Happy 2011! I managed to avoid (once again) having to eat a spoonful of black eyed peas (a New Years tradition in my part of the world that I am not particularly fond of) and am ready to tackle the new year. This year is an exciting one for us at Crowell and I wanted to share some of the highlights of 2010, as well as upcoming events for 2011.
In 2010, we saw the roll-out of our first application. We initially developed DecisionPoint™ (www.s1000ddecision.com) as a means of solving an immediate problem:
How do companies quickly and effectively develop S1000D business rules?
DecisionPoint has since grown to not only take on the task of developing business rules, but creating and managing BREX documents as well. DecisionPoint is the manifestation of what everyone in the S1000D community is realizing: S1000D business rules are “living”, “changing” things. As such, they need to be stored and managed in a manner that allows for easy update and dissemination. Although it will certainly continue to be available for individual purchase, in 2011, DecisionPoint is becoming one part of CapStone™, our new S1000D Productivity Suite…but more on that later.
Of course we are, at our core, still a services company. We enjoyed many successful projects this year and look forward to even more in 2011. If you have not met us, ask around. We are confident enough in our reputation that we do not employ a sales staff. Instead, we rely on our reputation and word of mouth. We look forward to continuing to serve our existing customers in 2011 and adding new customers to our growing list of references.
As for 2011, we have a lot on our plate.
CapStone™ S1000D Productivity Suite
We are 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 frankly, is a fairly trivial challenge in the IT world. In order to make an S1000D environment truly robust and usable, additional features are required. More details to come…
Well, that’s my update for this new year. Here’s to a great year and our combined and continued success!
— Rick Schochler
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.
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
Therefore, your cost = 3.75X
For example, if you have a loaded rate of $60/hour your total cost comes out to $468,000:
Your costs with a typical business rules management tool:
- Software price = $50,000 – $90,000
- Duration of business rule development = 0.5 years
- Cost savings: $418,000 – $378,000
- Time savings: 2 years
The Business Rules Exchange Data Module (BREX DM) is used to programmatically enforce business rules that govern what can and cannot appear in an S1000D data module’s content. The BREX DM uses XPath statements that verify that authored content conforms to the project’s business rules. For example: to ensure consistency in the units of measurement used in a program a BREX rule could specify and enforce the use of only metric values.
Note: There are business rules that are defined by a project that cannot be enforced programmatically. Business rules that cover general policy (such as publishing to an IETM environment) are dictated in a Business Rule document, but are not part of the BREX.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
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:
- Determine which version of S1000D you are going to use.
- Identify content to be managed.
- Determine data module granularity.
- Determine publishing strategy (electronic, print, both).
- Complete the Functionality Matrix available from the S1000D website.
- Business Rule Definition
- Detail your S1000D business rules.
- Determine which rules can and should be enforced by the BREX.
- Generate or develop your BREX document.
- CSDB Selection
- Determine which tool best fits your organization’s needs.
- Decision is based on S1000D version, existing infrastructure, desired functionality and, of course, $$$.
- Note this right off the bat: You WILL need customizations.
- CSDB Implementation
- Integrate with existing systems.
- Develop customizations to fulfill the totality of your requirements.
- Coordinate with engineering.
- Technical writers are creating content utilizing S1000D schemas and the appropriate BREX document.
- Create illustrations.
- Publishing and Distribution
- Publish to electronic and/or print.
- Distribute worldwide!