Expert systems tool lends helping hand to managers

An expert systems tool from Client-Server Connection Ltd. has kept a number of federal
project managers from being blindsided.


“If there is some aspect of hardware or software that might not have crossed your
mind, it is in the tool,” said Pam Willard, operations manager for the Single Agency
Manager program (SAM) at Pentagon Information Technology Services. The Pentagon office is
one of 170 government sites that have purchased the CS/10,000 software.


New versions of CS/10,000 and its database extensions give expert assistance in
developing high-level architecture designs and documentation for data warehouse, Internet,
intranet, online transactional, object-oriented design and conventional client-server
systems.


The Rye, N.Y., software company focuses on the meat and potatoes of systems
development, said Marc Myers, the chief executive officer and one of the company’s
founders.


Expert system adviser functions in CS/10,000 1.2 map closely to the Software
Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model for disciplined software
development processes.


“I totally believe in the CMM,” Myers said.


CS/10,000 can help organizations improve their development processes whether they are
at the highest or the most basic CMM levels, he said.


The tool generates Microsoft Word templates for 30 document types.


They include database definition, object design, package evaluation and selection
documents; production rollout plans; project charters; system functional specifications;
and system test plans.


Organizations also can customize the expert systems tool by adding their own
knowledge-specific databases, Myers said.


Software engineers from his company worked with an Air Force medical support agency to
capture the standards and methodologies for infrastructure projects in a formal knowledge
base, he said.


Users can customize any number of processes with the tool’s methodology
configurator and then save the processes as reusable templates.


The configurator uses standard spreadsheet commands: cut, copy, paste, duplicate,
delete and add.


Government organizations that use enterprise or workgroup versions of the tool include
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Total Army Personnel
Command, Comptroller of the Currency and National Park Service.


SAM’s Willard said the tool and database of systems development knowledge have
served as a useful systems consultant. “Once you answer the technical and business
questions the tool asks you,” she said, it will list all the major steps of a project
and all the minor steps in between.


CS/10,000 includes the Microsoft Access database manager and works with Oracle7 Release
7.2 and later versions of the database management system.


Users can access CS/10,000 files from a thin client or management client running
Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 3.x or IBM OS/2 operating systems.


The company has updated the product database three times in the last two years, Myers
said. CS/10,000 can import files from or export files to Microsoft Project.


Government users of CS/10,000 pay license fees 15 percent lower than the retail price
of $3,000 to $4,495 per user. The older CS/8,000 lists for $2,000 to $2,495 depending on
number of licenses purchased.


Contact Client/Server Connection at 914-921-0800.  

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