It might sound like something you’d keep under lock and key in a high security defence arsenal but for one Tees firm, it is proving to be the tool that will cement their growth.
Applied Integration have invested a six-figure sum into their software infrastructure with the implementation of project management tool Polarion.
Put very simply, the Siemens-developed system manages all of the activities involved in designing, implementing and deploying complex engineering projects.
For Stokesley-based Applied Integration, it represents one of their biggest investments as a company to date.
Providing cutting edge engineering solutions to the petrochemicals, oil, gas and defence sectors is what they specialise in – and application lifecycle management software Polarion, they hope, will keep them ahead of the game.
The goal is to help break down the walls between all of the threads of a project from business and engineering to quality assurance so that each team has as much information and insight into what the others are doing at any given time.
At the end of the day it is Applied’s clients who will benefit, as the company can continue to deliver its quality products, faster and with improved business efficiency.
“The investment in Polarion ALM software will allow Applied Integration improved requirements to capture accuracy, improve project efficiency, right first time,” said one of the firm’s four directors, Garry Lofthouse.
“An overall improvement of the software development was deemed fundamental to support the company growth and ambition, and propel us to the next level in automation and control.
“We are fully committed to delivering solutions in accordance with our project lifecycle and quality management procedures, which are backed by ISO9001/14001 accredited certification.”
The company evaluated several market-leading ALM solutions over a period of 12 months and settled on the Siemens product because, says Garry, in their opinion it was simply the best.
Polarion allows users to track and trace decisions at every point in an engineering project and check testing to ensure systems are delivered exactly to a customer’s required specification and are compliant to any given industry standard.
The beauty for Applied Integration, says Garry, is that it will help to streamline the project process for all of its engineers and managers from beginning to end. Features such as automatic requirement will drive the engineering team to understand how they will meet a specific requirement, which in turn removes the potential for ambiguity when requirements are not defined correctly.
Applied Integration’s mid-term vision is to integrate Polarion with their in-house developed automated testing and test-case generation tool (called ReqCap) to ensure they have a very powerful toolset covering all project aspects from initialisation through to automated code testing.
Siemens’ Tom Wallington explains: “Polarion is what we call an application lifecycle management tool, or ALM for short.
“In a nutshell, it is a tool for managing complex engineering projects that run across a number of departments, with a number of different people who are all working towards the same end goal – the final product.
“It can take, test and record against any or all of project requirements which sometimes encompass hundreds, thousands, if not millions of strands. It means someone like Garry can monitor exactly where the project is at any one time.”
Polarion is right at the forefront of ALM software, he says, and there has been a lot of investment into it from Siemens.
The Stokesley business ran a trial project with Polarion last year and it was encouragingly successful, reveals Garry.
“Engineers often do what we call ‘story telling’ but this system delivers requirements so there is no ambiguity.
“This is probably the biggest investment we have made at Applied Integration, if not the biggest we have done as a business.
“Going forward, it means we can take on a lot more complex and larger projects.”