Salion Inc. (11th Case)

Company Background

Salion Inc. is a software company specialising in software solutions for Supplier Customer Relationship Management (sCRM). The software is used by suppliers such as the automotive supplier industry which serves only a handful of global customers.


Salion implemented a system intended to serve the target customer base with an effort of 190 engineer months. The product implements typical requirements of the supplier domain, e.g. the process of acceptance of a bid. As Salion approached the market, the need for a software product line became clear because of different customer needs.


A small company like Salion Inc. could not afford to implement a software product line from scratch (proactive approach), for which an effort of up to 570 engineer months was estimated. So, Salion decided to take the first product as the asset base (reactive approach) and invested two engineer months to establish a new configuration management tool and techniques to allow multiple product variations. Since the product line has been in use, Salion has enhanced and reengineered the asset base in reaction to new requirements.


The reactive approach significantly reduced the up-front investment for the platform from an estimated 570 engineer months to 2 engineer months. The continuous enhancement of the platform enables Salion to adapt its software product line to serve new customers. The effort for implementing new product variants ranges from 5% to 10% of the effort required for the baseline product. This is a productivity improvement of 10 to 20.


  • R. Buhrdorf, D. Churchett, and C.W. Krueger; "Salion's Experience with a Reactive Software Product Line Approach", In: Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop on Software Product-Family Engineering (PFE-5), Siena, Italy, Springer LNCS 3014, 2003, pp. 317-322.
  • P. Clements and L.M. Northrop; Salion, Inc.: "A Software Product Line Case Study", Technical Report no. CMU/SEI-2002-TR-038, Carnegie-Mellon Software Engineering Institute, 2002.
  • C.W. Krueger; "Data from Salion's Software Product Line Initiative", Technical Report no. 2002-07-08-1, BigLever Software, Inc., 2002.
  • Software Product Lines (Website)