Summertime and the Integration is Easy

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There is a saying that the only things you can be certain of in life are death and taxes. At Tasktop there is another certainty, every three months we release software. Our regular delivery cadence has become a heartbeat for Tasktop, delivering innovation in regular, consumable chunks.  And today, July 28th 2015 we announced the next release of our software.
 
The July release includes new versions of Tasktop Sync and Tasktop Data with a lot of new features and new systems to connect to. I will try and share the highlights but for more details check out our product pages.
 
Tasktop Sync
This release is Tasktop Sync 4.3. The 4.3 version number highlights how mature Tasktop Sync has become–supporting millions of transactions every day with well over 190,000 seats. This release focused on two main themes: expanded support for requirements and enabling organizations to connect legacy systems to their new tools. 
 
Completing our Requirements Story
Over the last 12 months we have seen more and more interest in requirements. Perhaps this interest is driven by the pressures of scaling Agile and the adoption of frameworks like Disciplined Agile Delivery, or maybe the existence of next generation tools are driving demand. But whatever the root cause, that interest is translating into more requests from Tasktop customers. Our improved support for requirements began in April 2014 with the addition of Artifact Relationship Management (ARM), and has continued with the additional of more requirements tools as well as improvements to ARM. The July release adds two new requirements tools to our family with Blueprint and iRise. Blueprint is a leading vendor in the requirements space, providing capabilities to not only better define and manage requirements, but also provide traceability and management reporting. iRise is a little different from our standard requirements integration. They are a provider of visualizations and high-fidelity prototypes. We are really excited about adding these two technology partners to our ecosystem. Not only is integration a key component of their broader solution, but we have many customers in common. 
 
Connecting legacy to Agile
When I visit customers, I am often surprised by the number of ‘older’ tools still in use. Software tools don’t seem to die. But that should come as no surprise. These tools have evolved into mission critical elements of the software delivery lifecycle, and are the only place where many of the key business processes that enable companies to deliver working software exist. But modern software teams want modern tools, and Agile teams, with their focus on empowerment and control want to use the tools that make sense to them. This is where Tasktop comes in. Tasktop provides the ability to connect legacy tools with modern ones and to connect traditional processes to Agile ones. This ability creates a ‘best of both worlds’ approach for our customers, allowing them to continue to use one tool at the ‘enterprise’ level while supporting many different Agile tools at the team level. In the July Tasktop release, HP PPM, IBM Rational ClearQuest and CA Harvest have been added to our family of connectors. 
 
But not content with delivering 5 new connectors and extending the capabilities of Sync, we also added lots more capabilities to Tasktop Data.
 
Tasktop Data
For organizations that want to create a centralized database of software development metrics, Tasktop Data provides the ability for organizations to replace manual or semi-automated approaches to collecting data from their software tools, with an automated solution. Not only does this mean you can eliminate complicated ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) processes to get data from your tools to this database, but you can also standardize your data collection with a model-based approach. Tasktop Data raises the abstraction for gathering data from your lifecycle to better enable organizations to build reports and visualizations. Nicole Bryan our VP of product management summed it up best when she referred to it as solving the last mile problem for building great reports; The first 30 miles is about understanding what metrics you need for your analytics program, but the last mile is critical to get to your goal. And the last mile is actually getting your hands on consistent, normalized data, and that’s what Tasktop Data does. For a more detailed description of what metrics you need or how Tasktop Data helps, view the webinar series that Nicole, Dr. Murray Cantor of the Cutter Consortium and I presented. The series takes you through the value of metrics, talks about what metrics matter and provides a preview of the functionality provided by Tasktop Data in today’s release. 
 
This release of Tasktop Data was focused on two main themes: adding new end-points to Tasktop Data and improving the user experience–so it is even easier to access data and scale its use. In this release we added VersionOne, CA PPM, Microsoft Visual Studio Online, Microsoft TFS, IBM RTC, IBM Bluemix, Blueprint, HP PPM, IBM ClearQuest and iRise.  Our new improved user interface enables users to quickly and easily deliver ‘bite sized chunks’ of analytics, which they can then visualize in their tool of choice. 
 
The July release has been an exciting one, but don’t take my word for it. Start using it.
 
Happy summer everyone!
Dave