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RE: [ontac-forum] Enterprise Model categories and ontology

To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "Roy Roebuck (roy.roebuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)" <Roy.Roebuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Roy Roebuck" <Roy.Roebuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2005 09:56:04 -0400
Message-id: <878871F15E22CF4FA0CCFDD27A763B2F3A8DA2@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi Gary:


1. Thanks for the very useful feedback.  I greatly appreciate it.  I’ll address your points immediately below and in [] inline with your preceding text.


2. For those seeking further reference, TOVE is the Toronto Virtual Enterprise project, presented at http://www.eil.utoronto.ca/enterprise-modelling/index.html.  It identifies the following as its foundational and business ontologies (with my corresponding general ontology (GO) terms in []:


3. Conversely, the TOVE, when arrayed in [] against the GO is shown below:


Enterprise Reference Model

  • Enterprise Reference Catalogs (i.e., Taxonomies consisting of subject classes, subclasses, and instances) (See attached Slide35)
    • Location Catalog
    • Organization Catalog [TOVE Organization]
    • OrganizationUnit Catalog
    • Function Catalog.  See attached Slide183 for representation of Executive, Production, and Support functions.
    • Process Catalog [TOVE Activity and Activity-Based Costing]
    • Resource Catalog [TOVE Resources and Products]
    • Requirement (Mission) Catalog [TOVE Requirements and Activity-Based Costing]
  • Enterprise Relation Types (Categories of space, time, energy, matter, intelligence (see Slide42) relations stated as verbs and verb phrases)
    • Category Relations (including the above Reference Catalogs and other categorization relations across catalogs, “is a” type relations)
    • Containment Relations (a subject has components or is contained, subject composition and distribution, “has a” type relations)
    • Sequence Relations (Predecessor/successor, value-chain, dependencies, transitions, migrations, evolution, revolution, cause and effect)
    • Change Relations (subject was x in the past, may be y in the future)
    • Variant Relations (subject is based-on/derived-from z, subject is the basis for w)
    • Equivalence Relations (subject is, is equal to, is partially x)
    • Reference Relations (subject refers to y)
  • Enterprise Value Chain Roles (See attached Slide14)
    • Customer
    • Supplier
    • Authority
    • Partner
    • Internal
    • Outsource
    • Public

The relations between classes and instances in the Reference Catalogs (i.e., GO root taxonomies) are defined using the Relation Types, with the semantic networks formed across subject concepts/taxonomies yielding the “ontology” of each subject within the GO, or of the ‘enterprise-as-subject” in the aggregate.  See attached Slide36.

4. So the GO and TOVE partially agree, with the divergence based on vantage point and experience.  Over the past couple of decades, I’ve researched many such projects, and consider them to be subsets of the GO.

The vantage point I’m using is that of viewing the enterprise as a single thing/object within an environment containing other enterprises to which it relates through individual value-chains aggregated into what I call an enterprise’s value-lattice.  So I’m looking at the enterprise as holistically as I can envision, from the outside in.  Also, the GO is intended to be an operational/executable ontology, with its populated structures and applied methods providing a comprehensive knowledge-base for the concurrent strategic management spiral life cycle of all enterprise operations (e.g., functional operations in support of enterprise mission).

My experiences in this goes back to 1982-1985 when I conceived of this approach in graduate school (MS, Systems Management) where I used the concept “enterprise as system”, and later “enterprise as object” as my major research theme on managing an enterprise as a whole.  At the same time, I was the Assistant Resource Manager of a 16000 person Army organization that was required to re-justify itself  (i.e., mission, structure, assets, functions, processes) to its authorities for the first time in over seven years after having grown beyond its approved levels in response to NATO defense requirements.  My duties encompassed modeling and justifying the warfighting and peacetime organizational structure, staffing, equipment, facilities, services, personnel/skillsets, budget, etc., of the Command based on its mission and supporting functions.  I succeeded at this 1982-1987 re-justification, re-organization, re-equiping, and IT planning and implementation project, due largely to my GO methods, data structure, and tools. 

