Wednesday 28 October 2015 – Lunchtime seminar with Dr Simon Polovina (Business Computing, SHU)

Diagram of connections of SHU Enterprise, student experience and vision/mission

Title: Models, Conceptual Structures, and Enterprise Architecture
Speaker: Dr Simon Polovina (Business Computing, SHU)

Many disciplines rely on models to represent reality. Models may range from a miniature representation of some physical entity, to a simplified representation of a system or phenomenon so we can understand and test it. Not all models can represent their corresponding real-world entities as easily as a model of a building or a motor car. Models of economic or social systems for instance are representations more of concepts and beliefs than physical forms. An enterprise, such as Sheffield Hallam University, is more than just its buildings, equipment or financial statements. Such visible entities are simply the structures that follow from its strategy, which is just as real. Strategy is moreover the driving entity and the enterprise is ineffective without it. Enterprise Architecture (EA) recognises that enterprises (profit-making or not) are essentially creative human endeavours. They are embodied in conceptual models that sit uneasily ‘on the same page’ with the structural models that depict how enterprises physically organise themselves to achieve those endeavours. These models pull in different directions and the physical entities tend to win out due to their visible presence; history shows the emergence of bureaucratic structures, inter-departmental conflicts, inadequate computer systems and other experiences where strategy is lost and ends up following structure: ‘The tail wagging the dog’. For EA we desire ‘conceptual structures’, which align the expressivity of conceptual models with the simplicity of structural models. In EA frameworks, conceptual structures are presently expressed through ‘metamodels’ that attempt to bring together the conceptual with the structural. The seminar thus explores the adequacy of these metamodels through a simple Financial Trading case study. It is shown that by aligning the conceptual, logical and mathematical levels of the metamodels, constructive relationships can be made between concepts and structures. As such, structures support rather than hinder the human creativity that enables enterprises to better reach their goals.

1.00PM – 2.00PM

See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.