Integration Tools : Connectivity For Better ALM The demands from the globalized business community and growth of technological innovation have paved way for frequent development of software and applications. However, while developing applications, software engineers need to follow a development lifecycle before the application can actually be deployed at the customer sites. Nevertheless with the globalized business environment, the application development teams may be working from different locations using different tools. Hence it becomes necessary to use automated tools to control and mange the process of information creation and flow for an integrated environment. Most development tools do not have the process engine capability of working across integrated tools. It thus becomes quite essential to have a task based process automation engine, which would help achieve the functionality in a software development process. A task based process engine would permit sequential as well as parallel workflow and also allow path merging. Besides accommodating automatic control of flow, it procures events from different tools and generates actions. Application Lifecycle Management tool integration can be performed either with Point-to-point Integrated Multi Vendor Tools, Single Vendor Integrated ALM Tool or a multi-vendor Best of Breed Integrated ALM Tools. The integration tools based on the ALM middleware approach of multi-vendor tools integration, overcomes complexity, costly integrations and limitations of the other two approaches. With a significantly simpler development, this is based on Enterprise Service Bus architecture. Being a web-based service, this can it can integrate tools from different vendors as well as internally developed tools thus protecting investments. Further, by facilitating simultaneous usage of multiple tools from multiple vendors in a single tool ecosystem, this allows organizations the freedom to choose from the best-of-breed tools as per the function requirements.
The ESB architecture based integration bus besides creating and managing traceability relationships between multiple tools, it also facilitates the creation of dashboard metrics and real-time analysis reports, which proves a valuable tools for cross tool processes. This also provides an easy bi-directional integration tool with TFS. TFS integration allows organizations to track code units with respect to defects and change requests of configuration management. It ensures cross-tool visibility, requirement traceability and process automation besides allowing access to latest version of code units from other tools. This also paves way for efficient management of workflow, which increases team collaboration and communication.