Business intelligence enabled adaptive enterprise architecture

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This project is pending approval as a sub-project within the NSERC Business Intelligence Network BIN.

Overview

The ability to rapidly respond to changing environmental conditions is crucial for the viability and success of many organizations today. BI technologies enable managers and decision makers to extract meaningful information from vast amounts of data from many sources, in order to take timely and effective action, e.g., to change product mix, redirect marketing efforts, and even to rethink strategy. All of these actions however, are constrained by the limitations of the IT systems in the organization. The difficulty in aligning IT with business strategies and priorities has long been recognized as an ongoing challenge among top executives. This project proposes to use BI as a central component to address the business-IT alignment challenge. The analysis and understanding obtained through BI will be used to guide and direct enterprise adaptation, feeding into organizational change processes, including changes in business processes and IT systems. The project will build upon the latest research advances in (1) adaptive software technologies which are driven by high-level models of the business and its context, (2) BI modeling (the BIM project within BIN) which relates BI data to business strategies and goals, and (3) enterprise-wide modeling as a basis for enterprise architecture and IT-alignment. Many of the concepts underlying all three areas have their common origin in goal- and agent-oriented requirements engineering, for which the project team is well known. This exploratory project will elaborate and test the vision of BI as an integral part of enterprise architecture to drive the IT evolution cycle, leading to high responsiveness, vastly reduced adaption cycle times, and data-driven evidence-based closed-loop business-IT alignment.


Advancement to the state of the art

The major novelty is that BI will not only be used to help make business decisions, but to guide the ongoing evolution of the IT systems in an organization. Most enterprise information systems support the forward path from strategy to execution, automating (mostly predefined and hard-to-change) processes. BI technologies can now provide feedback paths from the sensed environment to high-level decision making. However, the forward and feedback paths are largely operated independently, without systematic coordination. The proposed approach could lead to a new paradigm for enterprise computing, emphasizing closed loop adaptation mechanisms that connect the forward actuating paths and the sensing and interpretation feedback paths, to achieve highly responsive IT systems that are continuously aligned with the business.

This project will complement Enterprise Architecture (EA) frameworks such as Zachman and TOGAF by incorporating BI into EA modeling and process. Recent work in EA has started to incorporate goal modeling techniques from requirements engineering [Quartel 10].

The project will introduce a data-driven BI-enabled approach to Software Engineering (SE) and Requirements Engineering (RE). The vast resources of enterprise data can be used to feed into the RE process, filtered and interpreted through the BI model (BIM). Incorporating BI into the system development lifecycle is a significant shift for RE. Current practice is to elicit requirements from stakeholders and users (e.g., through interviews) with only indirect connections to data. A direct connection to data can make the software much more responsive to rapidly changing environmental conditions.

The project will also help advance research on adaptive software technologies, but providing and enterprise-wide modeling and architecture context. The project will connect various strands of research into a unified framework.


References

Eric S. K. Yu, Markus Strohmaier, Xiaoxue Deng: Exploring Intentional Modeling and Analysis for Enterprise Architecture. EDOC Workshops 2006: 32

E. Yu, P. Giorgini, N. Maiden, J. Mylopoulos (eds). Social Modeling for Requirements Engineering. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2011.

Daniele Barone, Eric Yu, Jihyun Won, Lei Jiang, and John Mylopoulos. Enterprise Modeling for Business Intelligence. 3rd IFIP WG8.1 Working Conference on the Practice of Enterprise Modelling (PoEM2010), Delft, The Netherlands, November 9-12, 2010. pp. 31-45.

Jennifer Horkoff, Eric. S.K. Yu. Evaluating Goal Achievement in Enterprise Modeling – An Interactive Procedure and Experiences. Proc. 2nd IFIP WG8.1 Working Conference on the Practice of Enterprise Modeling, PoEM 2009. Stockholm, Sweden. Nov. 2009. 145-160.

Reza Samavi, Eric Yu, and Thodoros Topaloglou. Strategic Reasoning about Business Models: A Conceptual Modeling Approach. Information Systems and e-Business Management. Springer. 7(2) 171-198. 2009

Amyot, D., Ghanavati, S., Horkoff, J., Mussbacher, G., Peyton, L. and Yu, E. Evaluating Goal Models within the Goal-oriented Requirement Language. International Journal of Intelligent Systems (IJIS), 25(8) August 2010, 841–877.

John C. Henderson, N. Venkatraman: Strategic Alignment: Leveraging Information Technology for Transforming Organizations. IBM Systems Journal 32(1): 4-16 (1993) Chan Y. and Reich B. (2007). IT Alignment: What have we learned? Journal of Information Technology 22: 295-315.

Dick A. C. Quartel, Wilco Engelsman, Henk Jonkers, Marten van Sinderen: A Goal-Oriented Requirements Modelling Language for Enterprise Architecture. EDOC 2009: 3-13

Marc M. Lankhorst, Henderik Alex Proper, Henk Jonkers: The Architecture of the ArchiMate Language. BMMDS/EMMSAD 2009: 367-380

John A. Zachman: A Framework for Information Systems Architecture. IBM Systems Journal 26(3): 276-292 (1987)

Open Group. TOGAF – The Open Group Architectural Framework. www.opengroup.org/togaf/

Pourshahid, A., Richards, G., and Amyot, D. (2011) Toward a Goal-Oriented, Business Intelligence Decision-Making Framework. 5th Int. MCETECH Conf. on eTechnologies, Les Diablerets, Switzerland, Jan. 2011. LNBIP, Springer

Alireza Pourshahid, Gunter Mussbacher, Daniel Amyot, Michael Weiss: Toward an aspect-oriented framework for business process improvement. IJEB 8(3): 233-259 (2010)

Fabiano Dalpiaz, Paolo Giorgini, John Mylopoulos: An Architecture for Requirements-Driven Self-reconfiguration. CAiSE 2009: 246-260

Fabiano Dalpiaz, Amit K. Chopra, Paolo Giorgini, John Mylopoulos: Adaptation in Open Systems: Giving Interaction Its Rightful Place. ER 2010: 31-45

Fabiano Dalpiaz. Exploiting Contextual and Social Variability for Software Adaptation. PhD Dissertation. DISI. University of Trento, Italy. Jan 2011.

Alexei Lapouchnian “Towards Requirements-Driven Autonomic Systems Design”, First ICSE Workshop on Design and Evolution of Autonomic application Software (DEAS’05), May 2005; ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes 30(4), July 2005, ISBN:1-59593-039-6.

Alexei Lapouchnian, Yijun Yu, John Mylopoulos: Requirements-Driven Design and Configuration Management of Business Processes. BPM 2007:246-261

Wang, Y., McIlraith, S., Yu, Y., Mylopoulos, J., “An Automated Approach for Monitoring and Diagnosing Requirements”, 22nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE’07), Atlanta, November 2007, 293-302. (Distinguished paper award; acceptance rate 11.8%, 312 submissions)

Yiqiao Wang, Sheila A. McIlraith, Yijun Yu, John Mylopoulos: Monitoring and diagnosing software requirements. Autom. Softw. Eng. (ASE) 16(1):3-35 (2009)

Volha Bryl, Paolo Giorgini, John Mylopoulos: Designing socio-technical systems: from stakeholder goals to social networks. Requir. Eng. 14(1): 47-70 (2009)