Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Integrated Computer Aided Software Engineering
Integrated Computer Aided Software Engineering (I-CASE) activities provide an example of how McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis management is actively addressing critical affordability issues. This effort is dedicated to making information systems at MDA-St. Louis more cost effective. The program is applying I-CASE software development technology to enhance business information systems to re-engineer business process analysis, information analysis, system design, and software code generation.
In 1993, MDA-St. Louis examined the prospect of re-engineering processes in its internal information systems departments to improve affordability of information systems, reduce cycle time, enable skill shift, and reorient the development process within the information systems organization. Implementation began in 1994 and was greatly facilitated by the use of Information Engineering Facility (IEF) software acquired from Texas Instruments, Inc. The IEF application provided excellent results in the engineering domain, and MDA-St. Louis believed the same information methodology could be applied to the business domain.
MDA-St. Louis needed to initiate a skill shift for software developers away from low level software coding and syntactic corrections toward understanding the target business process application. The IEF minimizes software coding by providing a graphical capability for the user to model the target process, and generates the software code for that process model without errors. The graphical interface provides the user with a friendly environment in which to develop the business process model and required data. In the background, the IEF maintains the standard methodology and software schema for software process model compatibility.
The IEF runs in a client-server environment, driven by a host encyclopedia that provides a common repository for reusable process models and data (Figure 2-3). The encyclopedia contains MDA corporate information used in all process models, thereby maintaining consistent data. This I-CASE effort provides robust capabilities for eliminating syntax error. Logical specifications are independent of the target technology such as the user interface system and programming languages.
MDA-St. Louis is currently quantifying the I-CASE benefits using metrics such as functional points. Some preliminary returns have shown that at start-up, the return on net assets was predicted to be approximately 160% due to the initial investment. Actually, MDA experienced a 33% return on net assets in the first year of implementation. Additionally, MDA has attained an average productivity increase of 109% for projects completed. The Paperless Assembly Data Delivery System (PADDS) program is one example of I-CASE use, where the PADDS development team, consisting of management and shop floor users, did not have to learn the target technology to implement the system, thereby allowing acceleration of the start-up schedule.
Figure 2-3. MDA Common Repository
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