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Serena snaffles Pacific Edge

Managing software from conception to death

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“There have not been good ways to manage (applications) change across the enterprise. It is still usually managed within individual silos and individual changes are usually made using different tools, which means that changes can clash with each other.” So said Serena president and CEO, Mark Woodward, while in London last week.

That is why he was hinting then that the company was looking at Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) systems, and why it has now pushed through its decision, announced today, to acquire PPM supplier,Pacific Edge Software.

Mariner, the flagship offering from Pacific Edge, combines portfolio, project, resource, demand and financial management tools into a overall framework that covers the life of an application from `should we try this?’ concept development right through the day it finally gets buried. The acquisition is seen as giving Serena the pan-silo common framework it requires to provide a comprehensive change governance environment that also includes its existing Application Lifecycle Management (ALM and Operations Process Management (OPM) suites.

As an aside, 'Change Governance' has been trademarked by Serena. This does rather make it a market where it is inevitable that the company claims `leadership’. Woodward is aware of this issue and wants to see the tag widely adopted, so no legal hassles are expected if we put it all in lower case.

There is no word on the investment involved on Serena’s behalf, but the official release indicates that completion of the acquisition is expected by the end of this month.

In an age where compliance to a growing range of legislation and regulation is an important fact of life for both business users and the developers and managers that provide their tools, managing change is now a serious topic. At its worst, mis-managing the process can lead to jail for someone. So in Woodward’s view, the wider the reach of a company like Serena the more control can be returned to all parties – business managers, developers and their managers.

This was the thinking behind the recent launch of the latest version of the company’s ALM, Dimensions 10. This adds functionality like Requirements Management, which can now manage the applications development process through from requirements definition stage. “The earlier you can identify a problem the less it will cost to fix,” was how Woodward described the issue. “And it also makes it easy to develop test cases.”

The company has also worked hard to integrate Dimensions 10 as deeply as possible into both Microsoft’s .NET and the Java-based Eclipse IDEs. “This allows developers to work within their familiar environments all the time,” he said. “It allows them a sandbox to try out ideas, but it also manages what can come out of that sandbox. Development managers can set rules and policies which control what is allowed out into the production environment. That way they can produce predictable, quality code, and that means higher productivity.” ®

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