Blog Posts Process Management

Domain meta models and its influence on the future of back office (process) applications

Blog: OpenText


Date:


Wed, 24 Jul 2013 05:08:00 GMT-05:00


From:


jessicas



Blog post by Theodoor van
Donge (@Cordys)

In the previous blog series, I have
discussed James Staten’s 2013 predictions, made in Forbes.com in
the context of ‘Agility to ERP’. I was delighted to see many views
on the blog posts.

In the next blog series, I would like to
discuss the influence of domain meta models on the future of Back
Office (process) applications in a series of blogs. This
includes:

  • How Cordys Business
    Operations Platform (BOP)
    supports Argility in implementing the ARTS Model for
    Commerce solutions
  • The importance of Customer Order Decoupling Point (to what
    extent does an organization influence) and the impact on
    Information models
  • Software trends transitioning from the Departmental
    applications towards the Enterprise-wide applications and towards
    the Business Service applications that are centered around a
    domain (CRM, HR, Finance, Commerce, etc)
  • What makes a domain model so appealing?
  • The Cordys approach.

In this blog, let us look at
the first element as to how Cordys Business Operations Platform
(BOP) supports Argility in
implementing the ARTS Model for Commerce solutions.

Cordys’
partner Argility delivers a Commerce solution for Retail
operations which is also suitable for other industries as it is
based on the Cordys BOP platform. Their solution portfolio is on
an expansion spree with new Commerce modules. There are two things
that intrigued me in their approach to building the solution. One
is the use of the ARTS model
and the other is the platform approach of Argility’s Commerce
Solution Platform
. I would like to dwell a little on both
these approaches.

Let’s look at the first approach, which
involves using the ARTS Model for building the solution. The
Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) is an
international standards organization dedicated to reducing the
costs of technology through standards. Since 1993, ARTS has been
delivering application standards exclusively to the retail
industry.

Argility Commerce Framework has a complete Retail
Specific Data Structure that is validated across the retail
sector. The data structure conforms to the ARTS Data Model, which
is a widely acknowledged standard in the industry. ARTS Data Model
is an enabler for Integration, Master Data Management and
Transactional Processes. The comprehensive nature of all master
records facilitates a swift migration to a single view of the
enterprise and implementation of Master Data Management.

As you can see, all the aspects of Commerce are
covered in the solution offered by Argility to optimize your
commerce operation. The team has efficiently used the ARTS Data
Model to create an Industry standards based solution. This
provides a great advantage to the users of this system as it has
Integration, (master) Data definitions and Processes according to
the required specifications.

What’s good about this model
is that it is thought out properly by the experts of the Retail
industry. This Commerce model is in contrast to the ERP systems
approach.
ERP systems combine the meta models of many
industries into one system. This creates confusion when you are
implementing, customizing and deploying those systems to make them
fit for use by your business operations. With the adoption of ARTS
by Argility, I see an early bird making a breach in the ‘normal’
approach by adopting an Industry model in all aspects of system
design. I see a great opportunity for many more Industries. Other
models that are very promising to be used in Cordys-based Process
applications are:

  • SCOR (Supply Chain domain)
  • VRM (Manufacturing domain)
  • BIAN (Banking domain)
  • eTOM (Telecommunication domain)
  • ACORD (Insurance domain)

Now, we will focus a little more on the ARTS Data
Model.

The ARTS Model has four standards:

  • The Standard Relational Data Model
    • The ARTS Operational Data Model and the ARTS Data
      Warehouse Model provide retailers and vendors a mature
      foundation for developing retail business solutions.
    • The ARTS
      Operational Data Model
      represents a
      relational transaction-oriented view of the retail enterprise
      data.  It is normalized and designed to support the
      day-to-day transactional functions performed by a retail
      enterprise.
    • The ARTS
      Data Warehouse Model (DWM)
      supports business
      reporting and analysis. The DWM is designed around a
      star schema approach that supports end-user data query,
      reporting and analysis.
  • UnifiedPOS
    • UnifiedPOS is the acronym for Unified Point of Service
      and version 1.13 is the current standard. It is an
      architectural specification for application interfaces
      to point-of-service devices that are used in the retail
      environment. This standard, which has been in existence
      for several years, is both operating system-independent
      and language neutral.
  • ARTS XML
    • ARTS XML has developed numerous standard xml schemas.
      ARTS XML builds on the ARTS Data Model to develop
      standard XML schemas and message sets to ease
      Application to Application (A to A) integration within a retail
      enterprise.
  • ARTS Business Process Modeling
    • When retailers set out to define their business
      strategy, at the most basic level they decide on what
      they want to sell and to whom they wish to sell it. At the
      end of the day, they need to be able to execute their strategy
      better than their competitors.
    • Business Process Modeling (BPM) is about how a retailer
      chooses to do business, and it’s a tool that can help you
      identify strengths and weaknesses in how you manage your
      business and your strategy.

It is a division
of the National Retail Federation. These standards enable the
rapid implementation of technology within the retail industry by
developing standards to ease integration of software applications
and hardware devices.

Many leading retailers and vendors worldwide
contribute in shaping the ARTS Data Model. The ARTS Data Model is
known as the information standard in the retail industry and
provides a comprehensive design document containing all data
elements and definitions required to support retail applications.

Schematic overview of The ARTS Standard Relational Data
Model:

More detail can be find: http://www.nrf-arts.org/content/arts-operational-data-model-overview

The ARTS community is working right now on the aspects of
Process definitions. At the highest level, i.e., Level 0, the
Retail Reference Model provides a collection of domain areas and
capabilities to describe the retail enterprise as a whole. The
Retail Reference Model is divided into several domains:

  • Serve Customers
  • Operate Channels & Shopping Experience
  • Market Goods/Services
  • Manage Merchandising
  • Manage Supply Chain
  • Source Goods/Services
  • Support Enterprise

In future releases, ARTS will
start populating Level 2, Logical Business Processes, that take
each of the groups identified in Level 1 and provides presentation
of the logical part of these end-to-end business processes.
Level3, the Physical Business Processes, represents the activities
and tasks that are executed by an actor and system to complete a
process defined in Level 2.

The overview of The ARTS Business Process
Modeling is modeled in the Cordys VDML business modeling
technology, using the Capability library designer. My friend,Fred
Cummens
, has written many posts about the Agile Enterprise and
VDML.
VDML is an active OMG
project for standardization
. My colleague, Henk de Man, is
one of the main contributors to this specification; he is working
very close with Fred Cummens, Arne
Berre
and many others to get this new innovation ready for our
Industry. For this project, we got the support of the European
Commission and worked very close with other partners in a joint
project called Neffics. Have a look
at their website as well.

What does all this mean to you?

When you need a Commerce Solution, there is one available
that is based on an ARTS model-driven approach. That means it is
ready to participate in your business and IT ecosystem. It also
means that you benefit from the work of all smart Retail domain
architects that have created the ARTS meta model and you continue
to do so with new updates.
Industrialization of domain
knowledge by productizing this Commerce Solution, is getting to the
next level to accelerate adoption of best practices that will
result in a better operation.What has been done with the ARTS meta
model, can be done with other domain models as well.

I’m
looking forward to talk to innovative ISVs that would like to take
this new challenge forward! In my next blog, I would like to dig
deeper into the influence of domain models.

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