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Serena Enters 10th Dimension

How do you change a change management solution?

That's the issue that faced Serena software following the December 2004 release of its flagship Dimensions 9.

The answer? Dimensions 10, which debuts today.

The new Dimensions release boasts a host of new features that Carl Theobald, senior vice president of research and development at Serena, noted yielded no fewer than five new patents.

Among the improvements is a unified install process, a single repository so that all data is stored in one database, integration with Windows Explorer and a new user Dashboard.

Theobald explained that Serena had also improved its IDE support by completely rewriting its Eclipse and .NET plug-ins, so now Dimensions 10 has full issue management, as well as configuration management built directly into the native IDE.

Support for Web services is also a key part of the release.

In particular Dimension 10 exposes Eclipse ALF (Application Lifecycle Framework)-ready services. ALF is an Eclipse Project spearheaded by Serena.

"ALF is an underlying technology to help customers integrate Serena and non-Serena products into a common integration platform across their enterprise to give them a common view," said Serena CEO Mark Woodward in a July interview with internetnews.com.

At the time he said Serena would make money from its ALF efforts by selling vendor-supported and enhanced products based on top of ALF.

Theobald said ALF 1.0 is due at the end of the year, and Dimensions 10 will come out of the box with support for it.

Serena isn't just pitching its new Dimensions to clients; it's also using the software itself, and has been for months.

"The golden rule that I have for my team is that we will go live with our software before we will allow our customers to use it," Theobald said. "With Dimensions 10, we actually went live internally back in March."

The results so far would seem to indicate that Dimensions 10 will have a measure of return on investment for Serena's own deployment.

"We expect over the next year to save 10 percent of our annual R&D budget as a result of deploying Dimensions 10 out globally in our organization," Theobald commented.