Enterprise Analysis

ARIS: A Framework for Enterprise Description

ARIS (ARchitecture for integrated Information Systems) has been developed in Saarbrucken (Germany), in 1992, with the main aim of providing an architectural framework for enterprise description. The ARIS framework is structured in terms of five different views (Organization, Data, Control, Function and Output) and three abstraction layers (Requirements Definition, Design Specification and Implementation Description). While the division in abstraction levels allows one to capture the information about the enterprise in different granularities, the viewpoints aim at specifying details referring to each organizational aspect.

The Organizational View describes the hierarchical structure of the organizational units, its relationships and responsibilities. The organizational structure defines the competencies realms of the organization, indicating its specialties areas and allowing one to identify the hierarchy of roles. The main purpose of this viewpoint is to provide subsidies to strategic decisions, such as how to aggregate similar organizational functionalities so that they can be assigned to organizational units, conversely, how to aggregate roles in specific units according to the functionalities required by these units or by the business process which these units execute.

The Functional View defines the organizational functions which can be described in various aggregation levels in a hierarchal way. Functions designate activities or tasks which must be executed for the production of some good. The term is not defined generically, but is used synonymously with the terms process, activity or task. The name of a complex function is also used for the designation of a business process (Scheer, 2000).
The Data View describes the business information that is manipulated by functions. The data objects have several roles in the flow of business process, such as: describe the events and messages which control the flow of business processes, describe the environment status of business process, represent the outputs produced by activities and so forth (Davis, 2001).

The Control View describes the transformation of information within business processes through a function or a set of functions. Since these functions represent potentially complex organizational tasks, the control view is used for modeling business processes into ARIS. The purpose of this view is to integrate the remaining views of the language (Functional View, Organizational View and Data View) which have been separately modeled. This promotes the description of the state modifications and consequently, the description of dynamic behaviour of processes which manipulate information and other kind of objects previously modeled in other views. Therefore, the Process View provides the linkage among all the enterprise views.

The main models involved in the Process View are: the Value Added Chain (VAC) model, the Event-driven Process Chain (EPC) model and the Function Allocation Diagram (FAD) model. This separation allows one to manage the complexity of modeling as well as the integration among the views. Among these models, EPC models can be considered the most important models since it captures the enterprise procedures, highlighting how the enterprise intends to achieve its strategies.

The importance of EPCs in the practice of business process modeling can be attested by the existence of several successful commercial tools which offer support for these diagrams, e.g., IDS Scheer’s ARIS Toolset, Microsoft’s Visio and BOC’s ADONIS. Further, EPCs have been used in the documentation of the widely-employed SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning system, which has led to the SAP Reference Model with over 600 EPCs (Mendling, 2008).

ARIS provides both components for creating enterprise descriptions: first, it provides a modeling language to capture enterprise models and second, it provides methodological support for the construction of these models, having a large market share due to its integration with the SAP suite in the corporate and government sectors. This acceptability and leadership in the business community can be accounted by the fact that it provides support for modeling several aspects of complex business models (including processes, data, organizations, systems and so on), support for modeling software systems (using UML) as well as other technical advantages (such as windows compliance, rich functionality and configurable for user requirements, support for business objectives, measures and balanced scorecard, among others)(Davis, 2001).

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by Evellin & Paulo


Davis, Rob. 2001. Business Process Modelling with ARIS - A Practical Guide. Springer, 2001.

Mendling, Jam. 2008. Metrics for Process Models, Empirical Foundations of Verification, Error Prediction, and Guidelines for Correctness. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing (LNBIP). Springer-Verlag, Vol. 6, pp. 17-57.

Scheer, A. W. 2000. Aris – Business Process Modeling, Springer.


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