Key Criteria for Evaluating Regulated Software Lifecycle Management (RSLM)v1.0

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 Michael Azoff

Summary

The traditional application lifecycle management (ALM) suite, used to manage development of highly complex software and/or large software projects with multiple teams, has evolved over the years, impacted by waves of innovation from open-source software and agile methodology. Now it has evolved yet again to meet the challenges of digital transformation. The market for ALM suites has split into two primary domains. The first domain—the original—addresses the management of custom software development built to run the business, in which the developers are typically working in the IT department. This original ALM market has largely transformed itself into agile project management (with varying support for legacy processes).

The other domain is the focus of this report and concerns software used for products and services that are safety-critical or mission critical, and highly regulated. In this case, the developers are experts in the domain and are working in line-of-business departments. Driven by digital transformation, the size of this market segment has grown massively, creating an opportunity for ALM vendors.

The goals of ALM remain relatively constant: to offer an end-to-end software development lifecycle (SDLC) management platform that supports integration with IDEs, testing, and other development tools; and to enable reporting to management about project and delivery progress.

Digital transformation is taking place at a time of accelerated pace in the rate of technological change. The smartphone today has the processing power of supercomputers from not very long ago. It is possible to embed fully functioning computers in products that run applications with many millions of lines of source code. The use of code in products has gone beyond basic microcontroller firmware and progressed to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in automobiles, high-end medical devices such as for diagnostic imaging, and sophisticated applications in pharmaceutical drug discovery and financial investment trading.

With digital transformation, the need to manage the development of high-quality software has grown and along with it the compliance burden, as auditors demand, for example, full traceability from high-level requirements to implementation in code and deployment. To serve this need, a new generation of ALM tool suites has emerged, able to handle thousands of requirements, configurations, and parameters across multiple products and variations, at a scale that a typical agile project management tool is not designed for. Through an integrated set of tools, these ALM solutions are able to produce compliance reports in an instant, demonstrating traceability and showing the testing history of each component.

Given the extent of divergence between tooling for traditional ALM or agile project management and the new ALM targeting highly regulated industries, we are relabeling the latter as regulated software lifecycle management (RSLM).

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.

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