are highly regulated in many countries due to concerns about public safety, privacy, and other mission-critical aspects of their products. These industries are subject to compliance with a diverse range of operational, reporting, and audit regulations that impact almost every aspect of the business, including software development.

In this environment, regulated software lifecycle management (RSLM) solutions can play a critical role. Not having the right tools and processes in place for managing, tracking, and documenting the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) in highly regulated industries can be catastrophic. Failing to manage compliance and quality of products and services can lead to safety issues, recalls, and lawsuits.

Almost every aspect of software development needs to be tracked in regulated industries, from the planning stage, through every released version of the software, to the retirement of the application. Auditors demand full traceability, from high-level requirements to code implementation, QA, and deployment. Auditors want to see evidence of identified risks and defects and understand how they are addressed throughout the life of the project.

To address these planning, compliance, and audit concerns, organizations in regulated industries often leverage application lifecycle management (ALM) tools to support development teams. ALM solutions typically include provisions for project management, requirements management, automated testing suites, release management version controls, and end-to-end reporting. ALM tools can produce compliance reports in an instant, demonstrating traceability and showing the testing history of each component.

Many organizations have adopted agile and development operations (DevOps) practices to speed products to market. Tools designed around agile and DevOps practices support flexible, collaborative team engagement while also providing a structured framework for project planning and execution. A growing number of these tools have incorporated compliance and audit requirements as well. These tools track and report on key metrics, allowing teams to both focus on the high-priority features the business needs and stay on top of the various regulatory compliance mandates applicable to a particular product or service.

RSLM solutions extend the capabilities of ALM and agile DevOps project management tools to fulfill the specific software development planning and compliance needs of highly regulated industries. The vendors often target specific industries and build solutions that ensure adherence with the specific regulatory and reporting requirements in that industry. To select the best solution for an organization’s use case, it’s essential that decision-makers have a deep understanding of the requirements for their specific industry.

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on the RSLM space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective RSLM solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading RSLM offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

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.

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