ChapterPDF Available

Evaluating Usefulness of a Fractal Enterprise Model: Experience Report

Authors:

Abstract

The paper presents an experience of evaluating the usefulness of a particular modeling technique called Fractal Enterprise Model (FEM). FEM connects enterprise processes with assets that are used in and are managed by these processes. The evaluation has been conducted in a somewhat unusual manner. A model that covers an essential part of an enterprise's activities has been built without any practical goal in mind, e.g. finding a cause of a problem, designing or completing a transformational change, etc. Then, it was presented to and dis-cussed with the stakeholders that helped to build it. During the discussions, the stakeholders were asked to elaborate on the potential usages of the model in the practice of the enterprise. The result was a comprehensive list of possible usage of the model.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... The solution could be using lightweight enterprise modelling approaches that focus more on usefulness and impact, not on formal completeness and coherence [7]. A novel enterprise modelling technique called Fractal Enterprise Model (FEM) [9] could be particularly helpful, as it has been regarded as easily understandable for the people in the field and relatively easy to practice [10]. ...
... This does not exclude, however, usage of FEM by a novice analyst in smaller projects. The latter was tested in the practice of the second author while supervising Master students' thesis work that included using FEM, e.g., as described in [10]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Managing organisational change is becoming increasingly important in an ever-changing world. A novel "lightweight" enterprise modelling technique called Fractal Enterprise Model (FEM) can be helpful in this effort. This technique is formally established, but the range of application areas for it is not yet fully explored. This paper aims to fill the gap, at least partially. This goal is being achieved by using FEM in an industrial project in which a water utility company wants to digitalise its business operations and external communication. The paper follows the Action Design Research paradigm, which combines theory generation with solving organisational problems. The project was structured along a generic Business Analysis process and contained elements from a number of fields, such as requirements engineering, information systems engineering, enterprise architecture management, and business process management. The paper describes 11 different generic problems that were solved with the help of FEM, the project-specific constraints and how FEM was applied in the process. As the same person carried out both the research and the practical work, the usefulness of FEM is examined via reflecting on the experience and generalising the knowledge. FEM supported the business analysis activities by enabling quick and systematic information gathering and comprehensible communication with various internal stakeholders. These insights can be used as a guideline for future practitioners planning to use FEM and for conducting further research regarding the applicability of FEM.
... 2. Following a set of rules summarized in Table 4, detect potential structural couplings that the organization may have. Table 4 encompasses the rules from [13] and the ones added in Section 4. The last rule has been created based on [4], we do not have examples for this rule in [13] or this work, but a case that follows this rule is presented in [30]. 3. Investigate whether the indicated potential structural couplings are, in fact, structural couplings. ...
... Essential customer, new rule based on [4], an example is presented in [30]. Added here to cover all types of structural couplings listed in [4] ...
Article
Full-text available
There are several ways of defining organizational identity and identity management. This article considers a less exploited one, namely, defining identity as a set of structural couplings that the organization has, and identity management as an activity aimed at maintaining these couplings. The concept of structural coupling comes from biological cybernetics, and it means that a system during its evolution becomes entangled with few other systems. The system at hand evolves together with these systems, adapts to them and causes them to adapt to it. The concept of structural coupling is applied in a study of an institution of higher education. To identify structural couplings, the authors use a so-called Fractal Enterprise Model that presents both internal structure of an organization and its business environment. The article analyzes to which elements of the environment an institution of higher education is structurally coupled and how the identity maintenance is arranged. The article provides examples of how well maintaining identity works in practice based on reflections on the authors' experience of working in the department. The article concludes with suggesting a generic procedure for identifying structural couplings and defining a strategy of maintaining these couplings.
... FEM as a language and notation is relatively mature, and it was used in a number of projects through the years, see, for example, [8]. Also, FEM is constantly revised and extended. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While there are many tools that can depict a business process on any level of detail, there is lack of tools to depict and/or design process architectures - an interconnected set of business processes that exist or are to be introduced in an organization. The FEM toolkit bridges this gap by providing a tool for process architects to discover the process architecture of an organization as-is or to develop a new one. The FEM toolkit facilitates this by providing means to discover or develop a so-called Fractal Enterprise Model (FEM) for an organization. FEM depicts interconnections between the business processes in an enterprise by connecting them to the assets they use and manage. Assets considered in the model could be tangible (buildings, heavy machinery, etc.) and intangible (reputation, business process definitions, etc.). The FEM toolkit has been developed with the help of the metamodeling environment ADOxx. It was successfully used in a number of practically oriented projects and for teaching purposes.
... Readers who are interested in viewing examples from specific organizations are referred to other works devoted to FEM technique, e.g. [12], [17], [18]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The article links two seemingly different fundamental theoretical concepts of autopoiesis and homeostasis and tries to apply them to the realm of socio-technical systems with the use of the Fractal Enterprise Model (FEM). Autopoiesis is the property of a system that constantly reproduces itself. Homeostasis describes a way a complex system constantly maintains its identity while adapting to changes in its internal and external environment. To be able to use FEM for this task, the original version of FEM has been extended by adding special elements for representing the system's context – part of the environment to which the system is structurally coupled. The approach taken in this article differs from other works in the same field in having the focus on the “body” (concrete elements being reproduced) of the socio-technical system, as well as on identifying concrete processes that reproduce the system, and demonstrating concrete ways of how a specific system adapts or can adapt to the perturbations in the environment (i.e. internal and external disturbances that affect the system).
