ER 2013 - Are Conceptual Models Concept Models?

The conceptual modelling community has no clear, agreed semantics for its models; or more plainly, there is no general agreement on what the models model. One mainstream proposal is that they model concepts, but there is no clear semantics for this; no clear description of what concepts are and how they relate to their domain. This creates theoretical problems; for example, it is difficult to build accurate meta-models, as these have to encompass the semantic structure. It also creates practical problems; practitioners will approach building a model of the concept of a business differently from modelling the business itself. We aim to exploit research undertaken in philosophy to construct a framework that classifies the broad semantic options. Using this we identify two major options: concept-mediated and direct-domain semantics. We focus on the concept-mediated option and examine how philosophy has analysed what a concept is; identifying three main options and exploring the issues they raise. While not wishing to advocate choices at this stage, we note that the concept-mediated view - in particular, the version prevalent in conceptual modelling, that concepts are representations – faces serious challenges as a practical semantics for modelling and languages.

NORSOK Z-014: A 21st Century Update

One reason oil and gas companies adopt a standard cost coding system is to facilitate benchmarking. NORSOK Z-014 Standard Cost Coding System (SCCS) is an example of this kind of system. This paper describes a set of issues found in a project that attempted to adopt this standard. These were issues whose analysis revealed problems with the standard’s fundamental structure. Further analysis showed that these types of problems are well understood outside the project controls community and resolvable using a classification technique technically known as ‘facets’. The paper provides examples of these issues and indicates how they can be resolved. It also describes the systematic modernization approach adopted by the project to resolve the issues throughout the standard. The aim of this paper is to introduce to the project controls community an understanding of the importance of these issues for raising the quality of their data and the new techniques to provide improved foundations for standard cost coding systems for the oil and gas industry in the 21st Century.

List of Keywords: Applied Ontology

Ontology-Driven Re-engineering of Business Systems

This tutorial presents an introduction to the BORO methodology, an ontology-based systems engineering approach. The authors present both the ontological foundations of the approach as well as business examples of the application of this approach.

An Ontological Approach for Recovering Legacy Business Content

Legacy Information Systems (LIS) pose a challenge for many organizations. On one hand, LIS are viewed as aging systems needing replacement; on the other hand, years of accumulated business knowledge have made these systems mission-critical. Current approaches however are often criticized for being overtly dependent on technology and ignoring the business knowledge which resides within LIS. In this light, this paper proposes a means of capturing the business knowledge in a technology agnostic manner and transforming it in a way that reaps the benefits of clear semantic expression – this transformation is achieved via the careful use of ontology. The approach called Content Sophistication (CS) aims to provide a model of the business that more closely adheres to the semantics and relationships of objects existing in the real world. The approach is illustrated via an example taken from a case study concerning the renovation of a large financial system and the outcome of the approach results in technology agnostic models that show improvements along several dimensions.

DoD Architectures and Systems Engineering Integration

An extract from a presentation to the NDIA and AT&L System Engineering Conference on 24th October 2012 by the US Office of the Chief Information Officer (US DoD). The extract highlights the role the BORO-based IDEAS foundation plays in DODAF.

BORO-related standards overview

The aim of this tutorial is to provide a context for BORO in terms of a number of standards that it has influenced.

List of Keywords: BORO Foundational Ontology

An Introduction to Ontology

This tutorial should, hopefully, help you to explain what an ontology is and how it can be useful; identify several common misunderstandings when using attempting to ‘do’ ontology; see why a top ontology is useful; and appreciate its technical nature; and become acquainted with one example top ontology – BORO. It is intended to help you understand ontology, it is not intended to turn you into an ontologist.

Shifting the ontological foundations of accounting’s conceptual scheme

The purpose of this paper is to establish the nature of the need for a new accounting conceptual scheme and provide the framework for taking a managed approach to this change. This paper firstly reviews the nature of the need for a radical shift in the foundations and framework of accounting’s conceptual scheme. It touches upon how the existing uses of ontological analysis within accounting information systems research do not address this need. It then outlines how a more philosophical approach to ontological analysis provides a process for starting the shift in the foundation. And illustrates how the process will work with some examples.

A Robust Common Master Data Foundation for Oil and Gas

The Upstream Oil and Gas industry is formed of a complex network of contractual structures, highly specialised technical disciplines and technologies that interact across multilateral supply chains for exploration and production of hydrocarbons. The complexity comes with a number of technical, social and environmental risks may affect entire regions and countries. One of the key challenges that organisations face in this industry, is ensuring interoperability across organisational and functional boundaries due to the highly stratified supply chain and deeply specialised technical domains that it creates. This presentation will describe the strategy used to build a robust common foundation for the data; at the centre of which is a stable and resilient data architecture for the oil industry. It will explain how this was achieved including the use of structured foundational design principles and industry data standards including ISO 15926, IDEAS and MODEM.

An Analysis of Services

The goal of this report is to provide an in-depth common conceptual understanding of services end-to-end across the enterprise – one that encompasses business, IT and technical services and gives a picture of what, in essence, a service is.

Top ontology(ies); why bother?

A small number of top ontologies have been developed over the last decade or two. They are now starting to be implemented in IT systems.
This talk will argue that they have the potential to play a significant part in IT; and that exploiting this depends upon a better understanding of their scope and how they can be deployed.
It will argue that their scope potentially extends across a significant proportion of the IT market and that this claim is best understood in the historical context of previous information revolutions.
Hopefully this will facilitate a better understanding of why top ontologies can be useful and how they can be deployed.

Software Stability: Recovering General Patterns of Business

The software stability approach is required to balance the seemingly contradictory goals of stability over the software lifecycle with the need for adaptability, extensibility and interoperability. This workshop paper addresses the issue of how software stability can be achieved over time by outlining an approach to evolving General Business Patterns (GBPs) from the empirical data contained within legacy systems. GBPs are patterns of business objects that are (directionally) stable across contexts of use. The work explains, via a small worked example, how stability is achieved via a process of ‘sophistication’. The outcome of the process demonstrates how the balance that stability seeks can be achieved.

The Challenge of Epistemic Divergence in IS Development

The organizational environment increasingly demands that computer-based information systems are responsive to change and can work with each other seamlessly (ideally from a dynamic perspective). Given the large investment that organizations have in mission-critical legacy systems, evolutionary maintenance and systems integration now form a very significant part of the cost and effort profile of systems development. In terms of the integration issue, much of the difficulty lies in the fact that different systems often contain different ‘representations’ of the world. In the development process, it is generally accepted that the ‘information’ an information system contains about its business domain(s) is an essential intellectual part of the system, and the domain of fundamental concern. This concern is generally regarded as unitary, however, requiring no further breakdown into parts and it is commonly perceived that its relation to the business information system is simple and direct.

Tullow's master data

BORO Solutions applies military-strength semantics in 'Clean' and 'Pure' approach to complex oil country data landscape. Industrial ontology leverages Department of defense framework.

Introduction to MODEM: Building a Semantic Foundation for EA: Reengineering the MODAF Meta-Model Based on the IDEAS Foundation

Describes the MODEM framework under development - the building of a Semantic Foundation for EA by reengineering the MODAF™ Meta-Model Based on the IDEAS Foundation Model.