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Here at ARIS BPM Community and ARIS BPM Blog, one would expect that we all have a common understanding what ARIS stands for. However, the term “ARIS” is like a chameleon, changing its meaning constantly depending on the context it is used in. For example, we use ARIS to refer to the software provided by IDS Scheer, but we also talk about the enterprise architecture framework ARIS and the modelling language ARIS. Those different meanings are all correct, but let’s try to be more precise.

In 2002, Karagiannis and Kühn published the paper “Metamodelling Platforms” (LNCS 2455, page 182) providing an introduction to different (meta) modelling concepts. A very valuable part of their paper is the definition of the term “modelling method”. In their view, a modelling method consists of 2 components, which I visualised in the ARIS Express model attached to this post:

  • a modelling technique
  • mechanisms & algorithms

They further sub-divide the modelling technique component into the following 2 components:

  • modelling language
  • modelling procedure

You are following a modelling procedure (i.e. a methodology) in your project to correctly analyse and capture a problem of interest. You document your findings using a modelling language. You are using mechanisms & algorithms to work with the content documented with the modelling language.

On a first glance, it might sound quite abstract, but we can apply this to ARIS. If we view ARIS as a modelling method, than:

  • ARIS Value Engineering (AVE) is the modelling procedure suggested and applied by IDS Scheer.
  • The different modelling notations such as EPC, BPMN, BPEL, UML, ERM, organisational chart, IT City Planning, etc. available in the ARIS Platform software are the modelling language.
  • The different products of the ARIS Platform software such as ARIS Business Architect, ARIS Business Publisher, ARIS Process Performance Manager, ARIS Express, ARIS MashZone, etc. are mechanisms & algorithms.

All elements together form the ARIS modelling method. Modelling procedure (i.e. AVE) and modelling language (i.e. notations supported by ARIS Platform software products) together are the modelling technique.

Personally, the terms “modelling procedure” and “mechanisms & algorithms” feel very artificial to me. In case of ARIS, I suggest to talk about the methodology ARIS Value Engineering instead of modelling procedure and use ARIS Platform software instead of mechanisms & algorithms. Still, I think the conceptualisation by Karagiannis and Kühn helps a lot to ensure we are talking about the same thing if we use the word ARIS.

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Tags: ARIS