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sukuinage

Isa-95 Database Model

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I know that there are a few techies on the forum and I'd appreciate a bit of help.

I'm an engineer and have the responsibility for overseeing some product development as I have a good knowledge of the functional requirements; unfortunately I'm not a software expert (although I generally know enough to know when someone is bullsh****ng me). Part of the requirements is the implementation of a database in accordance with the ISA-95 database model. The development is being done through a software house who are complaining, amongst other things, about this requirement. They are citing performance and complexity but my BS indicator suggests that they just don't know what they are doing. The requirement comes from customer specifications.

I would really appreciate some information about the advantages of the model and real world performance so that I have some ammunition to counter the arguments.

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I know that there are a few techies on the forum and I'd appreciate a bit of help.

I'm an engineer and have the responsibility for overseeing some product development as I have a good knowledge of the functional requirements; unfortunately I'm not a software expert (although I generally know enough to know when someone is bullsh****ng me). Part of the requirements is the implementation of a database in accordance with the ISA-95 database model. The development is being done through a software house who are complaining, amongst other things, about this requirement. They are citing performance and complexity but my BS indicator suggests that they just don't know what they are doing. The requirement comes from customer specifications.

I would really appreciate some information about the advantages of the model and real world performance so that I have some ammunition to counter the arguments.

It's not something I've encountered before and seems rather specialised.

I've had a quick read, ISA-95 appears to be a formal standard for an interface - 'between enterprise and control systems' as opposed to a database as such.

All the relevant stuff appears to be at www.isa.org and requires subscription/purchase to read further. Example:

https://www.isa.org/store/products/product-detail/?productId=116636

What I'm not seeing, is what that has to do with database schemas as such. Indeed in software development the point of defining formal interfaces is to have a 'black box' approach, which is to say that each bit of the system does not know or care how another part of the system does what it does.

So I can't really confirm or deny; if this standard is well established in that particular realm then there may well be reasons for implementing it.

What I would say is that this is not something you'd generally determine "on the project", for instance if you're a software house called upon to deliver certain functional requirements, and delivering those absolutely requires a particular environment is present, and it doesn't exist, then that would have a potentially dramatic effect on price and timescales.

Sorry this is all vague, I hope someone else has first hand knowledge.

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Thanks for the reply, even if it's a bit vague :) . The implementation in this area is correct; it's in the MES layer between the customer's enterprise system and our control system. My problem is that I don't have the expertise to answer the software house's specific problems other than to tell them that it's their job and please get on with it! I'd like to kick them specifically rather than generally! :)

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Does said software house specialise in this sort of application?

I'm reminded of the time a client wanted to be able to print barcodes.

It seemed like such a minor part of the project at first glance. "How hard can it be?"

Then I discovered the arcane interface.

I got it working. But it took more time than I had thought it might, or possibly could, take.

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Does said software house specialise in this sort of application?

I'm reminded of the time a client wanted to be able to print barcodes.

It seemed like such a minor part of the project at first glance. "How hard can it be?"

Then I discovered the arcane interface.

I got it working. But it took more time than I had thought it might, or possibly could, take.

Problem is that they don't. Trouble is that I've only got involved 9 months down the line when it was clear that our project manager doesn't have a clue. They were approved by my boss as well so I've got a bit of a fine line to tread (I just love internal politics).

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If it's a sort of workflow system with many component parts, and you outsource a particular requirement - there still needs to be a "project manager" with ultimate responsibility for making sure that 1. It is possible to "break off" that particular piece and have it done in isolation (the proverbial "black box") and 2. Making sure that it all works together.

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The supplier does not want to do it. May have some sound reasoning for it, may be a watse of time for them. Where did theat spec/requirement come from, is it standard industry practive for your sector, other reason ?

Think you need to find if your company or clients of your company need compliance with your this model. If reality is not and you just need a verified and working system aginst other acceptabel criteria then maybe a waiver on that requirement and reassertion that software balls will be nailed to the wall and final payments will not be made if they don't deliver a working system according to the relaxed criteria.

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The supplier does not want to do it. May have some sound reasoning for it, may be a watse of time for them. Where did theat spec/requirement come from, is it standard industry practive for your sector, other reason ?

Think you need to find if your company or clients of your company need compliance with your this model. If reality is not and you just need a verified and working system aginst other acceptabel criteria then maybe a waiver on that requirement and reassertion that software balls will be nailed to the wall and final payments will not be made if they don't deliver a working system according to the relaxed criteria.

This is becoming an industry standard in the sector, and the requirement is based on our customers' requirements.

I don't follow your reasoning for the supplier. This was a specified requirement and they are paid at hourly rate not at fixed price. I think that the problem is that they have very little idea what they are doing in this instance and are used to customers allowing them to just deliver what they have done before.

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I've been a software developer for 25 years, and I haven't heard of ISA-95 before, so I guess it's not used in the areas I've worked in.

From brief scan of the URLs, it resembles various standards / methodologies / frameworks I've come across, which taken in isolation are sensible, but which can seriously increase costs if you've never come across them before and are required by the customer to be fully compliant.

If your software house favours currently fashionable "Agile" approaches, then something like ISA-95 may be a bit of culture shock for them.

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This is becoming an industry standard in the sector, and the requirement is based on our customers' requirements.

I don't follow your reasoning for the supplier. This was a specified requirement and they are paid at hourly rate not at fixed price. I think that the problem is that they have very little idea what they are doing in this instance and are used to customers allowing them to just deliver what they have done before.

OK so no room for taking pragmatic approach if a requirement passed onto you.

My reasoning, pragmatic approach based on real requirements - so often blown out of all proportion like skills requirements for jobs, It is possible they that just don't want to charge you a ton of hours for something that they know will not add any material improvement to the job they deliver as well as being outside their normal scope of delivery. Who inside your company would be able to measure whether they actually fulfilled those ISA-95 requirements? .

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