A SHORT HISTORY
CSA was originally formed in 1980 by a team of leading systems consultants each with more than 20 years of wide ranging experience in banking, insurance, communications, aerospace and military systems. During the 1980s CSA built up an extensive European business with offices in the UK, Brussels, Amsterdam and Zurich, selling high value added consultancy services to major organisations in engineering, commerce and government.
After 10 years of steady growth and having achieved annual revenues in excess of £2M, the company was bought by a group of Belgian investors who de-merged the business into two parts. The parent part, concentrating on marketing activities, remained headquartered in Brussels and was renamed Information System Architects (ISA) whilst the consultancy part, trading as CSA in the UK, concentrated on Defence work and product oriented R&D work. The focus on product development resulted in the creation of the expert toolset G-MARC that was then, and still is, some 10 years ahead of any comparable commercially available product.
The R&D work was initially sponsored by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), with the participation of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and two University Colleges. With an initial spend of approximately £1M this R&D work led to the development and release of the first prototype version of G-MARC – now the company’s flagship Requirements Engineering capability - during the early 1990s.
Since its first release, G-MARC has been used by CSA in a large variety of application areas ranging from world-wide communications systems, through customer Billing systems to Air Traffic Control systems and, in particular, on a number of projects of national importance. In the Defence sector, G-MARC has come to be recognised as best-in-class and has been recommended for use by all project managers to ensure that their projects commence with the best possible specification of requirements - thus profoundly reducing project risk.
Although it has been used to develop specifications for many, high performance, engineering projects, G-MARC can be used for the specification of requirements for any kind of project. As an example of the application of G-MARC to a non-engineering type project, CSA was retained to conduct the re-engineering of the UK Naval Manning Agency's manpower policy rules. These rules determine the anticipated demand for Naval Personnel, and the manner in which they are allocated to posts, based on the number of vessels afloat. The work culminated in the production of a dynamic model, of the manning system rule-set, which enables the behaviour and cost of the manning process to be observed in response to a variety of changes in demand with different policies.
In the early part of 2002 G-MARC was chosen by the Metropolitan Police Service to engineer the requirement specification for their new generation C3I system intended to be employed to support the activities of the London police. Also during 2002 CSA conducted an audit of the User Requirements for the NATO Submarine Rescue System for which tenders were then requested from a number of European countries. At the same time CSA became involved in the development of the specification for a Shared Working Environment for all participants in the development of the Future Offensive Air System for the MoD (see also below).
Early in 2003, CSA started work on the development of the body of user requirements for the Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) project for the MoD. This was the largest aerospace project ever undertaken by the MoD and constituted a major development in UK military capability. The work was initially divided into the G-MARC standard five phases of Requirements Engineering plus an additional, Monte Carlo probability modelling, exercise to establish the most stressful operational scenarios. All work was completed to the entire and unreserved satisfaction of the FOAS Requirements Manager.
Also during 2003, CSA completed the first phase of a project devoted to the reverse engineering of a User Requirement Document from a Cardinal Points Specification that was originally used as the basis for development work conducted for the MoD’s ASTOR (Airborne Stand Off Radar) system. CSA’s G-MARC methodology is ideally suited to this kind of work because of the rigorous and meticulous manner in which it is able to identify gaps and inconsistencies in any body of knowledge. The second phase of this work was subsequently awarded to CSA and was completed on time and to budget. At the same time CSA completed a contract for the Warship Support Agency devoted to the development of the specification of a new international standard for information interchange – AP233.
In recognition of its continuing devotion to the resolution of the problems associated with improving the quality of requirement specifications for all manner of projects, CSA received a Highly Commended award for Excellence in Public Procurement at the UK government’s prestigious Best Small Supplier Innovation Award ceremony, held in London at the Institute of Civil Engineers on 06-06-06.
Since its first release G-MARC has been the subject of a non-stop CSA led development program. Its capability now includes automatic natural language semantic analysis facilities, behavioural modelling, knowledge acquisition, automated requirements elicitation, information cleansing and structuring and powerful documentation facilities. All this capability has been developed with the sole aim of improving the quality of, and reducing the risk associated with, requirements specifications.
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