Rational to Wade Into Data Modeling Arena

SAN MATEO (03/17/2000) - Rational Software Corp. this week will unveil its plans to enter the data modeling market, extending its development tool product portfolio to touch almost every aspect of and participant in the development process.

Due in May with the next release of Rational's entire product line, Rational Rose Data Modeler is a UML (Unified Modeling Language)-based data modeling tool aimed at allowing business analysts, developers, and data modelers to work together with a common tool when building enterprise applications.

According to Melinda Ballou, a senior research analyst at the Meta Group, in Westborough, Mass., that capability could greatly enhance the speed and quality of enterprise application development.

"Often there is a disconnect between the business side of the house and those going off and building applications, and this provides a link between those two functions in the organization, which is good," Ballou said.

However, there are always kinks to work out in such a new product, and users may have to be patient with the technology, Ballou said. What they will find, though, Ballou added, they will probably like.

"To have this type of UML support in a modeling tool coordinated across the Rational tools is going to be of real interest to people who have already bought into the Rational suite of products," Ballou said.

One customer who has had a chance to test out the new tool, Steven Harrison, senior vice president and principal systems engineer at Bank of America, in Concord, Calif., said his initial efforts have gone quite smoothly.

"It seems to be a fairly solid tool, and more importantly, it seems to be fairly integrated with Rose, which is really nice," Harrison said.

That integration, Harrison said, has already led to faster and better modeling, even though Harrison has yet to roll out the beta version to users at Bank of America. This is largely due to the fact that Harrison is probably the only one in his group who understands data modeling, he said, and therefore has not had a chance to experience the advances in collaboration that Rational is touting with the release of Rational Rose Data Modeler.

Harrison said that being able to use the modeling tool to drive collaboration across teams would probably be very attractive to most users.

"In general, if we rolled this tool out I'm sure there would be a lot of collaborative work," Harrison said.

Rational Software Corp., in Lexington, Mass., can be reached at www.rational.com.

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