Introduction to the notion
- Stake: facilitate the understanding of the system; simplify, revisit the business; share and unify knowledge.
- Content: knowledge of the enterprise fundamentals, as classes with their relations and their life cycle.
Enterprises and organizations are spontaneously seen through their resources and their activities. In the same way, technical systems are, above all, seen as equipment carrying out functions. Praxeme adds a degree of abstraction, inviting us to isolate the fundamental concepts, ignoring organizational and technical circumstances. This is not a natural attitude; it requires effort, distancing oneself from the solutions in place. Through this abstraction effort, the modeler isolates the essentials: the concepts that describe the business, the required objects and their behavior.
When we say that the semantic aspect isolates the knowledge of the business fundamentals, this expression should be understood negatively: the semantic model discards any element that is not essential because it is linked to individual choices, organizational decisions and specific solutions. In this way, semantic modeling aspires to be universal; it is not the least of its contributions. By pushing for abstraction, the model gets rid of the specific elements, locates the essentials and becomes an easily shareable expression. Of course, this abstraction effort turns out to be difficult but extremely productive. Indeed, it enables a core of notions to be isolated whose implementation is enough to achieve the enterprise mission, whatever the organizational and equipment solutions. It encourages us to reexamine these solutions, practices and techniques. It creates the conditions to reinvent the business, to innovate.
Semantic modeling consists in rigorously representing the real objects, the “business objects”, the notions that are manipulated in and by the Enterprise System. Here, the unit of representation is the class, a formal representation of the concept (in intension or comprehension: the meaning of the concept; by development: all the instances, that is to say the objects that fall within the concept). These objects are grouped into coherent sets, the object domains. Here, the architect has a different decomposition criterion to the functional approach.