Market competition is forcing firms to reconsider how they are organized to compete. As a basis for change, they are exploring a variety of concepts, including Time-based Competition, Quality Function Deployment, Activity-Based Costing, Quality Circles, Continuous Improvement, Process Innovation, and Business Process Re-Engineering. Regrettably, most of the concepts are descriptive, if not ad hoc, and lack a formal model which would enable their consistent application across firms. Consider business process re-engineering [Davenport 93], [Hammer & Champy 93]. It is very much in the “guild” mold of application; management consultants are the “masters” and they impart their knowledge through “apprenticeship” to other consultants. The knowledge of business process re-engineering has yet to be formalized and reduced to engineering practice.
The Goals of Enterprise Engineering
The goal of the Enterprise Engineering Project at the University of Toronto is to:
- Formalize the knowledge found in Enterprise Engineering perspectives such as Time-based Competition, Quality Function Deployment, Activity-Based Costing, Quality Circles, Continuous Improvement, Process Innovation, and Business Process Re-Engineering. By formalize, we mean the identification, formal representation and computer implementation of the concepts, methods and heuristics which comprise a particular perspective. This not only enables a precise formulation of the intuitions implicit in practice, but it is also a step towards automating the execution of certain tasks involved in enterprise engineering.
- Integrate the knowledge into a software tool that will support the enterprise engineering function by exploring alternative organization models spanning organization structure and behaviour. The Enterprise Engineering system allows for the exploration of a variety of enterprise designs. The process of exploration is one of design, analysis and re-design, where the system not only provides a comparative analysis of enterprise design alternatives, but can also provide guidance to the designer.
- Provide a means for visualizing the enterprise from many of the perspectives mentioned above. The process of design is performed through the creation, analysis and modification of the enterprise from within each of the perspective visualizations.
An Enterprise Design Workbench is a design environment that allows the user to explore a variety of enterprise design. The process of exploration is one of design, analysis and re-design, where the workbench not only provides a comparative analysis of enterprise design alternatives, but can also provide guidance to the designer. The research is divided up into the following tasks:
Generic Enterprise Models
The goal of this research is to create a generic, reusable representations of Enterprise Knowledge that can be reused across a variety of applications. A rich and precise representation lies at the heart of Enterprise Design.This research will expand upon the TOVE enterprise model (see attached paper on TOVE). This task will provide a set of standard objects that can be used as a basis for the process of modelling in order to build a system that can be used with out considerable knowledge in computer science.
Enterprise Design Perspectives
The best enterprise design is one that optimises each of the perspectives that exist in the enterprise. Examples of enterprise perspectives include: Quality, Cost, Efficiency, and Agility, and management perspectives such as Motivation, Culture, and Incentives. This task will develop for each perspective a theory of design that results in the optimisation of the perspective. The theory will incorporate the ability to measure a partial/complete design and to guide the designer in the decision making.
For example, consider the efficiency perspective. The modelling task will provide ontologies (i.e., object libraries) that can be used to construct a model of the activities of a process, its resource usages, constraints, time, etc. Based on these models the efficiency perspective will provide tools to design, analyze and evaluate organisational activities, processes, and structures. These tools will also be capable to represent and model the current status of an enterprise and to analyze and assess potential changes. One issue is whether there exists sufficient knowledge of the process of designing and optimising business activties/processes to incorporate in knowledge-based tools.
User Interface for Enterprise Design
The success of an Enterprise Design Work bench depends upon the ease with which it can be used to support an application. The ergonomics of the interface represent a significant research issue. Issues include the appropriate level of abstraction at which design occurs, symbology, and visualization.
One additional requirement the workbench has to support workgroups, i.e., different people will be working on or with the same enterprise model and the system has to coordinate these activities. This also includes it has to support concurrent modelling processes and to coordinate and monitor the contributions and activities of different people that are involved in these tasks. This includes the negotiation of inconsistent changes to the model.
The goal of the Enterprise Design application project is to develop a software tool that enables a manager to explore alternative enterprise designs that encompass both the structure and behavior of the enterprise over extended periods of time. Issues such as motivation, culture, incentives are explored along with organization structure, functions, activity, cost, quality, information, etc.