Value Ontology Research & Analysis

Value Ontology Research & Analysis

Download the Value Ontology Research & Analysis paper.

The Value Ontology presented in this publication has taken the Global University Alliance members over a decade to research and develop, with hundreds of ‘man years’ involved to create the product introduced in this paper. This paper provides an overview of the Value Ontology research and analysis done and elaborates on its development and adaption journey.

This research paper therefore has the aim to provide an overview of the research and analysis that has been done around the subject of Value Ontology. It does so by firstly defining what Ontology means in the context of this research after which it elaborates on the research questions and than the chosen research approach. It then describes how the Value Ontology is a part of the Business Ontology and how it is formalizing a Domain Ontology. Followed by a historic overview of the Value Ontology development, findings, adaption and how the Value Ontology is used to develop enterprise and industry standards. The Overview of the Value Ontology Research & Analysis paper then concludes with mentioning the main research team members.

What is Ontology in the context of the research

As ontology formally represents knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, the value ontology therefore represents the theory and practice knowledge gathered within the value domain, and the relationships between those concepts, it can be used to model the value domain and support various views i.e. models. The Global University Alliance has used the concept of ontology as both a shared value vocabulary and the very definition of its objects and concepts.

Why analysing and researching Value Concepts?

Simply said, the lack of existing Value concepts and value modeling views as well as value standards in the areas of Business Management, Enterprise Modelling, Information & Technology, Enterprise Transformation, Enterprise Engineering and Enterprise Architecture has created the demand for such a research and analysis.

Already our early analysis and research in 2004 within the Global University Alliance, identified that the lack of value concepts and value standards as a reason for difficulties in strategy execution, missing innovation, the ability to develop value capabilities, identification of where the organization creates core differentiating value and where not. On top of that a total misunderstanding and misconception of value. For example, that the customer value proposition is what value is about. Or that all functions, processes or services that are customer facing is the value flow. This is not only what value identification, creation or value realization in organizations about. While value defiantly is connected to both value proposition and value flow, that does not tell an organization anything about their external or internal value drivers. It doesn’t capture stakeholder value expectations.

All together resulting in a low understanding of what does and doesn’t create and realize value. Also the reason of low value maturity in organizations

The need to develop reusable and replicable value patterns that can be implemented by any organization, both large and small, regardless of its products/services or activities was therefore apparent. Our main goal was to:

  • Identify value relevant concepts.
  • Develop a value ontology with its specific value descriptions, semantic relations and correlations.
  • Identify how to organize and structure the viewpoints and objects associated with value engineering, value modelling, and value architecture.
  • Establish guiding principles for creating, interpreting, analysing and using value objects within a particular domain and/or layers of an enterprise or an organization.
  • Specify a set of principles e.g. how and where can the value concepts be related (and where not).
  • Recognize and captured a repeatable pattern for value related concepts, structures as well as artefacts.
  • Develop a value Lifecycle view that incorporates value identification, value planning, value creation, value realization as well as value management and value governance.

The Research Approach

The Global University Alliance (GUA) is an open group of academics with the ambition to provide both business and academia with state-of-the-art insights. Through its ties with the LEADing practice community, which includes large firms and governments, the GUA is able to evaluate and valorize its scientific output. Since 2004, the members of the GUA strive for a continuous improvement of their expertise through the research, comparison, analysis and development of Best and LEADing Practices in Business. Throughout this process, the GUA built its own implicit ontology that revolves around its expertise of Best and LEADing practices.

This is where the Global University Alliance (GUA) has developed a unique collaborative process between research and industry. After 5 years of already working together, the GUA was founded in 2004 as a non-profit organization and today (September 2015) they are an international consortium consistent of over 450+ professors, lecturers and researchers whose aim it is to provide a collaborative platform for academic research, analysis and development. As illustrated in figure 1, they do this through defining clear research themes, with detailed research questions, where they analyse and study patterns, describe concepts with their findings. This again can lead to additional research questions/themes as well as development of artefacts which can be used as reference content by practitioners and industry as a whole. What the GUA also does uniquely is the collaboration with standards bodies like:

