Product Line Hall of Fame

Salion's Product Line of Revenue Acquisition Management Systems

In 2001, Salion was a startup preparing for its initial product launch. Even before completing its first product or getting its first customer, Salion knew it would have to solve the software product line problem – how to efficiently engineer a collection of nearly identical variations of their core product. The core product in this case was an enterprise software system to help optimize front-end processes for companies whose revenue stream starts by receiving and bidding on requests for quotes (RFQs).

Most of the product line methodologies being discussed at the time were proactive, requiring experience in a stable and well defined application domain. However, Salion expected some turbulence in their domain since they were inventing a new product in a new market and would be integrating the product into a wide variety of unknown customer settings.

At about the same time, BigLever Software was promoting the agile notion of reactive software product line engineering as well as lightweight and incremental adoption strategies using commercial off-the-shelf product line engineering and variation management technology. Salion decided to adopt this approach and in hindsight, this decision was a central part of their success in bringing their product line to market.

The unmodified architecture, design, and source modules from Salion's initial baseline product served as the core assets for the product line. By utilizing the existing baseline product for core assets and off-the-shelf technology for software product line engineering and variation management, Salion made the transition to a reactive software product line approach in only 2 person-months of effort, which is two orders-of-magnitude less than previously reported efforts with proactive software product line transition efforts. They have subsequently deployed 16 commercial products in their product line, each with an average 95% software reuse and 90% reduction in engineering effort compared to the initial baseline product.

By taking a reactive software product line approach and using off-the-shelf product line engineering technology, Salion has been able to reap the benefits of software product lines while remaining agile in the face of turbulence in their application domain.

References

Salion, Inc.: A Software Product Line Case Study
Paul Clements & Linda Northrop

Product Line Agility in the Face of Turbulence - The Salion Success Story
R. Buhrdorf & D. Churchett

Eliciting Abstractions from a Software Product Line
C. Krueger & D. Churchett

Salion's Experience with a Reactive Software Product Line Approach
R. Buhrdorf, D. Churchett, & C. Krueger

 

About This Product Line

Salion's Product Line of Revenue Acquisition Management Systems was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Third Software Product Line Conference.

Cited improvements to Salion's Revenue Acquisition Management Systems include time to market and scalability of product portfolios.

Software Engineering Institute link to the Software Engineering Institute link to Carnegie Mellon University