... The result of this research produced more than a solution to the original problem, as FEM includes not only relations between the processes, but produces a map of assets usage and management in the organization. Therefore, we continue our work on FEM looking for other problems/challenges that can be solved using FEM; and enhancing FEM when necessary [37]. One example of a specific application of FEM is using FEM for business model innovation, see, for instance, [32]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The article is devoted to developing a methodological support for planning Design Science (DS) research projects. More exactly, it is aimed at developing a classification of a particular kind of cycles, inherent to DS research projects, and guidelines on how to choose the next cycle in a specific project. The classification and guidelines are based on results from an analysis of DS literature and a reflective analysis of our own research practice. As far as own research practice is concerned, two DS projects have been analyzed in detail. The analysis revealed that though both projects included cycles, the nature of these cycles was different. In the first project, cycles concerned finding a better problem to solve, while in the second project, cycles concerned finding a better solution for more or less the same problem. Both projects concern developing methodologies in the area of socio-technical systems, and the guidelines on how to choose the next cycle have special provisions related to such systems. In conclusion, the article presents examples of other projects that followed the suggested guidelines and discusses the difference of the suggested approach from other approaches to conduct DS research projects.
Article
Full-text available
Paper is in open access: http://bit.ly/2c3RI8P This paper suggests a new type of enterprise models called fractal enterprise models (FEM), with accompanying methodological support for their design. FEM shows interconnections between the business processes in an enterprise by connecting them to the assets they use and manage. Assets considered in the model could be tangible (buildings, heavy machinery, etc.) and intangible (employees, business process definitions, etc.). A FEM model is built by using two types of patterns called archetypes: a process-assets archetype that connects a process with assets used in it, and an asset-processes archetype that connects an asset with processes aimed to manage this asset (e.g., hiring people, or servicing machinery). Alternating these patterns creates a fractal structure that makes relationships between various parts of the enterprise explicit. FEM can be used for different purposes, including finding a majority of the processes in an enterprise and planning business change or radical transformation. Besides discussing FEM and areas of its usage, the paper presents results from a completed project in order to test the practical usefulness of FEM and its related methodological support.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses why business leaders should take EA more seriously as a truly strategic discipline. The author argues that to manage a complex enterprise you must understand how it functions, and to understand it an adequate model designed for the purpose is needed. Also, you must have the right information on which to base decisions, and for the organization to provide that information reliably, an adequate model of the organization as a system is necessary to make any sensible judgment about the informational needs of strategic decision making.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
When an organization has not adopted a uniform and standardized way of producing and storing process documentation, keeping track of and maintaining process documents can be a real challenge. In this paper we suggest a framework for organizing process documentation which is created in different notations, for different purposes, and stored in different formats. We show how this framework has been applied in a real case in an organization where such problems are present. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of the framework and suggest further development and testing of the framework to improve its usability.
Piecemeal identification, development, and support of an organisation's processes may lead to problems: first, it may be difficult to identify which processes should be supported, and, second, it is unlikely that processes developed piecemeal will either optimise the achievement of an organisation's objectives, or work well together. One solution involves identifying and modelling an organisation's process architecture, and then using it to develop and subsequently support the constituent processes. However, this solution leads to a new challenge: a number of different types of process architecture method have been proposed, but it is not clear which should be used in a given situation. To address this challenge, the article outlines a framework for classifying, evaluating, and comparing process architectures. Following the work of Rolland et al.(1998), the proposed framework considers process architecture methods from four different views: contents, form, purpose, and lifecycle. To partially validate the framework, it was used to classify and evaluate Riva (Ould 2005), a particular process architecture method. The result of this application of the framework suggests how it might be refined. It could then be used for comparing other process architecture methods. Such a comparative analysis should help practitioners choose between process architecture methods. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Conference Paper
An effective process architecture helps provide a high-level blueprint of the complexity underlying an enterprise, which is used by executive committees during key decision and change processes. As existing service standards focus on co-ordination, they fall short in describing the motivational structure depicted in such models. In order to progress towards standardization in this area of complexity, we discuss the ldquopracticalityrdquo of a process architecture, and present a set of 22 questions that can be used in the functional evaluation and construction of a process architecture. We use these questions to evaluate the current "state-of-the-art'' in business process architecture. We then apply the knowledge gathered during our evaluation and other work to develop the proposal for a general mapping framework that is capable of answering the set of queries we have proposed.
The Work System Method: Connecting People, Processes, and IT for Business Results
  • S Alter
Alter, S.: The Work system method: Connecting people, processes, and IT for business results. Work System Press (2006)