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Created: April 02, 2001.
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Standards Coordination Effort Uses OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML) and ACORD's Process Model.

An announcement from The Object Management Group (OMG) and the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) reports that the two standards bodies have "teamed up to leverage their respective strengths to provide a formal representation of software standards for the insurance industry." The agreement calls for the creation of a UML version of the ACORD data model. Also, "when OMG calls for specifications or recommends Request for Proposal's (RFPs) for the insurance industry, OMG will use the ACORD model where applicable." A key goal of OMG's endorsement of the ACORD model through its RFP process is preventing fragmentation of the marketplace. "By leveraging ACORD's own processes and existing models, along with OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML), both organizations' members gain a rapid, consensus-based, neutral standard which benefits many user communities. UML provides the ability to represent a common platform independent model. This is important because ACORD will be able to maintain a formal high-level model while saving time and money as changes in implementation technology are made. An added benefit for this collaboration between the two organizations is the implementation of OMG's recently announced Model Driven Architecture (MDA) which is based primarily on UML modeling. With MDA, OMG can offer vendors an automated way to produce implementation models that are highly interoperable, making future integration easier. MDA builds upon OMG's established modeling standards: UML, Meta-Object Facility (MOF), XMI Metadata Interchange (XMI), and the Common Warehouse Meta-model (CWM)."

From the announcement:

"Through membership in both ACORD and OMG, MetLife actively supports the development of a standard insurance model that can be implemented in multiple technologies in order to facilitate communications between vendors, supply chain partners, and internal entities. ACORD's process has produced such a model, currently implementable in COM, Java and XML. Representing the model in UML, via the MDA process, will realize even broader interoperability and increase ease of implementation," said Frank DeVito, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture, MetLife.

"After twelve years, the OMG process continues to successfully churn out valuable specifications because of the quality of people and organizations participating in that process. By collaborating with ACORD, OMG gains the best data modeling expertise around for the insurance industry. By leveraging ACORD's own processes and existing models, along with OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML), both organizations' members gain a rapid, consensus-based, neutral standard which benefits many user communities," said Richard Soley, Chairman and CEO of the OMG.

On MDA, from the web site: "Model Driven Architecture (MDA) provides an open, vendor-neutral approach to the challenge of interoperability, building upon and leveraging the value of OMG's established modeling standards. Platform-independent Application descriptions built using these modeling standards can be realized using any major open or proprietary platform, including CORBA, Java, .NET, XMI/XML, and Web-Based platforms... The MDA focuses primarily on the functionality and behavior of a distributed application or system, not the technology in which it will be implemented. It divorces implementation details from business functions. Thus, it is not necessary to repeat the process of modeling an application or system's functionality and behavior each time a new technology (e.g., XML/SOAP) comes along. Other architectures are generally tied to a particular technology. With MDA, functionality and behavior are modeled once and only once. Mapping to the supported MDA platforms will be implemented by tools, easing the task of supporting new or different technologies...MDA works at a different level than .NET and ONE. These are platforms, aimed at specific albeit broad application targets, while the MDA is (as its name declares) a Model Driven Architecture that works above the level of every middleware platform, .NET and ONE included. A middleware platform is incorporated into the MDA as a platform-specific profile. As ONE and .NET establish market share, OMG members will define platform-specific profiles for them, allowing them to participate in the MDA along with the other platforms which will almost certainly include Java/EJB, XML and one or more protocols dictated by the industry or the marketplace (SOAP or XP), and others."

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