Process, methods and tools manager perspective

As a process, methods and tools manager your main concerns are efficiency and effectiveness. You know that a multitude of tools and methods are applied throughout various projects and that data is shared across lots of processes. It takes lots of time to manage the complete system engineering environment. You are open to and seeking for solutions that reduce the work load for managing the system engineering environment.

Drivers
  • Reduce the effort for managing the system engineering environment
  • Introduce and embed new tools with minimal effort
  • Ensure consistency of data that is used across processes
  • Avoid lock-in by tool vendor(s)
The solutions of CRYSTAL aim at reducing tool management time. The IOS provides a tool-independent language which makes it possible for different tools to share data in an efficient way. Previously you needed to come up with 1:1 solutions for all tools that shared data. With the IOS this is no longer necessary as it provides you with  n:n solutions that reduce the effort of embedding new tools significantly. CRYSTAL aims at providing interoperability across tools in the system engineering cycle and solutions provided by CRYSTAL all contribute to this goal.

Although for each tool in your system engineering environment an adapter must be built that makes your tool compatible with IOS, this only has to be done once. This adapter translates the proprietary language the tool speaks into the independent language of IOS, which makes it possible to express the data that is stored in the tool in the IOS ‘language’. Once you have made the tool IOS compatible, it can connect with every other IOS compatible tool that uses the same data artefacts and all these tools can query the data within other tools.

“The IOS reduces the effort to integrate tools into customer specific tool chains and enables new applications with improved usability to support our engineers on the job.” (Dr. Jürgen Schwarz - Daimler AG, Senior Manager, Safeguarding Hard- & Software)


Moreover, the IOS is based on the principle of Linked Data. This means that data is not copied from one tool to another. Instead of duplicating data, data sources that are used across various processes are connected and can be queried. This approach ensures consistency of data, which implies that everyone works with the same data and mistakes related to inconsistency are avoided. 

Questions and Answers

Corporate tool administrator Head of Engineering
Do you know how many tools our typical project now uses 15?
Well, it’s 60 specialized tools and 8 regular office tools. That’s a lot.
Moreover, each project may introduce 1 to 4 new ones. Why?
New insights, demands of the project, many good reasons. So they are keeping you busy. We need to bring that down.
I am usually not in a position to refuse a new tool. We may slow it down but it is a fact of life. Right. How do you handle that?
Well, there is this new approach to tooling and data management that seems to make it a lot easier. What is that?
It’s called the CRYSTAL IOS. Not the Apple one - an interoperability specification. How would that help?
It separates the project data from the tools and let me edit the project data with any tool I like, given the tool is compatible. So?
It means that I can combine existing and new IOS compatible tools as I like since they will all work with the data. This saves me tons of work in creating bridges between the tools. Right! So the choice of tools becomes much less critical?
It means that I can combine existing and new IOS compatible tools as I like since they will all work with the data. This saves me tons of work in creating bridges between the tools. Right! So the choice of tools becomes much less critical?
Indeed, it gives us a lot more flexibility in combining tools and reduces the risk of implementing a tool that you drop in a couple of years. Great! Sounds good. So I can reduce your staff a lot?
Well, I think we can now focus on important things like reducing the project’s time to market. We may make sure that ICT is not in the critical path for system release and roll out variants faster. Too good to be true. Anyway, can you provide me with a plan?