BORO as a Foundation to Enterprise Ontology

Modern business organizations experience increasing challenges in the development and evolution of their enterprise systems. Typical problems include legacy re-engineering, systems integration/interoperability, and the architecting of the enterprise. At the heart of all these problems is enterprise modeling. Many enterprise modeling approaches have been proposed in the literature with some based on ontology. Few however adopt a foundational ontology to underpin a range of enterprise models in a consistent and coherent manner. Fewer still take data-driven re-engineering as their natural starting point for modeling. This is the approach taken by Business Object Reference Ontology (BORO). It has two closely intertwined components: a foundational ontology and a re-engineering methodology. These were originally developed for the re-engineering of enterprise systems and subsequently evolved into approaches to enterprise architecture and systems integration. Together these components are used to systematically unearth reusable and generalized business patterns from existing data. Most of these patterns have been developed for the enterprise context and have been successfully applied in several commercial projects within the financial, defense, and oil and gas industries. BORO's foundational ontology is grounded in philosophy and its metaontological choices (including perdurantism, extensionalism, and possible worlds) follow well-established theories. BORO's re-engineering methodology is rooted in the philosophical notion of grounding; it emerged from the practice of deploying its foundational ontology and has been refined over the last 25 years. This paper presents BORO and its application to enterprise modeling.


Journal of Information Systems 30, Number 2, 83-112


Sergio de Cesare (Brunel University)
Chris Partridge (BORO Solutions)