In the weeks leading up to REConf 2015, requirements management is back in the focus of many industry experts and media outlets. In case last year's media buzz about IoT wasn't convincing enough, Embedded World 2015 has shown that connectivity-enabled embedded systems and the Internet of Things are topics of significant and rapidly increasing importance. What's more, IoT means a fundamental change that is likely to be the primary shaper of the future of several industries – affecting practically every process from requirements management through product innovation to maintenance, and more.
Therefore, it's time we investigated how these fields are related, and how requirements engineering works in the development of IoT-enabled products.
IoT introduces even higher complexity
As outlined in last week's post on how the IoT is changing the way we think about products, connectivity adds a whole new level of complexity to product (systems) development. Sure enough, IoT connectivity enables manufacturers to embed previously unheard of functionality in their products. But we also need to bear in mind that these new features necessitate orchestration between software, electrical, and mechanical components of the product – and their development calls for the integration of various lifecycles (Product, Innovation, Service, Application Lifecycle Management).
This means a whole new set of business and product requirements, as well as a need for efficient demand management.
Integration throughout the organization's overarching lifecycle encompassing all these lifecycles (xLM) is vital, and as recent report by VDC Research suggests, more and more companies realize that this integration across engineering teams is greatly facilitated by robust, holistic tools.
What's more, with connectivity and increasing reliance on embedded software, requirements regarding usability (UX), safety, security and reliability are also gaining importance. Thus, the level of complexity introduced by IoT cannot be compared to requirements management in 'traditional' products that lack connectivity and the services made possible by IoT.
Managing requirements collaboratively and across the increasingly complex lifecycles of systems development is no longer possible using traditional methods and tools such as Google or Excel spreadsheets.
The impact of connectivity-related requirements
According to the recent piece of VDC research referenced above (click below to download its summary), two-third of respondents reported that their organizations were either analyzing options, or were already implementing approaches to integrate across domains. It is safe to say that as connectivity components will gradually seep into a growing range products and industries, these new levels of requirements complexity will be fueling the need for advanced requirements management platforms.
As André Girard, Senior Analyst of IoT and Embedded Software at VDC Research put it:
“The need to tame IoT complexity will drive an increased use of requirements management tools. Solutions enabling better collaboration are becoming a more valuable resource for improving product quality and value differentiation.”
Source: VDC Research
As a consequence, the early adoption of advanced tools to manage requirements could mean a competitive advantage for companies that are pursuing innovation to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the Internet of Things. Adopting a modern, holistic solution to manage complexity, especially the complexity of the various requirements involved in an IoT-enabled systems development project, is a key to success.
Intland Software is at the forefront of this change. codeBeamer ALM is successfully used by players in this changing landscape to manage complexity. To learn more, watch our webinar recordings for more insights, contact us with your questions, or start your free trial of codeBeamer right away.