From my above referenced experience in developing and using the GO over the past 23 years, I would submit that GO is not immature, but is actually a relatively mature ontology.  I do not submit that GO is a technically correct ontology, because the specification of what makes a technically correct ontology was not available when the GO came into form, and is still evolving.  Our COSMO group can perhaps help with this GO maturation by challenging its technical weaknesses. 

5. In the meantime, note that TOVE has an excellent methodology for creating ontologies (http://www.eil.utoronto.ca/enterprise-modelling/entmethod/index.html and  shown immediately below), which I believe the GO can satisfy, and which I believe we should use for COSMO, along with other ontology methodologies such as the “relations” methodology suggest to me by Barry Smith.

TOVE Enterprise Modelling Methodology

  • “Define a set of Motivating Scenarios
  • Define a set of Informal Competency Questions that the ontology must answers in order to support the motivating scenarios
  • Using First-Order Logic, define the Terminology of the ontology
  • Formally redefine the Competency Questions using the terminology and first-order logic
  • Define the semantics and constraints on the terminology using first-order logic “

I also believe that the GO can satisfy the four levels of “knowledge provenance” identified in the TOVE knowledge management research program (http://www.eil.utoronto.ca/km/index.html)

Note that the GO approach leverages such ISO standards as ISO 14258 (Concepts and Rules for Enterprise Models) and ISO 15704 (Requirements for enterprise-reference architectures and methodologies), and because GO implementations would typically include detailed process knowledge/information/data can be used to support such process maturity efforts as CMMI, CMM, ISO 9000.2000, etc.



CommIT Enterprises, Inc.

Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Management, Security, and Knowledge

Roy Roebuck III
Senior Enterprise Architect

2231 Crystal Drive, Ste 501
Arlingon, VA



+1 (703)-598-2351
+1 (703) 486-5540
+1 (703) 486-5506


 Add me to your address book...


From: ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gary Berg-Cross
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 5:25 PM
To: ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [ontac-forum] Enterprise Model categories and ontology


I'm a few days behind on the messages, but Roy mentioned building an ontology for a" purposeful endeavor, i.e., an "enterprise", to ask and answer questions in a manner that would be understood by all others within the enterprise and/or its external environment."  This is kindred to my earlier suggestion that an ontology as a model needs to have a purpose to focus the effort and I have a few observations on the topic



Rou provided some definitions for things like Enterprise = a purposeful endeavor = a mission (regardless of number of participants, budget, physical dispersal, etc.


and a set of basic questions usually showed up using their natural name (time, space, etc.) in forms and reports, or were more typically re-labeled as shown in the 7 categories below.

  1. Location
  1. Organization
  1. Organization Unit
  1. Function
  1. Process
  1. Resource
  1. Requirement   

He then proposed that the seven sets of basic question categories form the root classes of his generalized ontology.

I think it relevant to mention the experience with Enterprise Ontologies such as TOVE going back a dozen years or so. [The various published enterprise ontology projects, as well as the enterprise modeling and enterprise reference architecture and methodology projects (e.g., PERA) should also be considered.] Mike Gunninger participated in the frist meeting so he might have much more to say, but a simple observation is that Enterprise Ontologies have developed quite a bit more specfics including the important relations between makor areas and enterprise elements.  [GO has some specifics, illustrated in the attached Slide48.  Note that the diagram in Slide48 has been cited as representing a possible foundation for a future form of the OMB FEA.  From a GO perspective, specifics and variants are provided by GO-included projects/initiatives/Frameworks like TOVE, PERA, Zachman, FEA, DoDAF, and TOGAF, and standards like those illustrated in the attached Slide184]

The following, for example, is a list of the terms defined in the Enterprise Ontology developed by the AI Applications Institute at the University of Edinburgh with partners: IBM, Lloyd's Register, Logica UK Limited, and Unilever.  It includes a Strategy area and Time, which was also modeled in TOVE. 


