CIAO – Interesting pursuit after EA Ontology

Interesting work in EA Ontology space. Especially the ‘separation of concerns’ is well applied to the notion of ‘ontology’ and its separation from the principles of construction.

Transcript below is complied from the following link

Cooperation & Interoperability – Architecture & Ontology


CIAO! is an initiative whose mission is to stimulate the development of the emerging discipline of enterprise engineering, as well as its practical application in improving the societal performance of enterprises. By an enterprise is understood any kind of enterprise, like commercial, not-for-profit, governmental, etc., as well as any kind of alliance between enterprises: enterprise networks, supply chains, etc. The name CIAO! is an acronym for Cooperation, Interoperability, Architecture, and Ontology. The first two constitute the key themes of CIAO!: the cooperation within and between enterprises and the interoperability of their information systems. The second two constitute the key concepts in addressing these themes. The concepts of architecture and ontology have a specific meaning in CIAO!. Architecture is defined as the normative restriction of design freedom. It is made operational by means of principles that guide the design of systems (enterprises, information systems, etc.). Ontology is defined as the implementation independent understanding of the construction and operation of systems (enterprises, information systems, etc.).


The traditional organizational sciences take a function-oriented point of view towards enterprises. They are analytic by nature, and the dominant type of model of an enterprise, therefore, is the black-box model. The black-box based knowledge provided is sufficient and adequate for managing the behavior of an enterprise within settled ranges of control; it is inadequate for changing an enterprise. Change, however, is the imperative adagium of current (and certainly future) enterprises. They need to be agile and flexible since they (will) operate in an increasingly dynamic and global environment. Moreover, enterprises need to be transparant; they will be held publicly accountable for every effect they produce. To meet these requirements, an engineering, construction-oriented, point of view has to be taken. Synthetic knowledge is needed, in addition to the analytic knowledge, that effectively supports the changing of an enterprise. Developing and incorporating this kind of knowledge in the organizational sciences, means no less than a paradigm shift. The emerging discipline that takes the needed construction-oriented point of view, and that will provide the synthetic knowledge for letting enterprises continuously adapt to threats and challenges, is called enterprise engineering.


The current situation resembles very much the one that existed around 1970 in the computing sciences. At that time a revolution took place in the way people conceived information technology and its applications. Since that time, people are aware of the distinction between the form and the content of information. This revolution marks the transition from data system engineering to information system engineering. The comparison with computing sciences is not an arbitrary one: the key enabling technology for shaping future enterprises is the modern information and communication technology (ICT). A growing insight in the computing sciences is that the intention in communicative action is the central notion for understanding profoundly the relationship between organization and ICT. So, like the content of communication was put on top of its form in the 1970’s, the intention is put on top of the content now. The current revolution marks the transition from information system engineering to enterprise engineering.







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