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We Need to Focus on Business Processes

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[Input Requested: This page is a bit sparse. GPR]


  1. Abstract
  2. Traditionally: Focus on Technology
    1. Example: Populate a PO Directly From 3D Model Database
  3. Business Processes
  4. Next


The barrier to interoperability between software applications is not technology. The barrier is business processes.

Traditionally: Focus on Technology

Every organization today is under relentless pressure to reduce costs. One way to reduce costs is to increase productivity, and nowadays, this is usually accomplished by automating manual tasks by writing some computer application.

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Fig 1 - Problem Space

Plant design nowadays involves work processes that (more-or-less) take information from one or more software applications, transform it somehow with a manual process, and enter the results into another application. These work processes may range from precise, documented procedures to heuristics and rules of thumb that "people are just supposed to know". In most organizations there are hundreds of them.

Example: Populate a PO Directly From 3D Model Database

There are several 3D plant modeling applications available commerically. There are also several commerical purchasing applicataions available commercially. But none of the purchasing applications, out of the box, will populate a purchase order directly from any of the 3D modelling applications. Instead, each organization will have developed work processes for selecting a range of objects from the 3D model, extracting a report in some format, transforing the report, and importing it to a purchasing application. Depending on how often this has to be done, this is an opportunity to increase productivity and reduce errors by automating it.

Using today's technology there are a great many correct ways to automate something like this:

  • Commerical Middleware
  • Custom database alterations (Oracle, SQL Server)
  • Custom programming (C, Java, Visual Basic, ...)
  • Neutral file (Excel, Notepad)
  • XML Neutral file

What is the Problem?

Elswhere in this Primer we have written at length of the problems with point-to-point mapping:

  • The costs of setup and configuration
  • Repeating costs for setup and configuration
  • The cost of interpretation (information ambiguity)
  • Exposed complexity
  • The new global, distributed work execution model amplifies the problem
  • Aging Workforce

Business Processes

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Fig 2 - A New Approach

We need to focus on Information Modeling.

The sun will shine brighter, and God will smile on us.

[OK, so I need some help here... GPR]


  • Senior management has to agree to this
  • IT folks from the business partners need to get together


There are a number of issues associated with the need for interoperability, or with current attempts at interoperability. This section shows how ISO 15926 will help.

How ISO 15926 Will Make Your Life Easier


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