ERCIM News No.41 - April 2000 [contents]

StraDiWare: Linking Business and IT Models using Graph Theory

by Tony Conway

The aim of StraDiWare is to formalise the linkage between quantified business objectives, decisions to implement IT systems and the IT systems themselves. The delivered system will also provide formal linkage descriptions between dependencies within IT projects. This will be achieved by a heterogeneity-reconciling linkage mechanism between the various tools and information representations. The use of graph language formalism is seen as the essential feature of this mapping.

At present IT systems rarely satisfy the aim of supporting business objectives: there is thus a high level of business dissatisfaction. The StraDiWare project aims to reduce this by coupling business objectives to IT support. There is a large and growing market for analysis and recommendation of remedial actions for pre-existing (‘legacy’) IT systems and for the development of new systems strictly controlled by quantified business objectives.

Thus the StraDiWare project complements Action 18 "Euromethod pilot projects in the CEE countries" in the PECO Action Plan by providing the essential linkage from IT projects (managed using Euromethod) to higher level business objectives and processes (outside the scope of Euromethod). Nevertheless, StraDiWare is not simply an extension of Euromethod: it is equally applicable to other IT development methodologies, such as SSADM.

StraDiWare is concerned with the business process in which enterprise objects interact with the implementation of IT projects: this is referred to as Strategic Planning (SP). SP is a rather complex task that has several basic stages and which produces various products. It is typically a long duration process that is at present partially supported by several discrete methodologies. The benefits of using the StraDiWare tool set and methodology will be that business and IT managers can see at a glance:

The proposed delivery mechanism for the methodology as realised in the StraDiWare software product range will be via Web technology. The universality of browser availability and advances in technology recommendations from W3C (notably XML and RDF) combine to make this an appropriate and cost-effective delivery mechanism. StraDiWare will use this advanced multi-media user interface to produce outputs that are easily understood by non-expert users. This is necessary so that business managers, who may not be familiar with the technical aspects of IT projects and their development methodologies, can nevertheless use StraDiWare to understand the linkages between business objectives and IT projects. A major goal of the project is to produce an implementation of the CASSP (Computer Aided Support for Strategic Planning) software tool.

StraDiWare brings together appropriate end-users in realistic business situations in the IT support development cycle with IT SMEs in both CEE and EU countries supported by one CEE and one EU research Institute each with appropriate (commercially tested and developing) expertise to transfer to the IT SMEs.

StraDiWare is a Research & Technological Project supported by the Commission of the European Union under the Copernicus scheme.

StraDiWare home page:

Please contact:
Keith G Jeffery - CLRC
Tel: +44 1235 44 6103