The central concept of the Strategy section is Purpose. [The central concept of the GO is “endeavor”, equivalent to purpose.] Purpose captures the idea either of something which a PLAN can HELP ACHIEVE or that an ORGANISATION UNIT [Same as GO OrganizationUnit] can be responsible for. [The GO has a a “strategic management process” supported by an “Intelligence Management Process”, shown at Slide45, which includes “plan” and related concepts in the following list.  Note that “Marketing” below would be included as a “function” in the GO Function Catalog, categorized as a production function.  An interesting exercise to help validate GO as a candidate for the COSMO would include mapping the items below to their corresponding item in the GO metaschema, methodology, and possible technology.]



Activity Specification, Execute, Executed Activity Specification, T-Begin, T-End, Pre-Conditions, Effect, Doer, Sub-Activity, Authority, Activity Owner, Event, Plan, Sub-Plan, Planning, Process Specification, Capability, Skill, Resource, Resource Allocation, Resource Substitute.


Person, Machine, Corporation, Partnership, Partner, Legal Entity, Organisational Unit, Manage, Delegate, Management Link, Legal Ownership, Non-Legal Ownership, Ownership, Owner, Asset, Stakeholder, Employment Contract, Share, Share Holder.


Purpose, Hold Purpose, Intended Purpose, Strategic Purpose, Objective, vision, Mission, Goal, Help Achieve, Strategy, Strategic Planning, Strategic Action, Decision, Assumption, Critical Assumption, Non-Critical Assumption, Influence Factor, Critical Influence Factor, Non-Critical Influence Factor, Critical Success Factor, Risk.


Sale, Potential Sale, For Sale, Sale Offer, Vendor, Actual Customer, Potential Customer, Customer, Reseller, Product, Asking Price, Sale Price, Market, Segmentation Variable, Market Segment, Market Research, Brand Image, Feature, Need, Market Need, Promotion, Competitor.


Time Line, Time Interval, Time Point.

The point is that we should build on prior work [I submit that the GO is significantly-prior work, preceding many other published ontology efforts by several years in most cases.]and also go beyond simple categories to models with structured relations. [I submit that the GO is more that just categories, as shown by this response.]  As Eric mention some of these topics has been previously discussed in the SUO forum.  Some of it is older than that.  Lattice hierarchies were mentioned several times and Roy mentioned some thimgs such as a set of relations that seemd to me to not being the state of the art of thinking about these things. [That remains to be seen, and perhaps validated by this COSMO effort.  I have been observing and tracking this “art” for quite a while, and have yet to see anything that encompasses the capabilities offered by the GO, while GO does encompass, but not necessarily cite, everything I’ve see to date.]


Below is the hierarchy lattice of ontologies from a 1994 KIF library. Each ontology defined a set of formal terms ande  an ontology at one level includes those ontologies that it are indented under it.  This just illustrates that some of these issues have been discussed before and we should make sure we aren't wasting time by starting at immature points.  [KIF (http://logic.stanford.edu/kif/dpans.html) represents a very technical and specific Knowledge Interchange Format, and it is quite feasible to consider documenting GO and COSMO in KIF, OWL, and other ontology formats.  However, since in the past my intent for GO was to support enterprise/endeavor management in general, formal ontological documentation was not a priority.]


                      Simple-Geometry ...
                      Vt-Design ...
Unary-Scalar-Functions ...
Tensor-Quantities ...
                      Simple-Geometry ...
                   Vt-Design ...
                Mechanical-Components ...
Components-With-Constraints ...
Dme-Cml ...
          Parametric-Constraints ...
          Frame-Ontology ...
Kif-Extensions ...
       Kif-Extensions ...
          Kif-Extensions ...
Kif-Meta ...
Kif-Relations ...


 Gary Berg-Cross

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