BEOM - A practical way to build concrete ontology for concrete enterprise

BEOM - практический способ создания конкретных онтологий для конкретного предприятия
Boris Shvedina
a Dun Rose Ltd.

When Lord of God wants to punish a person, He deprives him of reason. Can we continue this thought and transpose it to the organization, social beings? When Lord of God wants to punish the organization or enterprise, He deprives them of the mind?
All social structures are the person-maded beings, and appear as products of the process of social evolution. Therefore of decisive importance is the quality of the design of the social structure in general and the their "brain" in particular.

One of the decisive conditions for survival of the social organism is its ability to organize, store and transmit own experiences and thus provide proactive behavior in the environment of the organization. Design of experience inheritance systems named QuaSy - is an attempt to create a virtual "brain" of the organization. And if a person has a material carrier of experience, this is his brain,  social organizm  of such a tangible carrier of his own experience does not have up to now.

Corporate information systems QuaSy, built on the basis of the ontological model BEOM, acquire a totally new mission for management information systems (MIS), they become a tool that allows you to organize, to store and to structure the experience of a singular specific company or organization.

1. Business Entity Ontological Model (BEOM)

1.1. Enterprise Ontology

In contrast to the ontology of the material world, or, in other words, in contrast to the inanimate world ontology, the ontology of social systems is more complex, as is directly related to human activity. In particular, this applies to the enterprise ontology. Under the well-known study "Enterprise Project" enterprise ontology is defined as a set of terms and definitions relevant to business. Conceptually, Enterprise Ontology is divided into several main sections. The fact that the concept of activity is central. Mike Uschold, Martin King, Stuart Moralee and Janis Zorgios (1998 [1].

It turns out in the form of terms and definitions collection. If ontology is  theory of being we cannot initially represent ontology only as a mosaic of elements and sections. It is necessary to offer a concept (theory) that can collect all of them together.
In 2006 has appeared the book by Jan Dietz «Enterprise Ontology: Theory and Methodology» [2]. The author offers non-standard understanding of the enterprise ontology. Enterprise is considered as heterogeneous system in the category of social systems. In turn, social system means that its elements are social individuals, subjects (doers) of activity.
At the heart of the offered approach to understanding of enterprise ontology so-called y - theory lies. The name y - theory is deciphered on the basis of the Greek letter y pronunciation in the English transcription PSI (Performance in Social Interaction). Base theoretical paradigm of y - theory consists of four axioms and one theorem. Uniting role in enterprise formation belongs to people.
In practice it is one of the first most successful attempts to construct independent complete conceptual meta-model for description of the enterprise activity, based on the interdiscipline approach. Though it does not have comprehensive  methodological integrity and it is theoretically fragmentary, it is, undoubtedly, a step forward in comparison with understanding of enterprise ontology as a collections of terms, definitions and notions.
As it seems, we should co-ordinate consideration of practical application of enterprise ontology with  activity analysis of numerous developers of applied information systems for enterprises. Each developer, from such leaders as SAP, IBM, ORACLE to less large and less known companies, try to create unique applied ontology by their own means or by using of experts from outside, it doesn't matter if they use the name «enterprise ontology» for their work or not. Therefore in the majority of cases we have to deal with latent ontologies.
Quite often developers call these concepts subject domain model, problem statement, etc. Sometimes such ontologies are explicited, but more often not. In most cases only a superficial description of concept is offered, at the best a post factum, as developers believe that existence of the information system created by them is already the unconditional proof of implicit existence of concept itself, or at least applied ontology that is the same. However exhaustive verbal or graphic articulation of applied ontology is critically necessary.
As one of possible directions of enterprise ontology development we are offered “QuaSy ontology” which is theory and practice of BEOM creation  and is based on experientology and the Systemic- Situational Analysis of Activity (SSAA). [3] [4]BEOM is a special type of ontological model like a certain object language, like some kind of a conceptual matrix that allows us to seize and structure activity of various organizational structures. 

