Posts Tagged‘business rules’

Two New S1000D Applications

It’s March already! Where does the time fly? In Texas we decided to skip winter altogether. We have flowers blooming and, at present, I’m typing this with the windows to the office wide open.

Ahead of changes to our website and the various marketing initiatives that businesses must take when rolling out new products, I wanted to let you know that We are going to be rolling out a couple of new applications during March:

BREXCheck™ and S1000D Architect™.

BREXCheck™ – BREXCheck allows for on-the-fly BREX validation while creating S1000D content. It can work in the XML editor of your choice. Technical authors and content creators author their S1000D data modules as normal. BREXCheck operates in the background. If the author attempts to enter an element that is dissallowed, or an incorrect attribute value, BREXCheck will offer a notification. This should greatly speed up and improve the S1000D authoring and the QA processes.

The second is S1000D Architect™, which is a layer of logic that sits on top of an S1000D CSDB (Content Storage Data Base). S1000D Architect allows you to truly control and manage your S1000D project(s). Management of your S1000D project(s) includes:

  • Knowing how many data modules comprise your S1000D project(s).
  • Knowing where these data modules are coming from (your team, vendors, etc.).
  • Managing multiple SNS schemes (yours, your vendors)
  • Managing vendors’ data modules
  • Ability to efficiently build a list of all necessary data modules
  • Tying this list to a ‘stub-out’ of the data modules themselves (i.e., create a rudimentary XML document for each and every data module in your project).

Look for posts, additions to our website, and email notifications in the coming weeks. We are excited about these applications and rolling them out to general availability. If you want a sneak peek, contact us at info@crowsol.com

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick

 

 

 

How about a little BREX 101 this week?

One of the most common points of confusion I hear about in the S1000D industry is concerning what the BREX data module does and how S1000D business rules are used to generate a BREX data module. It is believed by some that a BREX DM contains all of the business rules for a program, and by handing a BREX to a partner company, you can effectively instruct them on how to develop S1000D to conform to your business rules. 

This is not completely accurate. A BREX document is really only capable of storing rules that are enforceable on the actual S1000D XML content. This is due to the fact that a BREX rule must be enforced via an XPath statement. Decisions pertaining to the use of optional elements are perfect examples of S1000D business rules that exist in, and are enforced by, the BREX.

Rules governing the overall usage of S1000D cannot be enforced or expressed in the BREX data module. Examples of such rules include:

  • the decision to use process data modules instead of the fault isolation data module, or
  • to use an Arial font instead of Times for chapter titles.

Although these are important rules, they cannot be expressed using an XPath statement and, thus, are not included in the BREX document. 

When conducting training classes or when explaining S1000D constructs to our customers, we have found it useful to think of S1000D business rules as consisting of two distinct categories:

  1. Program Rules
  2. Authoring Rules 

A program rule is an S1000D business rule that dictates specific usages of the standard that does not specifically address XML content. Program rules include rules such as graphic formats, CSDB configuration, type of data modules to be used, etc. As program rules are meant solely for human use, these are generally provided as documentation (a Word file, HTML, etc).  

Authoring rules are data oriented and can be expressed as an XPath statement and, as such, can be enforced by a program or software application. The decision to disallow an optional element can be enforced via an XPath statement, and thus should be included in your BREX document. It is then the duty of a BREX-aware processor to read the BREX document and enforce these authoring rules.

So, when exchanging business rules, it is important to not only exchange your BREX data module, but supporting documentation containing program rules as well.

Any questions? Give us a call!

–Eric Lawson

CapStone™ S1000D Productivity Suite

As I mentioned in our last blog, we are in the process of developing a new S1000D productivity Suite called CapStone™. CapStone represents what we are referring to as the “second generation” of S1000D applications. The first generation of tools were worried about storage and retrieval of documents. While storage and retrieval is indeed important, it is a fairly trivial challenge in the IT world. In order to make an S1000D environment truly robust and usable, additional features are required. CapStone will include the following individually available components:

  • DecisionPoint™ – For Business Rules Management and BREX generation
  • DMRL Manager
    • SNS management
    • Information code management
    • DMC (Data Module Code) component management
    • DMRL (Data Module Requirements List) management and generation
  • Applicability Manager
    • ACT, PCT, and CCT management
    • Field updates
  • Publication Manager

An interesting feature of CapStone is that it can sit on top of any existing S1000D CSDB, or database (Oracle, SQL, etc.). If you have a site license for Oracle and want to turn it into an S1000D CSDB…great! If you already have a first generation S1000D CSDB and need a more robust environment to make it work the way you need it, CapStone will fit the bill. In addition, we are building integrations to other “S” Standards, including:

  • S3000L
  • S2000M
  • S4000M
  • S5000F

We anticipate debuting CapStone™ S1000D Productivity Suite at the AIA-Joint Services Technical Publications workshop, May 12-13 in Clearwater, FL. We hope you will join us. We also plan on attending the S1000D User Forum, June 6-8 in Montreal, CA. Of course, if you want a preview before then or are interested in becoming one of the first customers, contact us and we will make it happen!

–Rick Schochler

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!