IBM to Simplify Product Development Via the Cloud

Michael Vizard

When you look at the myriad processes involved in building any product, it's a wonder that companies ever bring anything to market.

A big part of the problem in terms of building products inside a modern corporation is all the different digital, electrical and mechanical systems that have to be integrated to create something innovative. At its Innovate 2010 conference today, IBM will unveil an integrated approach to product development and management to make technologies from IBM simpler to acquire and manage.

According to Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and channels for IBM's Rational Software group, the impetus for the new program relates directly to IBM's Smarter Planet initiative. IBM wants to get the process of acquiring the right to use its products and technologies out of the way of the product development process itself. This should result, said Hebner, in customers being able to bring products to market faster at less cost.

A core element of this initiative is making all of IBM's Rational product portfolio available via the cloud. IBM has developed a service-oriented architecture (SOA) implementation called Jazz, which the company is using to simplify access to its tools while reducing costs by issuing "tokens" to customers that grant access to those tools and technologies in the IBM cloud.

This not only simplifies the procurement process for those tools, said Hebner, it also reduces costs because customers only have to pay for the tokens consumed, rather than buy software licenses for each individual user.

As product development becomes more integrated, IBM is also making available a series of vertical industry frameworks and best practices for using IT in product development, added Hebner.

As part of IBM's overall cloud computing strategy, the concept behind the program is to increase the number of product development projects customers can afford to develop simultaneously, which should result in more use of IBM software.

Product development within most companies has usually been ruled by one or two strong-willed individuals that try to keep everything organized and on deadline. But as the complexity of building products has increased, the whole process of managing the IT requirements of the people involved in these projects has become a management burden. By removing much of this overhead, IBM is allowing customers to spend more time on product development at a time when the key to jumpstarting the world economy is increasingly depends on bringing innovative products to market.

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