In January 2020 mgm technology partners GmbH and the Chair of Software Engineering at RWTH Aachen University started a strategic research cooperation in the field of model-based software development. The goal of the project is the further development of A12, a model-based development approach of mgm, which has been used for years in governmental software as well as in the insurance and e-commerce sector.
The central idea of A12 is to represent all domain-specific aspects of the software in models. These models can then be edited directly by domain experts. The Chair of Software Engineering at RWTH Aachen University is one of the most important research institutions in the field of this model-based development.
“Software development is in a phase of industrialization,” says Hamarz Mehmanesh, CEO of mgm. “With the model-based approach of A12, the roles of developers and business experts are shifting. The experts are empowered to make domain-specific adjustments independently. We are proud to be able to further extend our lead in the field of model-based development through this cooperation and are very pleased to further develop this approach with the scientists of the RWTH Aachen University”.
“Model-based software development drastically shortens development times and enables rapid adaptation to changes. Expert modeling techniques enable domain experts to make adjustments themselves. In practice, this approach is far from being exhausted. We are all the more pleased to build a bridge together with mgm between the latest findings and methods from science and research and the actual application of such development paradigms in public institutions and companies” adds Prof. Dr. Bernhard Rumpe, holder of the chair for Software Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University.
There has been an intensive exchange between the mgm location Aachen and the Chair of Software Engineering at RTWH Aachen University for a long time. Through the joint research cooperation the exchange of knowledge for faster software development is now further extended.
The development principles of A12 have been a central basis for the electronic tax return (ELSTER) for years, but are also used for the digitalization of complex products and processes in industrial insurance and e-commerce. They are especially designed to reflect domain-specific changes in the software quickly and without additional development effort. The advantages this has for governmental software were presented, for example, in the workshop “Digital sovereignty of the state using the example of taxation” at the Smart Country Convention 2019 in Berlin (see How the government can retain its sovereignty even in times of digitalisation). For example, ELSTER’s digitised forms contain over 100,000 rules and over 200,000 for one year alone. Historically, there have been several million technical rules and field versions in the past two decades. A large part of these remain active for a longer period of time, since historical data must be editable over a period of 10 years. Without the model-based approach of A12, it would hardly be possible to handle this complexity and implement the adjustments made by tax legislation year after year.