Best Practice / Program and Project Management

Emelin Andrey A. , Business Consultant, Russian Federation

Enterprise information systems, multi-agent system, intelligent agent, project management, process management

Zakcharchuk O.T.
«ASys Soft» Ltd., Moscow, Zelenograd, Russia
At present enterprise information systems (EIS) are created by means of integration of several information systems (IS). Often there are several dozens of independent information systems in one enterprise. IT-specialists call such state of EIS an ‘information system zoo’ [1].
There are efforts to create EIS by developing specialized IS of ERP, PLM, CRM, etc. class [2]. Almost all these IS are based on unique models that reflect well only those kinds of activity for automation of which they are intended. If it’s necessary to extend system functionality in terms of inclusion of any other kind of activity, then another model for this kind of activity is built, or an out-of-the-box solution is purchased and the models are integrated. As a result of such extension the system turns into a set of poorly integrated subsystems and models. The data base sizes of some industrial systems are especially impressive. For example, the data base of such SAP products as ECC and R/3 contains more than 3000 tables [3].
We propose a new approach that, in the course of time, allows gradual elimination of ‘IS zoos’ in the enterprises and creation of their own EIS on a single platform using single data base (with approximately 100 tables). This approach will be especially useful for creation of EIS in holding companies and corporations as well as for creation of electronic government. The approach has already been tested in several large projects.
The approach consist in that the EIS is basically built using the model capable of encompassing the majority of the activities in the enterprise. The approach doesn’t exclude integration of EIS with other specialized IS but the integration is not the primary concern.

The single model of activity description that can be represented as a framework is the basis of the new approach.
Our model contains five horizontal levels (see the Figure), each of which allows describing management on the corresponding organizational level.
The highest level is the level of enterprises where the relationships and connections of the targeted enterprise with other enterprises are displayed. The project level displays the operational divisions and projects of the enterprises and their connections including those with divisions and projects of other enterprises.
At the work level all project works (work packages) as well as instances of initiated processes are displayed.
At the task level project tasks performed in divisions and during process implementation are displayed.
The lowest level of activity model is the level of actions. The level displays all actions that are planned and carried out by intellectual agents (people and business services) [4]. All schemes of business processes are also displayed at the level.
Our model contains two fundamental vertical dimensions: Structures and Connections. The Structures show managerial and organizational connections among the objects of activities. The Connections show all information and material flows among the objects of activities.
The model also contains the third dimension for reflecting the strategic goals at each level of management.
The enterprise model created with the help of the platform is essentially a model of a multi-agent enterprise system [4]. Every object of activity at each level of management (enterprise, division, project, process, task, action) is an intellectual object.
The constructed framework has one essential difference of the similar models [5]. Our schemes of activity description at all levels are generated automatically on the basis of the information in the single data base. During work with the schemes all changes are saved to the data base. That is why we call the framework ‘alive’.
Our model is the basis for a platform that allows building EIS for almost every kind of activity of the enterprise without programming.
Business service is the main tool of the platform that is used for building and managing the EIS. The business service is a special programme, a web-application as a rule, which automates the actions. Since each business service is meant for automation of only one particular function, they are sufficiently easy to design and use.
Our business services are not just programmes but also intellectual agents. Business services are able to: operate autonomously and in action flows; monitor the environment, behave depending on the characteristics of inputs and users; accumulate the history of their usage; understand their obligations: what, where and when they are to send.
The ability of a business service to act depending on the current situation is especially valuable:
 For giving the user access to the necessary information for taking further actions;
 For giving the user the right to choose further actions to complete the set task.
The characteristic turns any service into an adaptive one and the EIS based on our platform allow practical usage the new Adaptive Case Management approach even now [6].
Contemporary project and process management systems are built on the basis of models that are practically incompatible with each other.
In our single model the conventional project and process models are special cases. Therefore all methods of process and project management can also be used in EIS based on our platform. It should be noted, however, that some methods of project and process management can be sufficiently improved if they are implemented with the help of our business services and on our platform.
There is no difference for business services where to operate: in project tasks or in process ones. By this we essentially prove that the single model blurs the border between project and process management. The actions generated in processes join into a single flow of project actions. The orderly rows of process actions are alternated with case actions (creative actions).

1. Коптелов А.К. От описания бизнес-процессов к построению ИТ-архитектуры// Рациональное управление предприятием. – 2009. – №5. – С.20-23.
2. Горшков С. Построение корпоративных информационных систем на платформе index.CRM. – Екатеринбург: Центром информационных технологий index.art, 2010. – 134 c.
3. Андерсон Джордж. Ларокка Даниель, SAP за 24 часа: Пер. с англ./ Под ред. Б.Н. Коцовского. –Днепропетровск: Баланс Бизнес Букс. 2007. – 432 c.
4. Michael Wooldridge, An Introduction to MultiAgent Systems, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2002, paperback, 366 p., ISBN 0-471-49691-X.
5. Sowa J. F., Zachman J. A. Extending and Formalizing the Framework for Information System Architecture // IBM Systems Journal. 1992. V. 31. № 3.
6. Keith D. Swenson Mastering the Unpredictable: How Adaptive Case Management Will Revolutionize the Way That Knowledge Workers Get Things Done. 2010 г., 340 С.

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