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Easi – Product Development and Operations

Feedback from customers and marketing surveys indicate that our production function needs to possess 4 main characteristics: 1) quality, 2) ease of use, 3) customer support, and 4) competitive price. Quality management will occur in all phases of EASI’s development, production, and distribution. Our software industry contacts have been key in assisting EASI in identifying quality suppliers and production methods suitable for all phases of company growth. Our products provide the customer with an easy to understand, straightforward software system using illustrative graphics and animation. EASI’s customers insist on access to qualified technical support for their software products. Therefore, the company has developed a support strategy to meet this customer need. Finally, EASI’s customers want an economical product. Once again, our software industry contacts have put us in contact with the low-cost, high-quality suppliers of computer disks, CD-ROM, packaging, etc. Further, the sequenced introduction of our products allow each new product to build on the structure and organization of previous ones. In this way, development time and cost will decrease steadily as new products are introduced, as illustrated in the development schedule.

5.1 Product Development

EASI will continue to investigate and employ product development strategies that contribute to meeting customer requirements in a superior manner.

5.1.1 Development Tool Selection

After establishing customer requirements, the initial phase of product development centered on the selection of a software development tool. Our most important criteria for this tool was that it be flexible, powerful, and object-oriented. UL Solutions – 1950 must be easily portable between computing platforms. In addition, EASI’s development strategy includes using a tool that leverages the management teams’ significant development experience. Expert system shells allow for rapid, high-quality product development. Similarly, there are many advantages of object-oriented programming. This new philosophy of software development provides numerous benefits, including at least a 40% reduction in lines of code (lower cost), extensive reuse of modules, and increased developer productivity. After evaluating current market offerings, we selected KnowledgePro, an object-oriented expert system shell with hypertext and hypermedia capabilities allowing text and graphics to be accessed through a point-and-click mouse interface.

5.1.2 KnowledgePro

KnowledgePro contains several tools that leverage the developer’s productivity, including screen designers, code generators, and built-in debugging tools. In addition, KnowledgePro is object -oriented. In contrast to conventional programming, EASI’s software developers use a mouse and KnowledgePro’s graphical interface to assemble objects into the knowledge base, rather than typing in lines of code. This allows them to focus on the design of the program and the structuring of the knowledge rather than on the semantics of the programming language. This also allows for easy modification of the program as customer requirements, and compliance standards, change.

5.1.3 Development Strategy: Rapid Prototyping and Phased Development

Using KnowlegePro allows us to bring prototypes, or product models, to customers very quickly. The continual feedback process generated by prototyping is designed to keep us responsive to our customers and ensure that they are driving the design of the product. By phasing the delivery of system modules to the beta sites we ensure that each “building block” of our program is meeting customer requirements. The following diagram illustrates this concept:

5.1.4 Development Status

Potential customers are currently reviewing the alpha version of UL Solutions – 1950. This alpha version is a prototype containing the overall design for the product and a fully-functional section of the UL 1950 manual (Section 4 – Physical Requirements). EASI’s alpha sites are scheduled to complete these reviews by April 17, 1992. Customer feedback is currently being incorporated into UL Solutions – 1950 in the form of requested features and modifications. The product beta version is scheduled for release on June 1, 1992. Documentation for the product is occurring real-time and initial versions of the UL Solutions – 1950 Users Manual are included with the alpha and beta versions.

5.2 Operations

EASI is developing multiple products for the product safety industry. The development schedule and status is illustrated below for 1991 through 1993. UL Solutions – 1950 will require considerably more design effort than subsequent products. Once the product design is established, it is a relatively simple process to transfer this knowledge to the development of additional products.

Schedule Assumptions:

EASI’s first three products are based on nearly identical standards.

EASI is currently working with two software developers on initial product design and development.

Expert Application Systems, Inc.
Table of Contents Appendices
0. Executive Summary
1. The Company
2. The Market
3. Products
4. Marketing Plan
5. Product Development
6. Organization
7. Financial Plan
Market Survey
Letters of Support
Product Screen Samples
Product Price List
Endorsement from UL
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Board of Advisors
Financial Projections

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