Saturday, October 16, 2021

History of CASEwise Corporate Modeler

“But what I do have are very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.” - Liam Neeson, "Taken"

A question I am often asked is, “Do you miss work?” My answer is “I miss having my expertise used.”

Normally when people ask me what I used to do for a living I do NOT reply “I was mainly involved in systems development methodologies“. It is too hard to try and explain about Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and project management frameworks (PRINCE2, DSDM, etc) and Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools.

Instead I would normally say, “I worked in IT, but more on the project management side. Or sometimes “My clients were mainly the IT departments of large companies who wanted to do a better job of developing systems “.

The core pillars my discipline were the trilogy of methods, tools and techniques. Every area of endeavour had its own software packages to support what they do and IT is no different hence CASE tools.

This one product, CASEwise Corporate Modeler, has been involved through a large part of my professional career providing me with gainful employment both on the payroll and as a freelancer. Prompted by a contact from a ex-colleague and the emergence of a historic document I feel compelled to tell the full story of this money earner.

The other parts of the trilogy - methods (Inforem method, CSC Catalyst, Novartis Crystal) and techniques (data modelling and process dynamics modelling) - probably deserve their own posts but here is not the place.

Prequel - pre 1989.

1982: Inforem founded by Ali Arthur, Sohail Amer and Mojtaba Ghassamian

1985: TAF (The Analysts Friend) This product supported recording entities, attributes and a simple functional / process hierarchy. Written in Pascal by some chap who was even older than us. He had grey hair! George Keeling thinks he was called Tim but has forgotten his surname. It had a text based interface. Database underlying it not known.

1986: Mark joins Inforem.

1988: PAGE (professional application generation environment). TAF was rewritten to run on Datafit’s DP4 database with a GEM front end.

1989: PAGEfit. Athar Sharif and Nalin Goonewardene conceive the idea of PAGEFit. An interface to generate a DP4 database schema from the entity relationship diagram. You could then build application screens using QAB (Quick Application Builder) using the generated database.

1989: Inforem start work on a new version of CASEwise that supports version control and uses the fledgling Windows 1.0. The project starts to overrun both timescales and budget.

1990: CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) go on a global spending spree acquiring a number of companies around the world. It acquires Inforem and divests itself of CASEwise:

  • Inforem employees become CSC employees in early 1990.
  • George Keeling leaves CSC to set up CASEwise
  • CSC transfers CASEwise IPR to George
  • George abandons the ambitious spec for the product and writes a simpler, better version
  • Mark McLellan becomes product manager ably supported by Steve Jarvis, Simon Curtis, and a woman whose name I cannot remember.
  • George continued to refine and improve the product over the following years
  • After Casewise was started, John Christian, who had worked at Inforem and was recommended by Bob Carlsen, was a vital programmer because he understood Windows and GEM, which George didn't. His work was vital for the transition from GEM to Windows.
1992: CASEwise has grown sufficiently to employ a help desk person. Mark hands over support and breathes a sigh of relief. He continues with CSC for another eight years.

Official History (1989-2000)


The history of the CASEwise Corporate Modeler

The CASEwise Corporate Modeler was originally developed by the English consulting and methods company Inforem Plc in the middle 1980's.  The tool was known originally call "PAGE", then "PAGEFIT".  Inforem Plc was acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) between 1989 and 1990.  They sold the rights to the tool to George Keeling, the founder and Chief Executive of CASEwise.

During the first year CASEwise continued to support existing customers until it's first product I-CASEware was launched as version 2.  This release, and versions 2.1 and 2.2 employed the Digital Research GEM graphics environment and employed the Datafit DP4 relational database.  Version 2.3 was offered in both  GEM and Microsoft Windows.

The name CASEwise as first used with version 3 in 1992 when the product became the CASEwise Modeler.  Direct access to the integrated repository was first offered in 1994 with version 4 along with simulation support for Dynamics diagrams and Microsoft Word reporting tools.  Version 4.1 was launched in 1995 with additional functionality.

CASEwise revised the model database repository structure when version 5 was released in 1996 providing support for controlling diagram appearance and style.  In 1997 CASEwise launched version 6 as the CASEwise Corporate Modeler 97 and CASEwise Corporate Modeler 98 was launched in 1998 with an internal version of 6.1.  Corporate Modeler 99 was made commercially available in quarter 2 of 1999.

The background of CASEwise

CASEwise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of CASEwise Systems Limited.  CASEwise Limited performs the sales, marketing, support and services function for none American business.  CASEwise Systems Limited performs the research and development function of CASEwise products.

CASEwise began trading as "CASEware Limited" during 1989/1990 after purchasing the intellectual property and source code from Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) following its acquisition of the English consulting and methods company Inforem Plc during 1989/1990.  CASEware became CASEwise Systems Limited a couple of years later when it was discovered that CASEware was being used by other legitimate businesses in some national markets, including the US.

In 1993, CASEwise opened a sales, support and service subsidiary in the US, located in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Boston office is now supported by satellite offices spread across the US.

CASEwise Limited, and CASEwise Systems Limited, are British companies located at and trading from offices in Swiss Cottage, London.

