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A Roadmap of Research for Enterprise Applications

The subject is the software or information systems used in enterprise. It is comprehensive, need to support the management and the general business in enterprise, often referred generally as enterprise application or some times, I prefer the term of enterprise information system. In this essay, uses the Enterprise Applications and EntApps for short.



The figure shows the elementary path and key points which in our exploration and research for enterprise applications. All the aspects around the central subject or the target -- the New Generation of Enterprise Applications we called.

In addition to the red oval (the target), each oval in the graph can be regarded as a milestone in the process of exploration. They can be roughly divided into the following three categories

  • the green ovals are the main starting points or reasons for research and exploration;
  • the yellow ovals are the key issues in the progress cognitive;
  • the blue ovals are the important issues or fields.

The arrows connecting them are showing the actual process of thinking and research, which coincide with their intrinsic logic relationships.

The graph has been simplified to avoid too complex, particularly in the key issues in the progress cognitive. The graph does not include the general field or topic related such as software engineering, information theory, systems engineering, governance, management, mathematics, and so on.


The following is a brief description for the elements in the graph.


In the perspective from which build a computerized enterprise, the enterprise application itself is an organic part of the whole enterprise system. The design and implementation logically covered in the design and implementation of the entire enterprise (Enterprise Engineering). Thus, the entire enterprise – the Management System and Business Processes are the starting point and destination of the work.


The Worries of the End Users for Enterprise Applications is an entrance of our exploration. From installation to customization, development/outsourcing, on the experience of a variety of confusion, we recognized that the Dynamically Changing is a certain requirement for enterprise applications from the end users and the real business.


The rise of Internet has changed business environment radically, but also changed the track of the evolution of enterprise applications.
In the figure, the red oval of the target (the New Generation of EntApps) is two-tiered -- Because the "one generation" of artifact we have envisioned has changed since the rise of the Internet.


Over the past decades, change becomes the basic topic for management. The use of IT in depth, which, on the one hand, may causes radical change to the internal and external environment of enterprise and brought the need to "reengineering" possibly, on the other hand, the change on the enterprise also changing the needs for IT artifacts again. We call this phenomenon as “dissimilation” with IT.


Open and Dynamic Collaboration are perhaps the most important and significant aspects of the influence of Internet to the needs of enterprise applications.


Dynamically changing business needs the dynamically changing applications. As a requirement from the users, it is not just “reducing the sensitivity to change”.


As any kind of artificial complex systems, Enterprise Engineering will eventually emerge. Enterprise Modeling (including Business Modeling) is a necessary foundation for its development, and also the bridge that connects Enterprise Engineering with Enterprise Applications.


The requirements for enterprise applications are always in dynamic change or evolution, which from the business and the users. Nevertheless, the outcome of traditional Requirements Analysis is a snapshot at a particular time. However, we have to not only find and describe the requirements AS-IS, but also need to research and create TO-BE. This is we called as Essential Requirements Analysis and Research (ERAR).


We use the term "model-driven" in a more definite way, i.e. the "model-driven mechanism". In short, the Model-Driven Mechanism (MDS) is an answer about our fundamental question “how a model works”. Further, a system has model-driven mechanism can be called Model-Driven System (MDS). However, the use of "model-driven" is not contradictory to the current popular usage. Soon after, I will discuss these topics in future blog posts.


There is much attention paid to the modeling language. It may have to study from more perspectives, such as Notations, Representational Theory.


We feel that the lack of some general fundamental theory in our studies of models and modeling in software or information systems, and enterprise (business) modeling, but also it seems you can see certain outline of Generic Modeling (models) Theory.


Our focus is always on that how model works in a system, and attempt to summarize or discover certain important or basic Model Working Mechanisms, such as model driven mechanism.


Of course, we never regard the model-driven mechanism as the only or exclusive mechanism to build an enterprise application. We believe that a new generation of enterprise applications requires a combination of a variety of architecture (styles) and system working mechanisms.

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Comment by Mountriver TY Yu on January 25, 2011 at 3:58
Leue, thank you comments!

About your first issue, I fully agree, and you can see the bubble (blue oval) with tag ‘Enterprise Modeling, Architecture’ and ‘Enterprise Engineering’. In other hand, the modeling for software/information system is very important main field but it is not the focus in my research because it has already too many works. I paid more attentions to the model’s use and content, and so, do not put the bubble on the graph.

The others, I think you made good tips, Please see the following posts soon:-)
Comment by Andreas Leue on January 24, 2011 at 19:25

Very interesting and comprehensive!


While it might be considered as too obvious, I think besides the yellow ovals, which emphasize the dynamic nature of enterprises and enterprise apps, the target of modelling itself (the enterprise in realtiy) might be worth it's own bubble. It is already addressed partially by the green bubble "Management System, Biz Process", but not in it's entirety.


The reason is, I think there are fundamental structures, which have to be considered in architecture and app design. An example is process modelling, whose basic categories are fundamental to human work in general. Similarly, the concept of "space" becomes  more important in software systems, as they grow from local applications into landscapes.


If the goal of modelling is to find most appropriate projections of the modelled target, the modelled target itself is surely worth a careful examination itself.


As for additional architecture styles and system working mechanisms, I very much agree. Given the present state of system architecture, the transformators are forced to create a huge world each time we asked only for a little system. The amount of variable information should be reduced by other means than MD before MD can be applied with ease. This is e.g. true with regard to user interfaces.




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