  • ISO: ‘The International Organization for Standardization (French: Organisation internationale de standardization)
  • CEN: The European Committee for Standardization (CEN, French: Comité Européen de Normalisation).
  • IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the largest association of technical professionals with more than 400,000 members
  • OMG: Object Management Group: Develops the software standards.
  • NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organizations (NATO’s) with the 28 member states across North America and Europe and the additional 37 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace and dialogue programmes, NATO represents the biggest non-standard body that standardises concepts across 65 countries.
  • ISF: The Information Security Forum, Investigates and defined information security standards.
  • W3C: World Wide Web Consortium-The W3C purpose is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the Web/Internet.
  • LEAD: LEADing Practice, the largest enterprise standard body (in member numbers), which actually has been founded by the GUA.  The LEADing Practice Enterprise Standards are the result of both the GUA research and years of international industry expert consensus and feedback on the artefacts and thereby repeatable patterns.
Global University Alliance Workflow
Figure 1: Overview of the Academia – Industry Concept process which is used in the Global University Alliance and the various collaborative industry practitioners involved in partnerships. The Academia – Industry process used in the Global University Alliance and the various collaborative industry practitioners has two types of different cycles. The one where Academia is leading the research and innovation, this is called the Academia Industry Research (AIR) process. The other is where practitioners from Industry describe concepts and develop artefacts and thereby they bring about innovation. This process is called the Academia Industry Design (AID).

Research Questions

Information and research is sought on topics related to the understanding and comparison of Value concepts, including, but not limited to:

  • The meaning of Value
  • The main concepts where Value concepts exist i.e.
    1. Economic Value, a measure of the benefit that may be gained from goods or service.
    2. Marketing and Sales Value, the difference between a customer’s evaluation of benefits and costs.
    3. Value investing, an investment paradigm.
    4. Personal Value (incl. cultural aspects)
    5. Value in terms of ethics
    6. Quantity, where value, also known as lightness or tone, a representation of variation in the perception of a color or color space’s brightness.
    7. Computer Science Value, an expression that implies no (further) (mathematical) processing; a “normal form”.
    8. Qualitative value
    9. Value modelling concepts (as related to Enterprise modeling concepts)
    10. Value engineering (as related to Enterprise engineering concepts)
    11. Value Architecture (as related to Enterprise Architecture)

Therefore. the research focuses on Value theories, the study of how the notion of value is used.

  • Applied layers and groups where Value concepts exist)
  • Main Groups and categories
  • Value Ontology Taxonomy
  • Value Ontology semantic relations
  • Value Ontology classes (applied to MOF)
  • Semantic foundations of EAFs
    • What common Ontology aspects do they have?
    • What common meta objects do they have?
  • Organization and modularization principles of EAFs
  • Extension and customization mechanisms for EAFs
  • Comparing EAFs, method and approaches for comparison
  • What Enterprise Architecture roles exist
  • Concern-oriented considerations:
    • What concerns are well-supported (typical concerns they work with)?
    • What concerns are not currently handled?
  • Model and viewpoint considerations:
    • Typical models they work with?
    • What challenges are not being addressed by current models?
  • What are their tasks? How are EAFs situated with respect to other life cycle processes and activities?
  • Which Enterprise Architecture measures (KPIs) exist
  • Tool support: what impediments, opportunities exist?

Research Team

The Value Research & Analysis contacts are:

Research Leader:
Professor Mark von Rosing
Head of Research, Global University Alliance

The research team involved in this work are among others the following academics, researchers and analysts:

  • Value Ontology (meta objects), Prof. Wim Laurier
  • Value Semantics (relations and rules), Prof. Simon Polovina
  • Comparing Value concepts, method and approaches, Prof. Mark von Rosing
  • Typical Value models applied, Prof. Hans Scheruhn
  • Most common Value strategies applied, Jamie Caine
  • Most common Value KPIs, Ulrik Foldager
  • Most common Value Roles, Maria Hove
  • Most common Value Viewpoints, Maxim Arzumanyan
  • Most common Value Stakeholder & Concerns, George Etzel
  • Most common Value automation with smart technology applied, Elizabeth Uruchurtu

Collaboration Partners

Enterprise Standard Body:
George Etzel,
LEADing Practice, Co-CEO

Enterprise Architecture Framework:
John A. Zachman,
Inventor and Father of Enterprise Architecture,
Zachman International

International Organization for Standardization:
Johan H Bendz,
ISO, SC 7, WG 42 Convener

IEEE Coordinator:
Rich Hilliard,
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers,
Editor of IEEE Std 1471:2000, Project editor, ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010

