IDS Courts Business Analysts

UML designer links business, development.

IDS Scheer Inc. is readying a new BPM tool that the company hopes will extend the appeal of its software beyond application developers to business analysts.

Aris UML Designer, a new component in Release 6.2.1 of the companys Aris business process modeling platform due next week, bridges the technology gap between business process design and object-oriented software development by providing a tool that links Unified Modeling Language models with business process models.

UML helps users specify and model almost any type of software. There are 12 standard UML diagram types divided into three categories; some diagram types represent different aspects of dynamic behavior, and others represent ways to organize and manage application modules.

The idea behind Aris UML Designer is to address the challenges companies face with transforming their business process models to actionable models, or rather, transferring process logic into actual software without losing information. Working in tandem with IDS Scheers Aris process modeling tool set, Designer looks to solve this problem by providing the capability to link UML and process models. At the same time, UML Designer provides traceability from process requirements to software development, said officials at IDS Scheer, in Berwyn, Pa.

UML Designer supports the eight UML techniques defined by the Object Management Groups standard for UML 2.0, and models created in Designer can be translated for use in object-oriented design and code generation CASE tools.

Designers user interface provides a new representation of diagram types that is consistent with UML, as well as new dialog-oriented modeling techniques. These techniques offer context-sensitive dialogs for editing properties and a better overall consistency, officials said.

An online consistency check provides a display of current syntactic and structural modeling errors and the ability for users to drill down to the spot in the application where the error can be fixed.

Because Designer is a Web-based tool, project teams can work on a single, central repository.

A developer at a large, East Coast financial services company that uses Aris BPM said he is considering using UML Designer to help align the companys business goals and IT architecture.

"By having the Designer in the same framework where you have other aspects of the framework—data, business, architecture—its very, very advantageous," said the developer, who asked that neither he nor his company be named. "Otherwise [the UML diagrams] become just disconnected artifacts."