A conversation about S1000D

One of the conversations that almost all Pentecom employees have around here is about how each one of us got involved in S1000D. Because of our combined S1000D backgrounds, we are a company of vast and varied S1000D experiences and we are able to use those experiences to help you and your company succeed in whatever S1000D task you have. I thought I would share with our readers how several of our employees started in S1000D. In order to do that, I sent out a questionnaire asking about their experience and what they see as the future of S1000D. Here are the questions and their answers:


How did you get involved with S1000D?

Our employees learned about S1000D through previous employers. Some were working for the Air Force, some were working for government contractors, and some were in the military. Regardless of how long they have been working with S1000D, each of them brings their own unique S1000D knowledge and experience to work for our customers.


Give an elevator pitch for S1000D

When asked this question the responses were similar, but were also as varied as our employees’ backgrounds. S1000D is an international specification for the production, sustainment, delivery, and presentation of technical data for the operation and maintenance of any piece of equipment from simple to complex. It is based on a principal of managing small reusable pieces of self-identifying data, which contain robust metadata which allows each module to be managed uniquely. These data modules are combined to provide the end user with the right data at the right time and allow the most common data to be interchanged in the technical publications realm. It isn’t limited to any specific data type. S1000D has promoted a method of tailoring that allows an industry or a military entity to provide specific rules that must be followed for the data used in that application. As a technical documentation standard, S1000D helps with constancy across the entire product development system, from supplier to aircraft and back.


What are some of the S1000D-related services that Pentecom provides?

Pentecom provides conversion services from any existing format (including proprietary formats) to industry standards based on XML, SGML, or any desired target issue of S1000D. Our long history of involvement in the S1000D community provides insight into the specification that go far beyond the words in the spec. We can assist organizations and projects with the development of business rules and provide guidance during the BR development. We also provide:

  • data auditing services to ensure data compliance with BRs at all applicable levels,
  • requirements analysis,
  • functionality matrix generation facilitation,
  • information set creation,
  • data module list development,
  • BREX development, and
  • training to help companies understand and use S1000D.


On which S1000D committees does Pentecom serve?

Our employees serve on various S1000D committees and this service keeps us on the forefront of upcoming changes and helps shape the standards to best suit industry problems and issues that we encounter with our customers. One of our employees is an appointed S1000D representative to the Aerospace Industries Association of America/Aeropace and Defence Association of Europe Integrated Logistic Support (AIA/ASD ILS) Council Data Modeling and Exchange Working Group which is defining the underlying data structures for S1000D through S6000T. This provides Pentecom with insight into the future direction of provisioning, logistic support analysis, maintenance planning, field feedback, and training data. We are also members of the following S1000D committees and working groups:

  • Electronic Publications Working Group (EPWG) – focuses on the technical aspects of the S1000D: the schemas, the default BREX (Business Rules Exchange). The EPWG also supports the S1000D Steering Committee in making good decisions by analyzing technical change requests and makes recommendations and propose changes where errors or areas of improvement are recognized.
  • Business Rules Working Group (BRWG) – focuses on issues associated with business rules documentation in S1000D.
  • Digital Security Working Group (DSWG) – focuses on providing a forum to address the application of digital data security technologies and standards to S1000D. The DSWG establishes best practices and conventions for the application of digital security and serves as a resource to the other working groups as needed.
  • United States S1000D Management Group (USSMG) – focuses on evaluating U.S.-generated change recommendations before submittal to the S1000D Steering Committee along with evaluating the impact of recommended changes received by the Steering Committee. This working group is sanctioned jointly by DOD Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Services IETM Technology Working Group, and the AIA Product Support Committee Technical Publications Activity.
  • Functionality Matrix/Look and Feel Working Group (FM/LFWG) – focuses on sustainment of the S1000D presentation and functionality matrix and functionality definitions chapters.
  • S1000D Modularization Task Team (SMTT) – focuses on the potential to reorganize S1000D into a more modular specification.


What is the one regret about S1000D that you have?

In talking to our S1000D-involved employees, all expressed that they regretted the following things:

  • More U.S. support and funding aren’t available.
  • While the individual U.S. Services have been very supportive of S1000D, it would have been an easier path if the DOD had played a more active role in the adoption phase in the U.S.
  • Not having the civil aviation portion of our industry join S1000D development sooner. It’s taken quite a bit of work and years of commitment to finally realize all the needs for civil requirements.


What is one area that you would like to see improved?

Our employees agreed that they would like to see improvement that would result in a more agile and responsive approach to specification changes. One also mentioned that it would be great if the Tier 2 and 3 suppliers would adopt the standard. Right now S1000D is adopted by original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, but to truly test interoperability in the entire supply ecosystem, these other suppliers on board.

Also mentioned was that while the common information repositories are a very powerful and useful asset to S1000D, their implementation into the specification was fractured. It would be great to see a more comprehensive and coherent implementation of the common information repositories.


Any closing remarks?

And finally, our consultants added these closing remarks. Many improvements need to be made regarding the S1000D development process, but as a whole it brings the world closer together by standardizing data for global interchange. S1000D should also continue to push outside the traditional aerospace and defense markets and become the standard for industries that require maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair on heavy capital equipment. These industries (like shipping, oil/gas, energy, trucking, farming/logging, and mining) can all learn and leverage what the standard has done to date.

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