Comprehensive Tool Support for Enterprise Modeling and Evaluation

Comprehensive Tool Support for Enterprise Modeling and Evaluation

Patrick Delfmann (University of Münster – ERCIS, Münster, Germany), Hanns-Alexander Dietrich (University of Münster – ERCIS, Münster, Germany), Matthias Steinhorst (University of Münster – ERCIS, Münster, Germany) and Jörg Becker (University of Münster – ERCIS, Münster, Germany)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/ijismd.2014070102
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Enterprise modelling and evaluating subsequently created models is manifold. Enterprise modelling means capturing an organization's business processes, its organizational structure, its corporate strategy, or its supporting information systems in graphical conceptual models. Evaluating these models means assuring their structural and semantic quality as well as their user group adequacy. Enterprise modelling and model evaluation requires comprehensive tool support. Recently, a number of modelling tools have been proposed each addressing particular aspects of enterprise modelling or model evaluation. For example, meta-modelling tools allow for defining new and altering existing modelling languages. Meta-modelling tools are thus well suited for enterprise modelling as this requires a large number of different modelling languages that may need to be adapted to the particular enterprise. In contrast, some modelling tools provide mechanisms to structurally or semantically evaluate models of a predefined language. However, comprehensive tool support for enterprise modelling and model evaluation is missing up to now. With this paper, the authors aim at closing this research gap by proposing a tool combining meta-modelling capabilities with features to structurally and semantically evaluate models as well as to manage model perspectives. The tool thus covers the entire model lifecycle from defining a problem-suitable modelling language, creating models, configuring them for different user groups, and evaluating them in terms of structure and semantics.
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Enterprise modelling refers to the development of conceptual models describing a company’s business processes (Nüttgens, 1997), documenting and communicating information systems requirements (Sommerville and Sawyer, 1997), specifying database schemas (Chen, 1976), or capturing the corporate strategy of an enterprise (Frank, 2002). Developing such conceptual models requires a wide variety of different modelling languages (Koschmider, Hornung, and Oberweis, 2011). These languages specify a set of object and relationship types as well as corresponding diagrammatic representations, thus facilitating the development of graphical conceptual models (Draheim et al., 2010).

Enterprise modelling allows for describing various aspects of an organisation on different levels of abstraction (Frank, 2002). The resulting models need to be evaluated in order to identify inefficiencies and derive improvement potential for the real world aspects they describe (Gustas and Gustiené, 2003). Evaluating a conceptual model means analysing its structural and semantic properties as well as determining its fit to a given domain. Evaluating conceptual models cannot solely be based on objective criteria (Frank, 1998). It is rather a subjective process that requires a discussion among modellers and model users. However, enterprise modelling and effective model evaluation presupposes comprehensive tool support for those aspects of the model evaluation process that can be automated (Recker, 2012). Implementing corresponding tools that allow for both enterprise modelling and a rigorous evaluation of models, however, proves challenging for a number of reasons:

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