1.2. Types of ontological models of enterprise

The ontological model of business object or enterprise - BEOM (Business Entity Ontological Model) is a model of the organization of activity of the concrete enterprise.
The ontological model of information system - ISOM (Information System Ontological Model) is the holistic model of information system of a concrete singular enterprise. On the one hand, ISOM is built and developed on the basis of BEOM, and on the basis of available modern software technologies on other hand. ISOM includes both substantiation of information system architecture as a whole and its separate modules (components), ways and principles of their integration, and also substantiation of data structure model and data exchange concept.
Components of ISOM are: Firstly, Data Model and Data structure.  Often in computer sciences are used similar terms: metadata, or master-data. Secondly, Model and structure of interfaces for access to data and reports. Thirdly, Model and structure of basic and auxiliary (infrastructural, or service) algorithms used for construction of reports, carrying out of conditions analysis, and also providing support of decision-making processes.
The ontological model of technological infrastructure - TIOM (Technological Infrastructure Ontological Model) is the holistic model of technological environment (infrastructure) of a particular developing enterprise that is based on ISOM requirements. It includes ground of technical equipment choice, from configuration of computers themselves to connection systems, information networks, communication and safety systems. A particular technological infrastructure of a particular enterprise built on the basis of TIOM must provide reliable and uninterrupted work of enterprise information system itself.

1.3. Definition  of BEOM

The ontological model of enterprise BEOM (Business Entity Ontological Model) is the holistic dynamically evolving model of an alive particular individual enterprise, allowing to organize, structure, accumulate and transfer experience of its life activity in particular situations and to provide self-management,  survival and adaptive behavior in the environment during all life cycle. BEOM is oppositional to fragmentary model of conglomerate of detached business processes by which we usually are trying to describe enterprise behavior. [5]
As the synonymic notions, word combinations and abbreviations further there will be used: BEOM, ontological model of enterprise.
Architecture of BEOM is consist from two compound parts organically connected with each other.  Firstly, it is finite set of its  principal elements. Actually BEOM is built out of these elements. It is some kind of "genom" of ontological model. Each particular enterprise can has different content for these elements,  moreover every singular enterprise can  has a unique combination of these elements, but their finite set and typological structure will be the same. Main structure-forming elements of BEOM are: subjects (doers) of business activity, objects of business activity, tasks of business activity and relations of business activity.  Secondly, it is an ontological coordinates of BEOM where ontological model exists and develops. In other words it is possible to name them auxiliary, or meta-structural elements, they are: space, time, ontological classifier PECAD, and also technologies of substantial and infrastructural naming.

1.4. Kinds of BEOM

Typology of ontological models can be constructed by means of analysis of level and degree of generalization (stereotypization)  of experience reflected by them, and also dependently  from  kinds of activity that are described by them. We distinguish the following kinds of ontological models: Meta-BEOM; Domain BEOM or sectorial BEOM; Specific or unique singular BEOM.

·       Meta-BEOM is understood as top-level ontology for all possible existing enterprises and wider for organizations as such. It is ontological model of an abstract enterprise, or meta-enterprise. Meta-BEOM is an typological model of a generalized enterprise or organization. Meta-BEOM carry highly generalized, and deeply preserved experience received from all set of the researched enterprises.
·       Domain BEOM or sectoral BEOM is the ontological model of the average level.  Sectoral models reflect generalized, preserved experience in set of the surveyed enterprises or organizations in a particular sphere or industry. They can belong to various industries, agriculture etc. As separate sectors we can consider activity of official bodies, state organizations, authorities and also military domain.
·       Specific or unique singular BEOM is the ontological model of a particular individual enterprise or  organization. It reflects and articulates structured, preserved experience of a particular individual enterprise or organization.  
·       Significant to note that structurally and typologically all the three kinds of ontological models coincide. Their semantic matrixes are isomorphic. These three kinds of ontological models differ only with a content. 
·       Structuring and generalization of experience open new possibilities for its transferring not only at sectoral, but also at intersectorial level.

1.5. Basic Elements of BEOM

1.5.1. BEOM: Subjects of Activity

Subject (doer) of activity is an individual or a group, who (or that) cognize, thinks and operates. Doer of activity. Subject of activity is a source and carrier of action and experience. Subjects of activity are people (employees) and/or organizational structures (set of enterprises, separate enterprises, structural departments of an enterprise or an organization, etc.).  Subjects of activity are active elements (components) of ontological model possessing an ability for purposeful organized activity. They possess intentionality. Only subjects of activity are able to set and fulfill tasks. Subject of activity can have rather complex structure, and in turn include other subjects. For example, to manage a project as extremely complex hierarchic meta-task consisting of other sub-tasks, temporary cross-functional command can be created acting as a subject of activity. In BEOM have represented various typologies and classifications of subjects of activity.

