Synergivity Brings i/OS Change Management to US Market
June 15, 2010 Alex Woodie
There is a new name in the i/OS change management market: Synergivity Software. The New Hampshire-based company was founded recently to be the U.S. distributor for i/OS change management tools developed by Midrange Dynamics, which is headquartered in Switzerland. In addition to change management, Synergivity sells impact analysis and auditing software developed by Midrange Dynamics–and hopes to add other security, testing, and high availability tools to its portfolio in the future.
Synergivity Software’s flagship offering is MDCMS, the i/OS change management system developed by Midrange Dynamics. MDCMS helps customers streamline various application development lifecycle tasks, including everything from source code and object management for RPG, COBOL, and Java, to automated code distribution and installation on production servers.
Surrounding MDCMS are four additional tools. These include MDXREF, an impact analysis and cross-reference tool for i/OS; MDSEC, an application security and auditing tool; a Web-based project manager that tracks development activities across all stages of the application lifecycle; and a new open systems connector that allows MDCMS to integrate with other version control systems such as CVS and Subversion.
MDCMS, which Midrange Dynamics started developing 12 years ago, has been deployed at 85 customers, including a large number of financial institutions in Europe. But it is relatively unknown in the North American market. Synergivity hopes to change that.
Marty Kilgallen, one of the founders of Synergivity, says that, in his 20 years in the AS/400 change management space, he has never seen a product that’s as straightforward and easy to use as MDCMS.
“Midrange really has a fresh approach to change management, very clean. It’s easy to follow, implement, and learn,” he tells IT Jungle. “It has no strange quirks. It makes change management easy. If someone was converting from another change management system, they would find that this adds no additional complexity to the task of change management, and possibly decreases the complexity.”
Synergivity also hopes to draw customers with a clean and simple pricing structure. List price for a perpetual license for MDCSM (which includes the MDSEC and MDXREF components) starts at $25,000, with no limits on the number of users, the size of the server, or number of LPARs. For another $14,000, customers can add the product management and open systems connector, providing a full-featured change management suite for less than $40,000. Annual maintenance fees amount to 15 percent of the perpetual license.
That’s a bit less than what other change management software vendors are charging, according to Synergivity co-founder Mary Langen, who also has experience working for other change management vendors–including two other vendors that continue to operate out of the i/OS change management hotspot of Peterborough, New Hampshire.
“We just want people to know that we’re out there, and this is available, and there are a lot of reasons right now why people might be looking to investigate change management systems,” Langen says. “We think we have a compelling case in terms of what the product offers, and also in terms of price and total cost of ownership.”
Synergivity is particularly excited over the new open systems plug-in for MDCMS, called MDOpen, which the company formally announced late last week. “If you’re using open systems tools like Subversion or CVS or [Microsoft tools for .NET,] it gives you a nice intuitive interface and great functionality,” Langen says. “All of the awesome change management functionality that you have for the i–such as deployment, rollback, workflow management, audit capability, and reports–are available for the open systems platforms too.”
Says Kilgallen: “This open systems approach is the most logical thing I have seen, and that ranges across companies I’ve worked for and companies I’ve competed against. A lot of companies in the change management business had almost what you would call proprietary approaches to doing open systems. They develop a product that only worked with their systems, and didn’t interface to all the other products out there.” The open systems connector for MDCMS, by contrast, interfaces with any change management system.
MDCMS and the MDOpen plug-in are designed to be used with any Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE). The products are already proven compatible with Rational Developer for Power Systems Software (RDP), the follow-on IDE to Rational Developer for i (RDi), and are currently being used with RDP and the Rational ClearCase change management software in Europe, Kilgallen says.
Synergivity hopes that the company’s recent launch at the COMMON conference in Orlando, Florida, will coincide with an uptick in IT spending by System i shops this summer. While the founders do not deny they are interested in the replacement business, they say there are still plenty of “green field” sites that are looking for change management tools.
“There is still a considerable amount of open market there for change management,” Kilgallen says. “It’s pretty amazing, after all these years, that they’re starting to come out of the woodwork.”
Synergivity’s third co-founder is Rafael Cano, who lives in France and suggested that Kilgallen and Langen speak with Michael Morgan, the American citizen who founded Midrange Dynamics in Switzerland, about a partnership. Synergivity, which has a fourth employee who works on the West Coast, will focus on sales and marketing of the Midrange Dynamics products for now; technical support for Synergivity’s U.S. customers will be handled out of Switzerland, where Midrange Dynamics has about 20 employees, for the time being.
Kilgallen and Langen have high hopes for creating a diverse i/OS software house in Synergivity. The two are actively seeking developers–in the U.S. or elsewhere–who need marketing, sales, and administrative support for their i/OS security, testing, or high availability software products.
“We realized over last year that we have a great experienced, technical, sales, and support organization in New Hampshire that could basically take any product for the i market and beyond, and bring it to market pretty successfully,” Langen says.