I turn over a new leaf today. It's my last official day as director of business development at commercial open source BI leader Jaspersoft, though I have agreed to stay on as a consultant for a period of time. It has been a wonderful, educational two years at Jaspersoft. And as a stock holder, I look forward to the company to continue accelerating its growth. I would have loved to continue on, but another opportunity beckoned...
I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said, "I find that the harder I work, the luckier I am." I feel like that holds true for me, and a case in point is when I came across zAgile back in April. Visionary Sanjiva Nath and his team had successfully built an alpha of a revolutionary solution for software delivery teams, and they were in search of a business person to help guide the sales and marketing. Always on the look-out for exciting new technologies and business opportunities, I was mesmerized by Sanjiva's vision and the zAgile offering, and I jumped at the opportunity. I began working for zAgile part-time in May and re-launched the corporate website in June.
As the website reads:
"zAgile has solved one of the most long-standing and perplexing problems in the software engineering industry: the problem of integrating teams, tools, processes and knowledge in software engineering environments. Founder Sanjiva Nath, an expert in Enterprise Information Management, distributed engineering projects, and semantic web technologies, discovered that the solution is achieved through a combination of these disciplines. He developed his theories through innovative research in semantic web technologies and ontologies."
We already have our first customer successfully deployed, and they are quite happy. Look for a future blog on that topic.
As I contemplated today's blog, I realized something in common between my career and the zAgile solution: the common thread. All through my career, I have worked for software companies with a common thread. They all specialized in delivering solutions that provided a meta data abstraction layer as a key differentiator:
- PowerDesigner (now Sybase): data modeling tool provides abstraction of conceptual and physical database design
- Business Objects (now SAP): BI tool provides a Universe to abstract logical business items from the way they are physically stored in the database
- Sunopsis (now Oracle Data Integrator): ETL tool provides an abstraction of what the ETL job is from how it is deployed.
- Jaspersoft: same idea as Business Objects Universe described above
Just as my career has a common thread of working with meta data and abstraction layers, so too does zAgile. zAgile provides a 'master data management' solution for software engineering information which provides an abstraction layer of software delivery artifacts, people, and processes. That means that zAgile can contextually integrate software tools, teams, processes, and knowledge. Therefore, zAgile itself also gives you a 'common thread' for any given question about the software delivery process.
I provide an example here to illustrate my point. Say you are a software delivery manager, and you are trying to understand what code is affected by a certain bug fix related to Single Sign On (SSO) for a project called Jaguar. Normally, you might go to the wiki to research the SSO specification, then go to the bug tracking system to look at SSO-related bugs. Then you might need to search for the related code in one or more version control repositories. Maybe you will need to email or chat with some colleagues to find out who did what work and when. Then if you discover any inconsistencies, you might need to help track down someone to provide SSO fixes.
Or you can use zAgile and find everything at once with its ability to 'x-ray' your whole environment and show you 'the common thread':
You can make one ad hoc query to the whole environment to view bugs for Single-Sign On (SSO) for the Jaguar project. zAgile will explore each tool semantically, and it returns precisely what you request (the SSO bug for Jaguar) as well as everything related, via 'the common thread':
- a list of SSO bugs for Jaguar
- the SSO product specification location on the wiki
- the list of patches related to SSO
- the version control repository or repositories with the SSO code
- the developer that developed the SSO and his profile
- developers that have skills to fix SSO bugs and their availability to work on SSO in the future
This could be easily mistaken for magic, except that it is Software Information Management: an elegant master data management solution, using semantic web technologies as the vehicle. zAgile gives you information at your fingertips, across all processes, teams, tools, etc. with all your own existing tools, in your own environment.
I invite you to check out zAgile, and find the common threads in your software delivery process.