1.5.2. BEOM: Objects of Activity

Objects of activity are passive elements of ontological model. Objects of activity can be: main assets, buildings, constructions, machines, computers, etc., various materials used in production of goods, for example, metal, wood, grain, etc., also finished products as result of manufacturing.  Besides, non-material assets can be objects of activity.

1.5.3. BEOM: Tasks of Activity

Structuring of business , construction of unified  complete model of enterprise assumes splitting of business into tasks. Constructing consistent, complete, and interconnected tree of tasks for an enterprise is not a trivial problem at all. We name such tree the Mereotopological Tree of Tasks (MTT). 
The term mereotopology was introduced into formal ontology by Barry Smith in 1996. [6] Mereotopology is considered by him as formal theory uniting mereology (the doctrine about parts and whole) and topology (relations between parts and whole). 
Mereotopological Tasks Tree - (MTT) is the unified, organically complete three-dimensional heterogeneous architecture of tasks, reflecting their vertically and horizontally oriented articulation and also all possible ontologically significant relations between tasks.

1.5.4. BEOM: Relations of Activity

Relations of activity are those links that form between subjects (doers) of activity in process of concrete tasks fulfilling in certain conditions. Relations of activity "curdle", concentrate, and preserve in different extent in norms, regulations, contracts and organization structures. Relations of activity are divided into relations of external and internal activity. 
Relations of internal activity. As norms and rules here can be a system of exactly formulated and articulated positions and concepts and/or finished models of logistics as a part of organization technologies providing interaction between various participants of internal activity during fulfilling of various tasks. Both norms and rules are always connected with a certain task (tasks) and serve it. 
Relations of external activity. They are those relations that form between subjects (doers) of activity outside ontological borders of an enterprise itself. They are norms and rules that are set by various institutional structures, both at the international level and at the level of particular state (country) requirements. For example, they are ISO standards regulating activity of enterprises and organizations, INCOTERMS, GAFTA etc. Relations of external activity first of all settle and are preserved in different contracts signed between sides, agreements with various external organizations and structures. Besides, relations of external activity also find their reflexion in organizational design of various  structures like consortia etc.

1.6. BEOM: Ontological Coordinates

1.6.1. Infrastructural  Space –Инфраструктурное пространство

Infrastructural space is a space where activity of practice subjects is performed for fulfilling of tasks facing them. In sphere of troops direction theory semantic analogue of infrastructural space is a battlefield. For example, each party of the Second World War had its own special European battlefield though all fighted on the same geographical territory of Europe. There is external and internal infrastructural space.
The external infrastructural space appears as the result of business structure superposition and existing structure of administrative, territorial and geographical division of Environment - market space. The internal infrastructural space is the typologically organized structure of internal business environment, limited with ontological borders of an enterprise.

1.6.2. Infrastructural  Time

Infrastructural time this is time typologically structured according to specificity of organization's activity or enterprise's activity and, in particular, of events distinctive for description of its experience. Infrastructural time can be presented both in absolute and in relative notation. For example, in merchandising calendar a year can be divided into separate consistently executed router cycles, 10 working days in each. In this case the year will consist of 26 router cycles. At such approach all planning is conducted on router cycles, each of them has identification number.  «H-hour», «D-day» widely used in military science are also examples of  infrastructural time in the sphere of military operations planning.

1.6.3. Ontological Classifier PECAD   

PECAD it is the abbreviation that is derivative of the name of its basic elements: Plan-Execution-Control-Analysis-Decision. PECAD is the ontological classifier intended for decomposition and synthesizing, "pasting" of various vertical and horizontal tasks. It plays the important part in providing ontological integrity of virtual life activity of a real  singular enterprise. Classifier PECAD is constructed on a anthropomorphic approach. Let's consider the model of person's proactive behavior. «Plan». Before doing  something at first each of us builds a plan or mental picture, more precisely a model according to that he will be do concrete operations. In essence it is way of actions articulation. «Execution».  Action or execution of the task.  We consider "Execution" as registration of action by means of the structured record.  «Control». After the task is fulfilled, it is necessary to answer the question «What's going on?» in order to understand the state of execution of the certain task. «Analysis». In process of analysis it is important to answer the question «Why?» we are on lifting, in recession, or in condition of steady positive balance? The multidimensional analysis and forecasting can be applied with use of complex statistical models, and also methods of mathematical planning of experiment, construction of various models of disjunctive synthesis hypotheses. «Decision». Decision has to help to receive the answer to the sacramental question «What to do?». Decision-making can be performed with use of discursive and intuitive models.


