Since 2004, the Global University Alliance members has researched, compared, analyzed and developed Best and LEADing Practices around Information Modelling e.g. Information Management and Information Architecture. The key observation was that although the Information Modelling and Information and Solution Architecture are considered distinct and different disciplines, they employ the use of common objects e.g. Information object, Information task, Information rules, Information measurements, Information reporting, Information security, Information construct, Information devices, Information delivery as well as Information integration and standardization, etc. Cross referencing this to the failure reasons identified, it became clear that the failure to link the subjects across areas of business, process, service, application, data, platform and infrastructure was the root cause for the failures.
Besides the failure to relate the information object across the relevant layers, was one of the additionally findings what the organizations that prevailed actually did, to solve the very mentioned challenges. In analyzing what those organizations did different then does who failed, it became clear that one of the biggest challenges faced by most organizations is a lack of understanding of the common objects within a business and how they relate to each other.
The findings revealed the need for a fundamental shift in approach and thereby the need to totally rethink Information modelling and Information architecture and the relations among both. The foundation for this reconceptualization was to understand the objects that link and relate to the aspects together. Using ontology principles to understand the very nature, the basic categories, as well as using semantic principles to identify which parts relate or should relate exposed sixteen areas that together provide a set of principles that can be used to guide the information decomposition and information composition. The Sixteen main areas are presented in figure 2.
The 16 LEAD Information Decomposition and Composition Objects
Information automates activities of the business, thus making business faster and more reliable, but done improperly at the cost of flexibility and agility of the business. The ability to automate parts of the business requires the practitioners to understand that it is not sufficient to consider only the decomposed Information objects, but also to consider the aspects that direct how the Information needs to support the business in new ways. In Information modelling, these are the most common relations of the decomposition and composition objects:
- Through its business competencies the business uses a set of Information tasks, functions, and services within applications. This combination, together with the right business model, will reduce cost, improve operation in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, and support revenue growth.
- Business goals and requirements will dictate the goals and requirements for the Information solution while business objectives, performance expectations and performance indicators can be measured through the executing business and the enabling applications.
- Business services can be (partly) delivered and/or consumed by information application features, application functions, application tasks and application services. The mentioned parts of the application are subject to the relation between information provider and consumer, to the information service construct / delivery and to whether it is a main or a supporting information service. The services are automated by the application information service, data service, platform service and infrastructure service.
- Through application information services, business process steps can be automated. Application information tasks automate process activities. These can be executed as pre-programmed, as reaction to specific information events, as well as based on business information decisions.
- The application information functions, tasks, and services are designed to follow several information flows in the business, such as reporting flow, service information flow, application workflow, data flow and information scenarios.
- Application information functions, tasks, and information services can be measured directly (information system measurements, information service measurements) as well as delivering measurements for information reporting (business performance indicators, key performance indicators on the strategic, tactical, and operational level, including for service level agreements, process performance indicators) to information scorecards, dashboards, and cockpits.
- Application information functions, tasks, and information services create, use and/or deliver (parts of) business, information, and data objects. An application uses, modifies, and/or produces data on several hierarchical levels: application information modules work with information data component, application function with information object, and application task with information data service.
- The enacted business roles performed through its process steps and activities, which are supported by the roles of the respective application information functions and tasks.
- When dealing with information, different owners can be recognized. All owners have specific responsibilities, which result in different demands and wishes of various aspects of the information. There are information owners with responsibilities concerning business information, process information, service information, value information, performance information, information solutions e.g. application, data, platform and infrastructure, as well as , information security and information compliance.
- Several information rules, have to be adhered to and embedded in the different areas and parts.
- When designing, building, implementing, updating, working with application information functions, tasks, and information services the direction is set by information strategies, information policies, information guidelines, information standards, information regulations, and information legislation as well as issues of information governance controls, information risk management, information audit, information evaluation, information security and information monitoring must be taken into account in order to verify their information compliance.
- Application information services and information interfaces need to support different business information and information technology channels. The business information channels can either include marketing, sales, distribution, service or other channels; the information technology channels can be communication, digital image/screen, programming, broadcasting, I/O, or audio channels.
- The information data component and information services are used by the application information modules and information tasks.
- Application information functions, tasks, and information services can make use of media as communication or media used in a computer. The communicating media can be advertising, broadcast / electronic communication networks, digital, electronic, mass, print, recording, social media, media store, multimedia and hypermedia; the computer media can be data storage devices, application software or other computing media.
- A platform is used to enable an information application on several hierarchical levels: platform component enables application component, platform service enables application service.
- The information application components and modules reside on infrastructure components. Infrastructure services support the platform services.
As demonstrated, the described sixteen information decomposition and composition objects have relationships, associations and correlations with one another, leading to multiple interaction points. In order to identify and capture all of these information relevant aspects correctly, it was necessary to re-think information modelling and information architecture as it existed. Driven by passion and love for both Enterprise Modelling and Enterprise Architecture, we started to develop the missing information modelling and information architecture gaps and aspects, in essence defining a new Way of Thinking, Working and Modelling information aspects.
Developing & Applying Business Architecture (Part 1) Webinar
Global University Alliance – Information Focus Group Contacts
With the information modelling and information architecture work, we in the Global University Alliance, try to promote a new way of thinking, working and modelling around how Information modelling and information architecture can identify, create and realize value. The Information concepts are built into the different layers e.g. business, application & technology and then shared and published as an open standard in the LEADing Practice community. Thereby enabling all organizations to build on common leading principles to identify, create and realize value.
In terms of university perspective development includes an Enterprise Ontology university curriculum for both Bachelor and Master level.
The Enterprise Ontology research contacts are:
Global University Alliance Coordinator:
Professor Mark von Rosing
Head of Global University Alliance, Denmark
Professor Hans Scheruhn
Harz University (Hochschule Harz), Germany
LEADing Practice Coordinator:
LEADing Practice, Co-CEO
The members involved in this work have been a team that includes academics, researchers and analysts:
- Information Ontology, Wim Laurier
- Information Semantics, Simon Polovina
- Information Architecture, Mark von Rosing
- Business Process Management, Marlon Dumas
- Information Management, Hans Scheruhn
- Enterprise Architecture, Leon Kappelman
- Value & Performance Management, Maria Hove
- Enterprise Sustainability, David Coloma
- ERP, Karin Gräslund
- Enterprise Engineering, Maxim Arzumanyan
- Enterprise Modelling, Ulrik Foldager
- Measurement & Reporting, Ulrik Foldager