Platform Integration versus “Marketecture”

The reaction to CollabNet’s acquisition of Danube in the press last week was extremely favorable. The market and our customers understand our vision and the rationale for this exciting merger. It’s great to see.  Last week, an Agile industry press expert asked me, “How does [CollabNet’s] merger of ALM and Agile leaders compare to the recent marketecture announcement of Company X, Y, and Z”?  These were his words, not mine.  (For obvious reasons, I have removed the references to the other companies this expert mentioned to me.)

In my mind, this raised an age old question that has lived on forever in the tools and applications industry– Is it better to deploy an integrated platform suite or a combination of loose tool integrations that may be optimized for specific use cases? Clearly, there are pros and cons to both positions.  But from my experience, the architecture that consistently wins in the industry is a “just broad enough platform with an open set of APIs to allow the integration of best-of-breed point tools used by the multiple stakeholders to collaborate in that platform”.  For modern examples, look no further than FaceBook and Salesforce.com.

So what was my response to the analyst’s question?

In summary, CollabNet’s acquisition of Danube brings together, from a single vendor, (1) World-class Agile Scrum management and expertise proven to scale from the workgroup to the enterprise, and (2) a rich application lifecycle management solution built on a cloud-based collaborative architecture already used to power some of the largest and most respected developer communities in private industry and government.  This synergy is impossible for any loose combination of tools and architectures supplied via companies partnering with each other. The CollabNet/Danube offering has three clear advantages over loosely integrated entrants in the market:

1. Strength of ALM Tool Integration –TeamForge is by far the industry’s most integrated end-to-end ALM platform for enabling collaboration. The platform encompasses all of the stakeholders of the software lifecycle from “requirements through release” for a variety of processes and technology implementation choices.  It is architected as a uniquely integrated platform enabling security, process modeling and tool interaction, which is just not possible with a loosely connected set of multi-vendor tools.  In addition, this includes not just ALM software development capabilities, but also a rich collaboration platform and community architecture that uniquely allows companies to define their ALM methods(s) and subsequently scale them from the workgroup to the enterprise.  And of course, TeamForge is a 100% cloud enabled architecture containing a rich set of APIs to connect to a user’s favorite point tools anywhere on the planet.  It is for this combination of reasons that our customers claim 10-50% design productivity at 1/5 the cost of the implementation of these multi-vendor-supplied collections of tools.

2. Single Vendor Solution for Agile Management and Agile ALM –CollabNet alone provides the security and commitment as a single vendor for Agile project and program management as well as distributed ALM in the Cloud.  CollabNet intends to offer the ScrumWorks tools in both a stand alone mode, as well as an increasingly integrated extension to TeamForge.  We are already showing early integrations to the market.  If you’d like to see it, please let me know.

3. Thought Leadership – For the past 10 years, CollabNet and Danube have both established thought leadership in the practical application the entire range of software methods – from collaborative SCM to distributed ALM to Scrum.  As examples:

  • CollabNet founded and continues to drive Subversion, the largest and most successful open source version control system used in the enterprise (by 15-20x over the next largest open source versioning tool). We also pioneered the cloud based software collaboration methods that were critical in forming the largest internal and external developer communities in the world.

  • Danube has the largest number of on-staff Certified Scrum Trainers in the World.  Via ScrumCORE, Danube has trained more Scrum Masters than any other organization and they continue to be highly visible and prolific in publishing materials on Scrum best practices.

The above is a strong position for me to take.  But our clients proven results are impressive, and they back my statements up.  It is uniquely this marriage of Scrum management and CollabNet’s globally distributed Agile ALM development platform that enables reductions in release cycles by as much as 75%, as demonstrated by this public article published by DST.   Development gains resulting from the use of a unified development platform are almost impossible to achieve using the alternative method — a loose combination of easily available tools and architectures of home grown, open source, and vendor-supplied point tools.  Resulting incompatible databases and data formats, inconsistent processes and tool configurations, and overall support costs render the move to a unified environment to gain this organizational efficiency very difficult, at best.  Development teams and CIOs increasingly understand this differentiation, which is helping to drive CollabNet’s acceleration into the market.

It’s an exciting time for software development.

Bill Portelli

Bill Portelli is Chairman of the Board and cofounder of CollabNet. Bill has been a business innovator in open source, globally distributed software development and on-demand provisioning since the late '90s. Bill's background includes 30+ years of experience in creating businesses and driving startups to rapid growth through to successful IPO and acquisition, as well as executive staff leadership in billion dollar companies. He has consistently conceived of and led teams to deliver client-enabling IT strategies, products and services in both the hardware and software industries. In recognition of his accomplishments as a leader in global software development, Bill was honored at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with the Technology Pioneer Award in 2010.

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