08.05.16 - 13.05.16, Seminar 16192

Supporting Organizational Efficiency and Agility: Models, Languages and Software Systems

The following text appeared on our web pages prior to the seminar, and was included as part of the invitation.


Organizations are increasingly penetrated by software: Processes and resources are digitized, decision making relies on data provided by software systems, and transactions with external stakeholders are performed by machines. On the one hand, the omnipresence of digital systems creates the opportunity for further automation: The more structures and processes that constitute organizations are represented in software, the greater the scope for computer-supported management. On the other hand, this omnipresence creates a substantial challenge: Many organizations lack the competence to cope with the further increasing complexity of IT infrastructures. In addition to these problems, organizations face a tremendous challenge: The digital transformation will eliminate many existing business models. It will enable new products and services and it may require organizations to substantially change the way they do business. Only, if organizations are prepared to cope with this challenge, will they be able to benefit from the digital transformation instead of suffering from it.

This seminar is aimed at analyzing how organizations can be supported not only with managing their resources and processes efficiently, but also with coping with the digital transformation. It is motivated by the following assumptions:

  • Organizations are prepared for change only if they account for the challenges related to adapting their software systems as well as the peculiarities of social change.
  • Research on organizational change in general, on designing organizational software systems in particular, recommends not only ideas of how to make organizations more efficient, but of how to make them a better place to work and live in. Otherwise it will be hardly possible to develop advanced conceptions of future organizations that may serve as an orientation for change.
  • Support for organizational efficiency and change recommends cross-disciplinary collaboration.

The seminar intends to promote a cross-disciplinary discourse on managing and changing organizations and their software systems. It should help to develop ideas of future organizational information systems, computer-based tools and corresponding patterns of decision making, management and collaboration. There is a wide range of inspiring research questions that may be subject of such a discourse, e.g.:

  • What are limitations of automation in organizations?
  • How should models of organizations be conceptualized to enable model-supported or model-driven organizations?
  • What kind of abstractions are required to make organizations more agile?
  • How does the language we speak influence the construction of organizational software systems and how do these systems in turn influence the way we speak, work and live?
  • How to represent complex and ambiguous organizational goals in a way that supports the construction of information systems?
  • Is it realistic to aim at self-adaptive organizational (software) systems that adapt their underlying goal model to changes in their environment and subsequently adapt their systems and operations to the revised goal system?