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Dagstuhl Seminar 16192

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

( May 08 – May 13, 2016 )


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Please use the following short url to reference this page: https://www.dagstuhl.de/16192

Organizers

Contact


Impacts

Schedule

Motivation

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?

Summary

Organizations are complex systems that need to respond to a variety of changes while operating in a dynamic environment. They involve multiple stakeholders each having a domain-specific perspective that relies on concepts and languages relative to individual information-centric processes, which may lead to undesirable side-effects such as scattered and fractured knowledge about goals, strategies, operational processes etc.

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. This includes the problem of assessing the business impact of IT investment and of assigning IT costs appropriately.

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.

A key aspect of the digital transformation is automation. While the potential for further automation through software is especially obvious in industrial production, other areas such as administrative work, management, and professional training are more and more dominated by machines. Therefore, there is need for new ways of supporting enterprise agility through the use of integrated computer-based systems

This seminar analyses how organizations can be supported not only with managing their resources and processes efficiently, but also with coping with the digital transformation, a topic which is subject of various research fields including: Management Science (a rationalist perspective); Organisational Studies (including Psychology and Sociology); Information Systems; Software Engineering (including modelling and meta-modelling, big-data and self-adaptive systems); Requirements Engineering. Even though there is an obvious correspondence of foundational assumptions, there is hardly any exchange between these fields: an issue that the seminar aims to address.

Against this background, the seminar is based on 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. Without respective considerations efficiency remains a fairly meaningless concept.
  • Support for organizational efficiency and change recommends cross-disciplinary collaboration. While all three research streams outlined above focus on important aspects, none of them is sufficient on its own.
  • Support for organisational decision making is currently very difficult due to the tacit nature of knowledge that must be reified and processed using advanced technologies.
Copyright Tony Clark, Ulrich Frank, and Vinay Kulkarni

Participants
  • Balbir Barn (Middlesex University - London, GB) [dblp]
  • Christoph Brandt (TU Chemnitz, DE) [dblp]
  • Tony Clark (Sheffield Hallam University, GB) [dblp]
  • Jan L G. Dietz (TU Delft, NL) [dblp]
  • Elmar Dorner (SAP SE - Karlsruhe, DE) [dblp]
  • Gregor Engels (Universität Paderborn, DE) [dblp]
  • Peter Fettke (DFKI - Saarbrücken, DE) [dblp]
  • Hans-Georg Fill (Universität Wien, AT) [dblp]
  • Ulrich Frank (Universität Duisburg-Essen, DE) [dblp]
  • Stijn Hoppenbrouwers (HAN University of Applied Science - Arnhem, NL) [dblp]
  • John Krogstie (NTNU - Trondheim, NO) [dblp]
  • Vinay Kulkarni (Tata Consultancy Services - Pune, IN) [dblp]
  • Andreas Leue (Sphenon GmbH - Hamburg, DE)
  • Florian Matthes (TU München, DE) [dblp]
  • Andreas L. Opdahl (University of Bergen, NO) [dblp]
  • Henderik Proper (Luxembourg Inst. of Science & Technology, LU) [dblp]
  • Dirk Riehle (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, DE) [dblp]
  • Kurt Sandkuhl (Universität Rostock, DE) [dblp]
  • Gerhard Schwabe (Universität Zürich, CH) [dblp]
  • Stefan Strecker (FernUniversität in Hagen, DE) [dblp]
  • Reinhard Wilhelm (Universität des Saarlandes - Saarbrücken, DE) [dblp]
  • Robert Winter (Universität St. Gallen, CH) [dblp]
  • Peter Zencke (Universität Würzburg, DE) [dblp]

Classification
  • data bases / information retrieval
  • modelling / simulation
  • society / human-computer interaction

Keywords
  • Conceptual Modeling
  • Information Systems
  • IT-Business Alignment
  • Language Engineering
  • Management Theory
  • Organizational Theory
  • Software Engineering