SoftScience Group, Inc.

Software Mass Customization

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Software Mass Customization

Using a common 'naturalized' data layer

By David Neal
President, SoftScience Group, Inc.

SoftScience Group, Inc. (SSG) has pioneered the concept of "software mass customization", whereby modern software engineering principles are employed to produce specialized configurations of our products that address the unique needs of individual clients.

At the core of each family of software applications is a common data environment (data layer) which represents an integrated database environment housing all the data that an entire enterprise generates or uses. Information that crosses the enterprise's external data boundary is captured in it's naturalized form, preserving all its discernable associations with other data, even if those additional relationships are not currently needed for the processes currently being modeled in software.

Individual applications, modeled around specific job or departmental functions within the organization, have access to and operate on those portions of the data layer of the enterprise that are appropriate for accomplishing the function of the application. By capturing and storing non-used, but naturally existing, data relationships (entity associations) at the time the enterprise data is generated, the enterprise's declarative knowledge base is preserved for future use or reuse.

Software Mass Customization

By focusing first on the natural structure of declarative knowledge (that most people think of as data), applications that use that data in slightly different variations of processes can be easily built from reusable subsets of the declarative knowledge asset of an enterprise. Different flavors of a software application can be produced that address a specific business need. This type of software mass customization can allow a business to distinguish itself in the market and fill new niches.

(Credit ‐ illustration by SoftScience Group, Inc.)

For example, the softOperations Manager ™ application provides access to the data that an operations manager for a small business enterprise might need including purchase transactions, bank account info, project management info, project accounting, client proposals, customer billing, employee time records, supplier relationship data (products, pricing, credit account info, etc.), and a variety of tools which can be used to operate on this data subset of the company's enterprise data layer.

By housing all the data of the enterprise in a common, properly designed integrated database environment, the data is captured one time, validated, and is available for use by the multiple functions within the organization that need to use the data. The organization's data is accessible by all who need it without having to maintain multiple copies of the same information in different application systems that are used to perform the different functions. In addition, a highly specialized product can quickly be produced by customizing software components for different departments within an enterprise while retaining a common application core and database structure for all departments.

Similarly, specialized products can be developed for different clients using the common application core and data layer schema of our product lines. Custom software at off the shelf prices really is possible. For more information on SSG's Information Technology consulting services, please visit the Software Engineering Services section of our web site.

In addition, SoftScience Group, Inc. has developed state-of-the-art software engineering and content management applications targeted for use by Information Technology departments that support specific industry-related user departments. SSG also use these systems internally to design, produce, administer, and support our software products and manage our consulting projects. These software engineering products include softSystems Analyst ™ and softResource Manager ™ operating on the softInformation Enterprise ™ environment.