Software Standard Body:
Henk DeMan,
OMG VDML Chairman

NATO Coordinators:
Johan Goossens,
NATO Allied Command Transformation
Branch Head, Technology & Human Factors

UNESCO Coordinator:
Dr. Selin N. Şenocak
UNESCO Chair Holder
Cultural Diplomacy, Governance and Education
Director, Occidental Studies Applied Research Center
Political Sciences and International Relations Faculty Member

CSIR Coordinator:
Rentia Barnard
Research Institute CSIR,
Enterprise Architect Research Group Leader

Information Security Standard Body
Steve Durbin,
CEO of Information Security Forum

Some of these findings have been published in the following publications:

  • von Rosing, M., Chase, G., Omar, R., Taylor, J., Rosenberg, A., (2011) Applying Real-World BPM in an SAP Environment, SAP Press, 698 pages, ISBN 978-1-59229-877-8.
  • von Rosing, M., Hove, M., Subbarao, R., Preston, T., Getting Business Transformation Right – Combining BPM and EA, (2012) Commerce and Enterprise Computing (CEC), IEEE 13th Conference.
  • Hendrickx, H. H. M., Daley, S. K., Mahakena, M., von Rosing, M., (2012) The business architecture profession, Commerce and Enterprise Computing (CEC), IEEE 13th Conference DOI: 10.1109/CEC.2011.55            ISBN: 978-0-7695-4535-6.
  • Polovina S., von Rosing M., Laurier W. (2014) Conceptual Structures in LEADing and Best Enterprise Practices. In: Hernandez N., Jäschke R., Croitoru M. (eds) Graph-Based Representation and Reasoning. ICCS 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8577. Springer, Cham, DOI
  • von Rosing, M., & Laurier, W. (2015). An Introduction to the Business Ontology. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications, 3(1), 20–41. doi:10.4018/IJCSSA.2015010102.
  • von Rosing, M., Urquhart, B., & Zachman, J. A. (2015). Using a Business Ontology for Structuring Artefacts: Example – Northern Health. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications, 3(1), 42–85. doi:10.4018/IJCSSA.2015010103.
  • von Rosing, M., & von Scheel, H. (2016). Using the Business Ontology to develop Enterprise Standards. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications, 4(1), 48–70. doi:10.4018/IJCSSA.2016010103.
  • von Rosing, M., Fullington, N., Walker, J., Using the Business Ontology and Enterprise Standards to Transform Three Leading Organizations 2016, International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications, 4(1), (pages 71-99).
  • Polovina, S., Scheruhn, H. J., Weidner, S., von Rosing, M., (2016) Discovering the Gaps in Enterprise Systems via Conceptual Graphs & Formal Concept Analysis, In: HAEMMERLÉ, Ollivier, STAPLETON, Gem and ZUCKER, Catherine Faron, (eds.) Poster proceedings The 22nd International Conference on Conceptual Structures (ICCS 2016). ICCS.
  • Polovina, S., Scheruhn, H. J., Weidner, S., von Rosing, M., (2016) Highlighting the Gaps in Enterprise Systems Models by Interoperating CGs and FCA, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 1637, 46-54.
  • Polovina, S., Scheruhn, H. J., von Rosing, M., (2017). Modularising the complex meta-models in enterprise systems using conceptual structures. In: SUGUMARAN, Vijayan, (ed.) Developments and trends in intelligent technologies and smart systems. Advances in Computational Intelligence and Robotics (ACIR) . Hershey, PA, IGI Global, 261-283.
  • von Rosing, Zachman, J. (2017). The Need for a Role Ontology. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications. Volume 5, Issue 1.
  • von Rosing, M. C., Arzumanyan, M., Zachman, J. A. (2017). The relationship between Ontology and Modelling concepts: Example Role Oriented Modelling. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications. Volume 5, Issue 1.
  • von Rosing, M., Bach, B., & von Scheel, H. (2017). Using the Role Oriented Modelling concepts to develop smart applications. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications. Volume 5, Issue 1.
  • Okpurughre, P., von Rosing, M., Grube, Dennis (2017) Using Ontology and Modelling Concepts for Enterprise Innovation and Transformation: Example SAL Heavylift, International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications. Volume 5, Issue 1 (pages 70-104).