2. Experientology

2.1. Experientology Definition

One of theoretical bases of BEOM is experientology. Experientology (experientology from the English “experience”) is a current of thought and practical activity oriented to deciding of questions of organization, accumulation, transferring  of social experience or, to tell more precisely, experience saved up in social systems and by social systems themselves.
Experientology can be considered as an integral part of ontology, oriented on analysis and understanding of personified being of a particular substance. 
Experientology as essentially interdisciplinal branch integrally encapsulates and then synthesises approaches and knowledge (cautious use of this notion) ontology, epistemology, phenomenology, hermeneutics, psychology, tektology, cultural anthropology, postmodernist philosophy (first of all redefinition of philosophy and theory of knowledge in terms of concepts construction), sociology, and also some approaches of mathematics and computer science. In this context it is difficult to disagree with Mario Bunge «… there are no independent sciences or technologies. If a field of knowledge is disjoint from all the sciences, then it is nonscientific». [7]

2.2. Task-Subject-Situation-Experience (Задача-Субъект-Ситуация-Опыт)

Experience is  Being (Existence), collected for a certain interval of life time of individual, a particular, "single" individual, during fulfilling by him of specific tasks, in particular conditions occurring in motivational  significant field of his destiny.  Experience is organized, structured, fixed and preserved in memory systems  in the form of ontological patterns.  Personified, organized, structured, quantized, fixed being. «What we survive as experience is always a contact, interaction of what is real in us with what is real out of us». Konrad Lorenz.
A person as an active subject of life activity constantly fulfills tasks that he sets for himself or that some other person or environment are set to him. Socialization, adaptation to environment practically starts with birth. Accumulation and organization of experience is performed in a stream of activity that is quantized by situations.
Experience always arise in a concrete situation. Without of situation it's very difficult to speak about experience, if it's possible at all. The most difficult is to find  adequate units of activity description for various kinds of human activity in other words we are talking about situations that are specific for these kinds of activity.
Situation is the least indivisible part of being, life activity of a certain unique singular individual  possessing intentionality.  Situation  is limited by the borders  of fulfilled task and certain  period of time necessary for it.


Figure 1. Task-Subject-Situation-Experience

Also important relative invariance of conditions - circumstances (they only change in limits that do not change relations between a task and expected result of activity).
Situation is determines by decision that is invariable until conditions are unchanged.   Each new subject of activity – new situation. New task – new situation. New conditions - new situation.
"Good" or "bad" experience does not exist. Experience always such what it is. Respecting  himself, each subject of life activity, person or organization, first of all should trust own experience; because experience of each person is unique, irrespective of what successes and vital tops were reached or avoided.
It is thought that offers of largest vendors offering to join an advanced experience of the most successful western companies by means of buying of  various corporate information management systems ERP, CRM, etc. demand rather circumspect approach.

3. QuaSy – systems of experience inheritance

3.1. Experientological approach to creating of information systems

To our opinion here are main initial points of experientological approach to construct of information systems. Each organization and enterprise are understood as a certain business entity having its individual destiny.The anthropomorphous approach. Unique individual experience is basis of enterprise existence this experience must be collected, structured and  preserved by means of information systems.  Certainly, enterprise activity is the fundamental notion, however the term «activity» is extremely theoretical abstraction. Particular activity of a singular enterprise for a certain period of time is its individual and unique experience.
Today's experience of enterprises is not collected intentionally and exists in itself, being mainly distributed in heads of management. Staff turnover leads to decomposition and annihilation of experience that is irreversible process. We observe a certain ontological amnesia as a kind of permanent, chronic, and progressing disease of enterprises.
Information system of enterprise must be its brain, a management tool helping to survive in constantly changing external and internal conditions. To execute it  properly enterprise's brain should participate in process of accumulation and structurization of organization's individual experience.
Today almost all systems ERP, CRM etc. are "direct-flow" systems without a feedback. At best such systems can only provide reactive behaviour of enterprise in environment and exclude possibility of proactive behaviour strategy at all that is based on continuous scanning and advancing forecasting of environment.
Intercommunication between enterprises in Web environment in behalf of  e-trade organisation certainly demand some uniform language, so called OL-Ontolingua. But as any other written  communications language he has to base on oral (vulgar) language of popular speech. It can arise at a certain moment of development, for example, necessity of the Bible translation. Also in our case OL must grow integrally from live experience of an enterprise including live experience of enterprises communication.
A person has memory as experience receptacle. An enterprise has an information system and this system must accumulate experience, not just data. Unlike a person an enterprise does not possess subconsciousness as a social organism. «Enterprise brain» is doomed to use only discursive decision-making models.
Finally information system is only a tool, but if we do not want to use an epithet «only the miserable tool» it is important to teach information systems to organize, accumulate, and structure personified individual experience of an enterprise. This question is not lay in area of analytical linguistics, but in area of experientology.
Using experientological approach we build ontological model of organization. Ontological model BEOM is the "live" model of a particular individual developing business substance, the model that allows organising, structure, accumulating, and transmitting its experience.
BEOM develops together and in parallel with an enterprise itself during its all life cycle. At that it is important to notice that there is no "good" and "bad" experience for us. Experience always such what it is. Much more important another one question, has  this  enterprise an  internal potential and stock to positive development.

