IBM's Rational Software has launched a range of applications to provide collaboration, automation and reporting features that take advantage of Web 2.0 technology.

The new software, enabled by IBM's Jazz collaboration technology, automates work flow by posting real-time project updates and by providing development templates that can be compared with desired business requirements.

Scott Hebner, IBM's vice president for marketing and strategy, said while Rational Software offered a similar set of technologies for customers developing software in-house, the new tools are intended to strategically manage software assets no matter how they were acquired.

"So the theme of this announcement is to apply these products to align your IT organisation with your business priorities to help lower your cost and to help improve the efficiency of all these [software] products," he said.

IBM's Telelogic System Architect XT software is aimed at enabling change analysis, allowing business and IT managers to create a transformation plan from how an organisation is performing projects to how it would like to perform them. System Architect XT's web client includes new templates for capturing business and IT information and creating storyboard-like visuals. New web-based dashboards also offer business managers insight about IT projects as they are updated.

"So this helps to align business and IT on a common plan on where to invest," Hebner said.

Rational Requirements Composer software is aimed at building consensus and improving collaboration between business and IT managers in locations around the world by communicating through automated notification tools, such as wikis or instant messaging on a global development basis.

"Let's say you're in charge of developing X, Y, Z modules, when you're done, you check them in and the business leader sees that," Hebner said.

Rational RequisitePro software more tightly integrates with IBM Rational Software Architect through Microsoft Word to create requirements definitions. It also incorporates a database infrastructure to facilitate requirements organization, integration, project tracking and analysis.

IBM Rational ClearQuest, Rational Build Forge, Rational Asset Manager and IBM Rational ClearCase are a collection of applications aimed at improving team productivity and the ability to execute against desired business and technical requirements through new collaboration, automation and reporting features that also take advantage of Web 2.0 and Jazz technologies.

Melinda-Carol Ballou, an analyst with IDC, said that since 70 to 80 percent of IT project failures relate directly to poor requirements gathering, management and analysis, Rational's announcements are focused in large part on the coordination of requirements with other key life-cycle areas and pull that area into the Jazz framework.

The latest software tools also dovetail with other announcements made by Rational earlier this year for Rational Team Concert on the software change management side and with quality management last month.

"Rational's intent is to provide the basis for organisations to collaborate across key life-cycle areas more easily over time via Jazz and to help drive user visibility into metrics such as quality. This announcement also seeks to bring together the Telelogic capabilities as well," Ballou said. "The challenge for IBM will be in engaging customers to make the transition to Jazz over time, the resonance of this combined life-cycle strategy is part of how they hope to encourage evolution. Yet people change their behaviour with reluctance."