What You Need in ALM Systems
May 25, 2016

What Do You REALLY Need in ALM Systems?

Application Lifecycle Management

Application lifecycle management (ALM) systems are made up of tools for managing the life of your product. What's in an ALM systems varies. There's a big range of functionality (and cost) in ALM. 

So, what do you really need in ALM systems?

Two Types of ALM Systems

There are two types of ALM systems.

First, there are ALM systems that are made up of tools from different vendors. You might have one to track bugs. One to manage requirements. And one to manage tests. 

The other type of ALM system is a single-vendor solution, where each component works together.

Which ALM System Is Better?

Let’s say you want to know if it’ll rain later today. So, you decide to get a weather app for your phone. If you’re like most people, you’ll gravitate to the cheapest app. A 99-cent app looks better than one that costs two bucks, right?

But what if you need to know the forecast for the week — and the 99-cent app only tells you today’s weather. Now it’s worthless. And you have to buy the $2 app anyway — which does deliver the extended forecasts you need.

Essentially, you’ve just paid $3 for that $2 app.

Many companies go through a similar cycle when they buy ALM tools.

They find a low-cost tool that meets their immediate needs. And they think they’re good to go.

Maybe it has a weak workflow, no triggering capabilities, no traceability, can’t merge defects, etc. — but they don’t need all that right now. They'll figure that out later. But in the meantime, they saved money today. And that’s what counts.

The problem with this approach is that it can end up costing more money than it saves.

ALM Systems Á La Carte Cost More

What if your growth explodes overnight? Or you win a project that requires more stringent auditing and compliance?

Suddenly, that low-cost tool isn’t up to the task. And you have to scramble to find a solution.

At this point, most companies start adding on other tools to fill in the gaps. It still seems cost-effective, because you’re only paying for what you need when you need it.

The downside to this “à la carte” approach is that it creates a patchwork ALM system.

You'll have:

  • Multiple points of failure.
  • Multiple versions of the same information.
  • No one to help when the system breaks.

And You Still Won't Have Everything

What’s more, your home-built system still doesn’t meet your needs. Oh, it kind of does what you want. But it’s a real pain in the neck get information from one tool to the other.

The longer you continue down this path, the harder it is for you to find tools that integrate with all the others you’ve already stuck together.

In the end, you wind up paying more than you would have paid for a single tool that covers your entire application lifecycle

But here’s the real problem. That patchwork system starts to cost you even more. There's lost productivity. Development and testing delays. Failed audits. Missed opportunities.

Why Choose an All-in-One ALM System?

All-in-one ALM systems — such as Helix ALM — make your life easier. 

A Single Source of Truth

You'll always have the most current information in one place.

Your development artifacts will be linked. So, you'll know the test case linked to a requirement is always the current test case. The status of a fixed defect is always recent. And your reports are always accurate.

Seamless Integration

You won't have to waste time transferring information from tool-to-tool.

Information captured in a requirement is shared with a related test case. It just works — without any extra effort on your part. 


You'll have traceability at your fingertips.

Because all of your information is managed and linked in one tool, you can easily create a traceability matrix. With a few clicks, you can trace from requirements to:

  • Test cases
  • Test results
  • Resolutions
  • Source code

Help When You Need It

You won't have to figure out which support team to call if you have an issue.

It will always be the same support phone number.

Get Started With ALM Systems

Don't just add more tools and hope they'll work well together. Choose an all-in-one ALM system to manage your requirements, tests, and bugs. 

Explore ALM Tools  Try Helix ALM