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New Customer Support Tools

Crowell Solutions is committed to providing the highest-quality of service to our customers. We are pleased to announce a line up of new customer support tools. 

  • Ticket tracker Ticket Tracker allows you to create, update, and resolve issues. It contains a knowledge base containing information on each product, file downloads, resolutions to common problems, etc. 
  • Technical Support Forum The Technical Support Forum is an online discussion site where you can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

We are always looking for ways to improve the products and services we offer our customers. Let us know how we can improve our service to you.

 

ROI for Using an S1000D Business Rules Management Tool

It’s quite common for companies to spend a lot of time and effort on writing, agreeing upon and managing their S1000D business rules; not to mention the time spent on updating BREX data modules whenever authoring rules change.  You can save both time and money by using an S1000D business rules management tool.  Based on our experience, it takes companies an average of 1.5 FTEs over 2.5 years to develop a complete set of acceptable S1000D business rules.

By using a management tool for your rules, it is possible to reduce your time to completion down to 6 months with an average of 0.5 FTE over that shortened timeframe.  Essentially, your return on investment will come out to be nearly 4 FTEs!  If you multiply this by your internal loaded rate, you can easily calculate the cost of completing this effort without a management tool.

Our Math:

Your costs without a business rules management tool:

  • 1.5 FTEs = average FTE working full-time to complete the effort
  • 2.5 years = Duration of business rule development
  • X = your loaded rate
DecisionPoint ROI

Therefore, your cost = 3.75X

For example, if you have a loaded rate of $60/hour your total cost comes out to $468,000:

DecisionPoint return on investment

Your costs with a typical business rules management tool:

  • Software price = $50,000 – $90,000
  • Duration of business rule development = 0.5 years

ROI:

  • Cost savings:  $418,000 – $378,000
  • Time savings: 2 years

— Kate

Free S1000D Consultation Opportunity!

Concurrent with the Joint Services S1000D Workshop being held at the Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida, Crowell Solutions will be present in Panama City Beach. Rick Schochler and Don Smith, Ph D., will be staying at the Holiday Inn Resort. Rick and Don are interested in meeting with other S1000D practitioners and discussing the issues and challenges of real-world S1000D implementations, such as:

  • S1000D Business Rules
  • S1000D Systems
  • S1000D Training
  • S1000D Best Practices

In addition, Rick and Don can discuss the industry leading application for developing and managing S1000D business rules, DecisionPoint™.

If you want to chat with two people who have been in the “S1000D trenches” shoot us an email at rschochler@crowsol.com or dsmith@crowsol.com, or call either Rick at 817-999-2258 or Don at 214-264-7136. You can also catch our twitter updates by following us @crowsol.

We look forward to seeing you in Florida!

The Stages of an S1000D Project

At a company that I once worked for (I won’t name names, but they once enjoyed a good reputation in the SGML/XML world), we developed and marketed a process for how data moved through a system, from creation to distribution. It served as a very effective tool for explaining to our customers exactly what we did and why our services were valuable.

I think a similar approach is needed for detailing the activities in instantiating an S1000D-based system. I’ll come up with a fancy term such as “S1000D Process” – see Mom, all my years of schooling are finally paying off!

The S1000D Process:

We have identified six components of the S1000D process:

  1. Setup
    1. Determine which version of S1000D you are going to use.
    2. Identify content to be managed.
    3. Determine data module granularity.
    4. Determine publishing strategy (electronic, print, both).
    5. Complete the Functionality Matrix available from the S1000D website.
  2. Business Rule Definition
    1. Detail your S1000D business rules.
    2. Determine which rules can and should be enforced by the BREX.
    3. Generate or develop your BREX document.
  3. CSDB Selection
    1. Determine which tool best fits your organization’s needs.
    2. Decision is based on S1000D version, existing infrastructure, desired functionality and, of course, $$$.
    3. Note this right off the bat: You WILL need customizations.
  4. CSDB Implementation
    1. Integrate with existing systems.
    2. Develop customizations to fulfill the totality of your requirements.
  5. Authoring
    1. Coordinate with engineering.
    2. Technical writers are creating content utilizing S1000D schemas and the appropriate BREX document.
    3. Create illustrations.
  6. Publishing and Distribution
    1. Publish to electronic and/or print.
    2. Distribute worldwide!

–Rick

S1000D: Why NOT to Use Pseudo Data Module Codes

Even the most ardent defender of S1000D has to agree that it has limits. It is a great specification for capturing complex technical data in a complex fashion. And, while long, the Data Module Code (DMC) is good at uniquely identifying S1000D data module content. I admit I still have to, on occasion, look up all of the components that comprise a DMC. For a more detailed explanation, visit our S1000D Glossary.  For your reference, here is a quick explanation:

data module code

However, just as S1000D is not an ideal fit for someone creating a poem, a DMC is not a good means of identifying non-S1000D content. For example, using pseudo-DMCs while creating supporting content for the specification, including creating unique IDs for business rules is a bad idea.  Pseudo-DMCs create additional complexity and do not provide additional value in return.  Using a simpler ID syntax provides all the capabilities you will need.  The methodology we use is simple: take the chapter from which the rule came and append a -1, -2, -3, etc. (e.g. 3.9.1-1 correponds to the first rule within chapter 3.9.1).

Based on our experiences, DMCs should be used solely in identifying S1000D data module content.

-Rick