Object Management Group

March 29, 2012

The Object Management Group (OMG) is an organization that oversees specifications and standards based upon an open standards framework. It can be described as an interoperability management group. It was started in 1989 to standardize objects in the new class of object oriented languages. It has since evolved to focus more on business process redesign and notation. OMG is a central repository for businesses to address their standardization needs. OMG is a democratic organization where each of its 800 member companies gets an equal vote no matter its size. Any member can submit and comment on industry specification proposals.

OMG’s first standard was for Common Object Request Broker (CORBA), it defined the interfaces (APIs) so applications could communicate over an agreed upon specification. This provided a consistent framework that allowed interoperability between vendor specific implementations.

During the mid 90’s there were six major design notations for laying out object oriented software. The Rational Corporation employed a few of the authors of these notations, they combined these notations into the Unified Method. OMG accepted this primary standard and called it Unified Modeling Language (UML), it is now OMG’s most-used specification. UML is used to design software applications, you can think of it as the blueprint that all software and infrastructure construction is based on. It’s a “blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands. “

OMG oversees a specification called Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). This aptly named graphical specification is used for business process modeling; its focus is to bridge the gap between business process design and implementation. BPMN is a common language that application stakeholders can use to understand the system using the same notations. From analyst who focus on the processes, to developers who implement the solution, to business managers who monitor the system.

There’s a new standard OMG is working on called Semantic Information Modeling for Federation (SIMF). SIMF is used to define what words and concepts mean. There is a huge problem about what different people think different words and concepts mean. This is a way for companies and industries to have an agreed upon definition. This concept intrigues me; I have experienced this problem many times in my career. I’ve been in situations before where I’m using the same language and same words as those around me but we’re still not speaking about the same language. Even subtle differences in what a word means can have profound implications when talking about complex systems.

Model Driven Architecture (MDA) is a standard that separates business and application logic from the underlying platform. The idea is basically to abstract business processes to a point where implementation is platform independent and vendor neutral. MDA was created to addresses the complete life cycle design using UML and MetaObject Facility (MOF). Some wish for MDA’s ultimate goal to be for a business analyst to build a MDA model and have the implementation of that model be completely automated. To call this a pipe dream is an understatement. There’s a reason there are many, many vendor solutions, each solution has its strengths and weaknesses that have to be taken into account. Hitting an “Easy Button” to create an end to end solution is absurd. The institutional knowledge an organization’s employees have cannot be automated. Take the concept of baking a cake, the recipe designer (analyst) can put in a process for getting ingredients, assembly and baking. But only a baker (implementation expert) knows if some ingredients should never be mixed together, or in what order. How would a recipe designer take into account the altitude of the oven or the color of a pan or any other site specific variable that would affect the temperature a cake should be baked? How would you adjust for taste, texture and presentation? Without this knowledge how would you troubleshoot a burnt chocolaty mess?

Resources:

http://www.omg.org/watson-podcast/index.htm

http://www.omg.org/mda/faq_mda.htm

http://www.mitchellsoftwareengineering.com/IntroToUML.pdf

http://blog.omg.org/

Buck Huffman

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3 Responses to “Object Management Group”

  1. Robert Hanson said

    Good Stuff, Buck–you made it easy to follow and explained it well

  2. David George said

    I agree with Robert. I especially love the cake analogy. Very true indeed. Good job Buck.

  3. Tamara Cunningham Johnson said

    It’s amazing how all of these topics seem to engage and compare with one another. My topic was BPMN, and it shows how it can be used with OMG. Here we have a flowchart, and now we have a group that oversees and interprets the flowcharts and framework of this model. This was an awesome read and very informative.

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