Aldon Says SOA, Web 2.0 Apps and Compliance Drive ALM Sales
October 22, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
A few weeks ago, executives from application lifecycle management software maker Aldon met with me to chat about what’s going on in the wake of the company’s acquisition by private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners. At the time, Matt Scholl, Aldon’s president and chief operating officer said that the company was talking to users about how they make use of ALM products, and last week the company released some interesting statistics describing how and why companies are using these tools.
To get a better handle on why its existing customers buy its ALM products and therefore help Aldon sell ALM tools to new customers, the company in August and September did a survey of 400 of its 1,300 customers, which has to rank among the most statistically significant sampling ever done in polls in the history of polling. The fact that Aldon can get such a high percentage of its customers to go through a survey is remarkable.
As companies using Aldon’s products move to applications created with a services oriented architecture or using so-called Web 2.0 tools, they seem to want to have ALM tools to control what they are doing. (This stands to reason, of course. Companies that have ALM tools want to use them to control how any of their applications are created, and compliance regulations at public companies or those engaged in specific industries also have compliance rules that restrict access to data and applications.) Of the Aldon shops polled, 62 percent of respondents said that they were developing Web services or implementing SOA-style applications, and more than a third of the shops polled said that they were using Aldon’s ALM tools to manage the development process for these applications.
Almost half of the customers surveyed by Aldon said that they are outsourcing application development or managing geographically distributed programming teams. While these are different approaches to coding from an accounting and political point of view, outsourced teams and distributed teams present the same challenges to the companies trying to create new applications or to extend existing ones. Companies want to be able to control how applications are revved, tested, and rolled into production, no matter who is pressing the Enter key. (Aldon said that it has one customer that has programming teams in four countries with over 100 people accessing the ALM system.)
“Rapid change and fierce competition are forcing today’s businesses to be more responsive to market pressures than ever before,” explained Scholl in a statement accompanying the survey results. “With IT running many of the core processes that businesses rely on for daily operations, Aldon’s goal is to provide our customers with process-driven solutions that help them meet business requirements and build competitive advantage.”
And because compliance is such a big issue these days, it comes as no surprise that 57 percent of the Aldon shops surveyed say they are using its ALM products as part of their regulatory compliance; of those who are using ALM tools for compliance, two-thirds say that Sarbanes-Oxley regulations are the reason why they are doing it. There are some organizations that have been affected by the Patriot Act in the United States, or HIPAA regulations in healthcare and Basel II regulations in financial services.