Tool vendor perspective

As a software tool vendor, you want to run a healthy business. Therefore, increasing installed base or margin is a natural objective. Your unique tool features and level of integration attract new customers.

However, system engineering environments evolve at a rapid pace. Customer requirements to tool integration are getting more stringent because of increasing adoption of model driven system engineering and the need for shorter development cycles. Interoperability becomes a topic for customer satisfaction that cannot be solved with good support alone.

  • Increase installed base of my tool
  • Handle tool diversity at acceptable cost
  • Increase customer satisfaction of users
  • Introduce new features efficiently
  • Make my tool work with other brand’s tools
  • Provide services to users
  • Set a de facto standard with my tools
Even the most comprehensive vendor will always be confronted with external tools that do not integrate with its toolset. The traditional approach of creating point-to-point integrations for each new tool works to some extent, but does not scale, as each new customer might use a different tool for which adapters need to be developed, tested and supported. As CRYSTAL shows, many leading vendors have reached the turning point where they adopt a standard for handling interoperability. By opening up their tools and provide key data to other tools, other vendors can create adapters for using that data. The burden for creating adapters is thus spread across tool vendors.

In addition, CRYSTAL uses a common neutral standard for interoperability, the IOS. This means that your tool needs only one adapter to publish its data to make it available for all other tools that share the same IOS domain or domains and the same applies for consuming data: only one adapter is required.  An IOS domain is a section of IOS that deals with a specific focus, e.g. quality management, requirements management, etc.

Finally, as a tool vendor, you want to be able to offer innovative features, so, reducing the effort need for solving interoperability issues, enables you to focus your investment in providing customer with new and innovative services.

Figure: Crystal Interoperability approach using n:n adapters and a common IOS language (in blue colour)

“Today’s challenges in safety-critical systems engineering cannot be addressed by just one single-vendor tool chain because of the multiple engineering disciplines that are involved in the development process of such complex systems. A truly interoperable tool chain addresses the specific needs in each engineering discipline through best-of-breed capabilities while ensuring seamless integration of the results.”

“Our product development strategy at PTC now includes the use of OSLC as open and standardized approach to future-proof tool integrations. Our new OSLC-based interfaces will not only provide better tool interoperability for our customers and partners, but also allow us to shift the energies that we previously spent on tool-specific integrations to the implementation of new innovative functionalities.” (Christoph Bräuchle - PTC, Development Director)