of CM. What does it get me, and what can I expect to see in a 4G ALM solution?
A third generation ALM solution should allow you to get the information you need to run your shop: requirements traceability, release contents, iteration advances, backlog, current assignments, process documentation, etc.
And if you have a multiple site solution for source code in your 2G solution, you should be getting a multiple site solution for all of your project/product data in the 3G ALM solution.
If you've got a team maintaining and supporting your 2G solution, you should now have 2 or 3 part-time CMers sparing off each other during vacation times, while you put the rest of the old CM team to work on core business. No wasting time going to each end-user's workstation to install or fix problems. Software should be in a common location, such as might be the case if it uses a thin client.
Your ALM training must be modular, by function, but simple. The framework first, then the functions - and training on these functions should be training on your process and how the tools support them, not "their" tools and what parts of the process we can support. Because of this, ALM training should be an "in-house" capability, even if it is outsourced. The courses keep up with your evolving process. If your end-user courses are taking days or weeks, your solution is too difficult to use. Do you need training - yes - ALM is complex and any module is complex from a process perspective. There's typically some terminology to master. But the training should really be centered on process, not working around the inadequacies of the tools.
If the vendor insists on doing customization, the overhead, delays and costs will be too great. If simple user interface or process changes regularly require planning and cost estimates, the tools are too complex or inflexible.
You should be able to run your meetings from your ALM tool. No more distributing reports (even in PDF format) for people to digest. The agenda items should come from a data query in the repository. You want to be able to navigate issues completely as they come up in the meeting. The 3G ALM tool should have the traceability and the navigational capabilities to do this. Decisions should be recorded in the repository data, not in the minutes. And it had better be sufficiently peppy to do all of this.
Reports should virtually disappear from your work flow. Instead, dashboards and query capabilities should appear. No more wading through layers of useless data on paper to get the information you need. What information do you need? Why is the report being created (typically to address a series of needs)? You should replace reports with data navigation using quick links from the user interface to get to the data you need.
Your ALM tool should be the primary communication tool. After all, all the project information is there. You should be able to customize your user interface so that you see the precise information that you need: source trees, to-do lists, priority issues, process guidance, etc.
The list goes on. The ALM solution is much more than a set of point functional solutions glued together.
The Next Generation
What's next. In a 4G solution (will it have a name different from ALM?) you should be able to create and customize dashboards in not much more than the time it would otherwise take you to track down the information content. You should be able to specify and change the context of