CASEwise vision on describing and analysing of processes

The CASEwise mission statement clearly presents its vision for Process:

"CASEwise believes that understanding business processes lies at the heart of effective management. For this reason we develop tools for large and mid-sized enterprises to model business processes and use the resulting intelligence to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Success will happen for CASEwise because we believe in:

    • Striving for exceptional quality in product and service;
    • Working very closely with customers to meet their needs;
    • Respecting our colleagues with a view to sharing increased wealth, job security, self esteem and quality of work-life.

We believe this will result in increased shareholder value."

CASEwise, in 1990, was the first tool provider to offer support for Process Dynamics and has gained an enviable knowledge of that technique.  Process Dynamics is a Business Process Modelling technique and notation originally used decades ago by Organisation and Methods Analysts that predates Computers.  Testimony to this knowledge is CASEwise support for simulation and the support CASEwise provides its customers in learning to apply Process Dynamics to support Business Concept Modelling, Business System Design (Process Mapping) and Clerical Procedure (Work Instruction) production.

Scope and Market of CASEwise Corporate Modeler

The CASEwise Corporate Modeler is a Business Modelling tool supporting the study of Process, Organisation, Location, Data, Application and Technology.  The tool has a high bias towards Process and Data with mapping to the other four domains of study.

CASEwise has a philosophy of tool co-existence and consciously remains in the Business Modelling domain, preferring to link to best of breed lower CASE, IT Systems Design and Construction, tools.  This philosophy places the CASEwise Corporate Modeler 98 in a dominant position in the Business Modelling marketplace attracting business from consulting organisations, large organisations and government bodies world-wide.

CASEwise is committed to delivering Business Modelling related tools to support its customers.  To this end new and improved features are as a direct result of what our customers have asked us to do.  Important features and important customers receive a high priority within CASEwise often with rapid deployment.

The Generic Diagrammer, new in Corporate Modeler 98, was the CASEwise response to customers who wished to draw diagrams using their own notation and paradigm.  All the major modelling objects can be depicted using individual symbols.  This combines the integration of a repository with the flexibility offered by graphics tools.  The full impact of the Generic Diagrammer will be realised with the Corporate Modeler 2000 feature of user defined object types to provide complete user diagramming flexibility.

A key objective for CASEwise in the near future is to acquire the "Designed for Windows" logo accreditation from Microsoft Corporation. CASEwise plans two major version releases of the Corporate Modeler in the next two years: Corporate Modeler 99, with an internal version 6.2; and Corporate Modeler 2000, with an internal version 7.0.  Release of new features may occur outside of these versions. The important feature enhancements are described below:

Corporate Modeler 99

  • A Shape Palette and Object Tree for easier diagramming.
  • Combine Corporate Publisher and Corporate Publisher HTML into a single HTML offering complete customisation and report publication flexibility.
  • Improved links to other tools.
  • Greater support for ERP system reference modelling, e.g. SAP.

Corporate Modeler 2000

  • Revised repository model database structure.
  • Complete support for OLE and OLE Automation.
  • Complete user definition of Menus, Dialog text, Objects, Associations and Properties.  The allows for methods and language customisation from a single application.
  • New product paradigm with Repository Explorer offering Object outlining with a Tree control on the left and customisable workspace on the right.  Time-scales permitting the Repository Explorer and Diagram drawing space will be supported by a single workspace.

<end quote>

Postscript 1999-present.

1999: Mark takes voluntary redundancy from CSC and begins a new life as a freelance contractor. He names the company M&M Enterprises after Milo Minderbinder in Catch 22. His first two contracts are with Novartis Pharmaceuticals and then SwissRe - both keen methodology and CASEwise users. Other work includes three months acting as CASEwise's training department, installing the software on clients' sites and then training their staff.

Later release versions after CM2000 are as follows (as best we can recall):

  • 2002: CM8e (2002)
  • 2004-2005: CM9.0 - 9.3
  • 2004-2006: CM10.0 - 10.2
  • 2006-2007: CM10.3 - 10.3e, the first Oracle/SQL Server only release.
  • 2008: CM2008
  • 2009: CM2009
  • 2011: CM2011
  • ... and more

Significant components worthy of mention are:

  • Corporate Publisher: generates reports from the repository in Word, HTML and Help file format
  • Automodeler: imports and exports repository data in a variety of formats
  • ITAA: A web portal to published models that required no licensing for web site users.
  • Evolve: A web portal giving direct, live, access to models or users.  In recent years Corporate Modeler was rebranded as Evolve - causing much confusion as to what was Evolve!

The company CASEwise undergoes a number of transformations:

  • 2011: CASEwise Asia Pacific Pty Ltd in Australia was dissolved.
  • 2016: erwin acquire CASEwise including assimilating the US office and continue to develop the product. Corporate Modeler now rebadged as Evolve. CASEwise, the UK company, no longer exists.
  • 2020: erwin acquired by Quest software.
  • 2021: CASEwise South Africa Pty still exists and is a Quest / Erwin partner.

2015: Mark retires and says goodbye to the world of work.

Here endeth the nostalgia-fest. I am grateful to all those who contributed to the methodology ecosystem that created Corporate Modeller and kept me off the streets for many years!

1 comment:

George said...

Happy birthday Casewise, you would be 32 today, if you had lived.