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From ALM to SDO
Borland extends its ALM strategy to stress team development combined with business-process automation.
by Patrick Meader and Carolyn Wong

September 13, 2004

Borland President and CEO Dale Fuller

Borland's President and CEO Dale Fuller and Chief Marketing Officer Rick Jackson met with FTP Editors Patrick Meader and Carolyn Wong to discuss Borland's past, present, and future. This includes its Software Delivery Optimization (SDO) strategy for guiding and facilitating team development, which Borland is emphasizing at this week's BorCon conference in San Jose, Calif. At BorCon, the company also introduced updated products, CaliberRM 2005 and StarTeam 2005, as key components of its SDO vision.

FTPOnline: Dale, you were interim president and CEO of Inprise the last time FTP interviewed you, and you stressed to our readers the importance of XML. Your pronouncements on that subject certainly came to pass. I guess the new hot topic is service-oriented architecture (SOA). What impact will SOA have on development in the near and distant futures?

Dale Fuller: I think the promise of SOA is a utopia. It's what we've been thinking about for the last 20 years in terms of software development. SOA was conceived of as a be-all and end-all. Everything was going to be interlinked and work together seamlessly and easily. It was going to be the way we leveraged against every technology ever done—past, present, and future. It was about creating an architecture where the masses could create applications with so little effort that it wasn't about creating applications, but functionality. Think back to the creation of 4GL languages, and SOA was an outgrowth of that.

Rick Jackson: If you think about the promise of SOA and its value to organizations, the goal is to abstract away the layers to get closer to atomic business services. That's something many companies have been trying to achieve for years. Are we any closer to that vision today? Yes, I think we are. For the first time, we have language-independent, cross-platform standards that describe how to communicate between services. Consider J2EE and the fact it is a componentized programming model. We're now enabling organizations to abstract to an even higher level business services that remove the J2EE-ness from the formula and provide a layer of communication that can go cross-platform, something that Borland has a lot of expertise in.


Dale Fuller: Borland has made its reputation at being technology- and platform-independent. In fact, we have developed some innovative products in this space, such as Janeva, which connects .NET on the front end to J2EE on the back end using services interfaces. That's where the world needs to go. Organizations need to be able to create business services once and once only, and use that across multiple applications or disciplines within the enterprise. That's the big value proposition.

All it takes is one key player in the chain to break ranks and say, "this is a better way," while introducing a new proprietary system. Everything falls down at this point. This is the struggle, and this is why Borland has done so well. We glue everything together.

Extending ALM
FTPOnline: Borland has entered the increasingly crowded team-development market with its Together products and other tools. What must Borland do to stand out from its competitors in this space?

Rick Jackson: We need to concentrate on what we do well, which is tying different platforms and technologies together in a way that you can leverage the best of each. We need to enable software delivery teams to become more attuned to what each team and team member is doing. Yes, we need to make developers highly productive, but we also need to make the entire process more efficient and help teams know for certain that when software is delivered, it meets the business requirements.

Infrastructure platforms such as J2EE or .NET give you a lot of capability, but that capability has little to do with the success of the end applications. At the end of the day, you're developing to business requirements. You're hoping you get these requirements right, and you're hoping you achieve the requisite quality. What's required is a more disciplined process of engineering business solutions.

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