The “INCOSE International Symposium 2018” in Washington D.C. has been the perfect event to present our approach to effective tool interoperability in systems engineering. As to the overwelming feedback on delivering a “world record in MBSE tool integration” at the event, I would like to share a post-session recording of my talk on tool integration and tool interoperabiliy highlightning the most important points.

Motivation: As MBSE gains tracktion, interoperability of modeling tools has never been more relevant to engineering success than today. REST and OSLC have grown to powerful alternatives to exchange standards, synchronization and holding information massively redundant in multiple formats.

Approach: Leveraging these technologies, my team has built a platform “smartfacts” focussing on two core ideas:

  1. Bring any model into ONE easy-to-use web based environment. Consuming models should be as easy as using Google. Everybody should go on working with his tool of choice. But when it comes to sharing information and collaborating with a larger group of people we must be able to provide easy web based access based on a strict governance model, we need effective team collaboration and we want to do tool independet link management and analysis. It should not play a role whether to authoring tool is MagicDraw, Enterprise Architect, Integrity Modeler, Innovator, Rhapsody, Matlab Simulink or Visio – we want ONE consitent useability concept for collaborating in the context of all these engineering models.
  2. Bring ANY model-based content into ANY work environment. Having normalized all this content we use OSLC and REST to bring any model into any work environment. This can be Jira, Confluence or Stackfield. This means you can reference any diagram or artifact from within any Jira text field or you can build bidirectional links from a Jira issue to any artifacts that is provided via OSLC. Of course IBM Jazz with its applications DOORS NG, RQM, RTC, etc. is ideal for managing linked information e.g. between Jazz, Jira and any number of modeling tools.

The industry pushes hard on tool vendors to finally make XMI a standard that can be used effectively for model exchange. I have serious doubts that we will see a working exchange standard within the next years. And having worked for years now on a concept that integrates information “as is” instead of transforming information – which always means having to accept to lose part of the information – I am more than cponvinced that this is the way to go: Don’t synchronize – reference!