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Title: Formal support for an informal business modelling method
Author: Chen-Burger, Yun-Heh
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Business modelling methods provide a structural framework to help capture the knowledge about an enterprise which forms the basis for targeted analysis and subsequent reshaping of that enterprise. Although the potential benefits that can be obtained by applying these methods have convinced many businesses to use them, the modellers are faced with a key problem: how to ensure the quality of the model they build. The difficulty is partly rooted in the fact that large parts of these methods are informal. A possible solution to this problem are "heavy-weighted" formal methods, which can be helpful in providing precision and quality assurance for such models. They are, however, rarely practised, because of the prohibitively large cost implied when using them, and due to the fact that the end product, i.e. the description of the model, is often so complicated that it cannot easily be understood without specific professional training first. As a more practical answer to the problem, a formal language based on a "light-weighted" approach and for use with an informal business modelling method has been developed. The concrete example used in this dissertation is IBM's Business System Development Method (BSDM). The role of the formal notation in this case is not to provide a formal semantics for the given method, but to provide a mechanism for sharing the information supplied at different modelling stages and for automated analysis of the model using logic. Based on the formal language, a layered modelling framework for capturing the knowledge of the business modelling method as well as the models themselves has been proposed. The original method (BSDM) has been extended to include a model execution phase. This provides the necessary computational platform for automatic verification and validation facilities to support the plan-build-test-refine model development lifecycle. Gradual accumulation of model building knowledge is achieved through Case-Based Reasoning techniques leading to improved modelling guidance over time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available