OIG Ltd Capturing Business in Software OIG Ltd Capturing Business in Software OIG Ltd Capturing Business in Software

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Business Modelling

Adopting a Process



Business Builder

Component Development



Full Life Cycle

Delivering on the J2EE


OIG was established in 1993 to run the Object Interest Group, formed in 1990 to help large scale users migrate to object technology (OT). OIG has since developed and implemented reusable processes, frameworks and components facilitating the rapid development of flexible and maintainable systems. This means we now have considerable experience of helping companies with all aspects of the development life cycle, including technology selection, choosing methodologies, tailoring software development processes, business modelling, requirements gathering, tool selection and tailoring. Recent technologies we have helped companies adopt include Use Cases, UML, RUP, Agile methods, J2EE and component-based development.

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The following page provides an history of the Object Interest Group. Although their work took place some time ago now, many of the issues they addressed remain relevant to today's projects.

History of the

Object Interest Group

The OIG was formed in May 1990 by Norman Plant of British Airways and initially consisted of sixteen leading UK companies involved in banking, insurance, airlines, manufacturing, chemicals, oil and steel production, telecommunications and government.

The needs of businesses after many years of investment in IT were about :

  • Increased importance of the integration of previously separate systems.
  • Being responsive to changes in business requirements.
  • Either obtaining, or sustaining competitive edge from new emerging appraoches such as client/server, open systems, downsizing etc.
Most businesses wanted to meet these needs by building on the resources - usually large-scale, legacy, MIS-type systems - they already had, rather than redeveloping from scratch time and time again. Objects were being presented as a major enabling factor in responding to these needs. It was therefore important for these businesses to understand the approaches, techniques, emerging products, successes and failures of objects.

The existence of the OIG helped members in this task by providing them with :

  • The combined effort of all members.
  • Good project-focused speakers.
  • International visibility of the application and progress of object technology.
  • Solutions to problem areas.
  • A repository of evidence.
  • A ‘social’ network of people they could easily contact.
    A conferencing system (CIX) was used to sustain visibility and enable member communications.
The Group was run by Norman and Trish Wooding. The work was always project-based with objectives and deliverables so that it remained focused, and was based around interactive workshops and supplier/practitioner visits.

Phase I

The first project the OIG carried out (‘90 - ‘91) was to take a look at object technology as a whole and to find hard evidence of its use by practitioners/early adopters and development by suppliers/standards bodies. The aim of this work being to enable members to assess the relative maturity of OT at the time and its potential success.

Phase II

The findings from the first project were very encouraging, and so once sufficient members had taken up the approach a second phase project (‘92 - ‘93) was formed. This was focused on developing method, technique and management to address the key management concerns : The solution process consisted of members sharing their practical experiences which resulted in a detailed and continuously evolving set of questions and concerns. The influence of the corporate OIG name list was used to attract international experts, practitioners and suppliers to share their experience and respond to members’ questions. This worked well and we attracted good speakers at an average rate of one each week.

Phase III

We were again encouraged by our findings but felt these could not be regarded as final since both the issues and the solutions would continue to evolve as the take-up of object technology grew and matured. We therefore continued to address these issues and in addition, we started to look at a number of new areas but this time taking a more practical approach to assessing the value and impact of OT.

The issues we looked at in Phase III (‘94 - ‘95) were :

  • Reusable components - common business objects and frameworks.

    A project (Managing Reuse) was started in Phase II that addressed management concerns, project concerns and library issues, surrounding reuse. It became apparent, that in most cases, our members had started with a ‘bottom-up’ approach to reuse, ie by working with and across project teams to identify technical and semi-technical reusable components. However, effective reuse needs both a ‘top-down’ (identifying stable business components) and a ‘bottom-up approach.’

    This suggested that we needed to continue to investigate reuse at the project level, but we also needed to focus on the ‘top-down’ contribution and how it could be better enabled. This would be dependent on the quality of the reusable components and the commitment to reuse.

    Another Phase II project (The Feasibility of Common Business Objects - CBOs) had started to look at CBOs as a means to assuring domain model quality and thereby reuse. It concentrated on domain definition and scope for common business objects, initial criteria for inclusion in the domain, how to start assessing the feasibility of such components and their benefits. But to confirm and build on our initial findings from this project we needed to move the project forward by widening the involvement in assessing the feasibility of CBOs, ie by involving suppliers and as many organisations as we could.

    At the same time, we became interested in frameworks as a result of some of the barriers that were being discussed about libraries of objects. Because of their unintegrated, non-collaborative nature libraries required extensive learning on the part of the user, and they offered little guidance on application construction.

    Frameworks, as sets of collaborating objects, on the other hand, were being presented as exhibiting default behaviour and therefore as being more coherent and active than libraries. If this was true, they might provide a far more meaningful and manageable vehicle for establishing OT in corporates than non-collaborating libraries. They might also provide the necessary ‘glue’ for CBOs, so together business frameworks and CBOs might supply a better bridge to deliverable applications.

  • Business process re-engineering (BPR)

    During the previous year, we had seen evidence of the growing attraction of the object approach to BPR. Re-engineering needs to combine business data and processes into the stable business components that reflect the core business of the enterprise, thus providing a foundation for change management. Objects with their ability for encapsulation, were being presented as the enabling technology.

We therefore decided, to investigate the application of the object approach to BPR and take a closer look at both business objects and frameworks as the potential enabling components. What we found positively supported many of the above claims. In addition, we produced a number of basic CBOs, a skeleton design for a business framework and guidelines for the application of these components to BPR, which the members could use as they wanted in their own companies.

And beyond .......

The work of the Object Interest Group (OIG) is now concluded as members are confident that object technology (OT) is well enough established in the UK sector. All phases have been notable for their spirit of friendly and willing co-operation within the Group - despite several member companies being commercial competitors - and the very positive response from the IT industry. Concentrating on method and technique rather than the business role of software has allowed companies, which compete commercially, to co-operate on OIG projects. The result has been several years of unique collaborative work and a rewarding experience for all who have been involved. But after five years, we consider that the OIG has now fulfilled its mission as :

Objects are here to stay !

Created : 30th April 1996

Updated : 11th August 1996

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The Object Interest Group
An Assessment of OO
Starting with Objects
Choosing a method
Managing Reuse
Feasibility of CBOs
Components and BPR
The Object Interest Group Home Page
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