Enterprise Dynamic Systems Control

Enterprise Dynamic Systems Control

Sérgio Guerreiro (Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch701
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Introduction

The information Systems (IS) are designed, implemented and managed using abstractions layers to cope with the huge organizational complexity that is nowadays posed and also to facilitate the discussion between the different stakeholders of an organization (Laudon & Laudon, 2012) that have diverse perspectives and interpretations of it. Those discussions drive to the classical requirements elicitation stage that aims at identifying the best short-, mid- or long-term models to view, understand and operate the organization and to facilitate the forthcoming IS transformations. Abstraction is a powerful intellectual tool that, in a given instant in time and context, allows to leave some details for further analysis. In the subsequent instants of time and contexts, the abstraction level decreases and forces the stakeholders to further specify the models. Accordingly, Hoogervorst (2009) explains that business transaction models are abstractions, which prescribe the design freedom restrictions of a process-based organization and are useful to share a common understanding between the stakeholders regarding the business processes to be executed. In fact, in the IS domain, business processes models (OMG, 2013; Archimate, 2013) are frequently used to describe the way that operations are expected to happen while the actors perform their activities. However, the business transaction models per si, are not sufficient and do not guarantee that the business actors perform them accordingly during operation. This phenomenon occurs by many and diverse reasons, organizational actors perform workarounds at operation time that could be extremely different from the previous prescribed business transaction models. Operation is understood as the collective activity of all the elements within the organization and in the surrounding environment. It encompasses both the productions performed by the elements within the organization and the interactions with the organizational bounds (Dietz, 2006).

Hence, an actor is autonomous in deciding what to do next, and thus misalignments occur between the business transaction models and actor’s operation. Moreover, business actors, individually and/or collectively, operate the organization and also administrate and steer it, by means of observing the state of the world and then acting with purpose to change its state. Moreover, an organizational actor is simultaneous a controller agent and a controlled agent within an enterprise. This reason is why steering the operation of business transactions, by the mean of the correct business rules, is strongly needed nowadays on organizations.

As depicted in Figure 1, organizations require steering for continuous verifying if the desired models are satisfied and then to take purposeful actions to correct them. In line, systems control area identifies the need to construct a classic cycle of observation, decision and control to guarantee that the operation of a system satisfies within the desired conditions (Franklin et al., 2009).

Figure 1.

Steering cycle: the business transactions are the organizational objects to be controlled, the observed variables are its states and the control variables are the business transactions redesign initiatives

Moreover, organizational steering is most of the time considered as an independent and isolated organizational add-on component that reacts according with the behavior of the part of the organization that is supposed to control (COBIT, 2007). For instance, the General Systems Theory (Bertalanffy, 1969), the Viable System Model (Beer, 1981) and the recent Enterprise Governance proposals (Hoogervorst, 2009; Hoogervorst & Dietz, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Observation: The capability to be aware about the internals of the organization and about its surrounding environment.

Operation: The collective activity of all the elements within the organization and in the surrounding environment.

Actor: The actors, human or machine, are part of the enterprise and are organized in a network where the individual and collective views of the enterprise coexist.

Control: The ability to drive, within a bounded effort, the operation of the enterprise towards a desired prescription whenever changes or perturbations occur.

Business Transaction: A model representation of a given organizational reality that is valid within a specific timeframe.

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