3.2. QuaSy: new mission of information systems

In essence QuaSy is the unique material carrier of individual enterprise's experience. QuaSy acts as the unique tool providing adaptive behavior of an individual enterprise in environment.

3.2.1. Does organization have brain?

This question is a consequence of the anthropomorphous approach to organisation. But for many people such statement of the question can seem absurd. A brain of a person, as well as the person himself, is from God, but  organization is from person. Can a person compete with God in his human's arrogance? 
A collective can strengthen creative possibilities of one separate person, but the reverse effect is also possible. Then arise the question: what for people create organizations at all?   Or, perhaps, the organizations are created by people only for overcoming socially accumulated up genetic fear before uncertainty of vital circumstances?
Comparing processes of decision-making by person and organization Simon supposed that organization cannot be quite rational as its members possess limited possibilities in information processing. But it is not clear, why do restrictions appear? Is it because people with ordinary cognitive potential uniting into organizations expect a progress gain in decision-making, and it does not occur? Or it is because in organization it is difficult to reach synergy and to unite even uncommon intellectual abilities of its separate members. [8]
Basing on fundamental position of Simon about limited rationality of an organization, we have decided to go further and intentionally dramatically radicalized this position to the formulation: «Any organization is the essentially brainless entity». Another words organization doesn't have genetically preestablished brain, like a person. It means that we must make a certain artificial intellect for an organization.

3.2.2. QuaSy is an equivalent of centralized brain of organization

As an equivalent of the centralized brain of organization we can consider information system, which allowing to organize, structure, accumulate, and transfer experience of a particular organization during fulfilling of concrete tasks in various situations. We believe that this brain can be represented by the system of inheritance of experience which we call QuaSy.

                                                Figure 2. QuaSy Ontological Mission

To cope with more and more increasing volumes of information there are two essential ways: the extensive way (increasing number of employees, number of computers, their speed and memory size, etc.), and the intensive way.  Intensive way is the other decision, an attempt to transfer not data, information and signals, but thoughts. We have to learn how to compress and structure information qualitatively, converting big data flows into intelligent episodes, activity situations and well grounded decisions. We name it conceptual convolution, or conceptual compression of data.
As the tool for conceptual compression of data we offer scheme-thinking language of conceptual patterns. Actually it is language of articulation and structured description of situations and decision-making processes. Certainly, BEOM like object language is still basic.
[1]  Mike Uschold, Martin King, Stuart Moralee and Yannis Zorgios (1998) The Enterprise Ontology The Knowledge Engineering Review , Vol. 13, Special Issue on Putting Ontologies to Use (eds. Mike Uschold and Austin Tate).
[2]  Jan Dietz. Enterprise Ontology: Theory and Methodology. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006.
[3]  Shvedin B., Is experience disappearing? Morskoy Sbornik. (Naval Forces Journal) Vol.8, pp. 26-29, 1989.
[4]  Shvedin B., Experience in Planning Military. Activities.  Morskoy Sbornik. (Naval Forces Journal) Vol.12, pp. 23-27, 1989.
[5]  Shvedin B., Ontological Model for HR Management, and Organizational Development of the Large-Scale Organization. High technologies-Moscow. , Vol. 7, No.6, pp. 13-35, 2006.
[6]  Barry Smith. Mereotopology: a theory of parts and boundaries. Data & Knowledge Engineering archive. Volume 20, Issue 3 (November 1996) pp.: 287 - 303  
[7]  Bunge Mario. Systemism: the alternative to individualism and holism. The Journal of Socio-Economics. 29 (2000), 147-157. 
[8]  Herbert A. Simon. Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-making Processes in Administrative Organizations. The Free Press. New York. 1947.