Axiom 4: Documents structure computer systems





 Axiom 1

 Axiom 2

 Axiom 3

 Axiom 4

 Axiom 5


Requirements for exceptional access to knowledge and for computation of process statistics frame an enabling technology architecture.

There is need of a method for finding out the truth. -Descartes

Computer systems can ó but usually don't ó provide all of the previously created fundamental information for running an enterprise. The $100 million question that remains is ó how can companies fill these gaps (and will corporate Intranets enable or confuse employees)?

Within each business process, there are four concurrent support cycles that make up the Support Systems. The Document Methodology defines a cycle as a process that is present in every other process at every level of the organization.

Some companies opt to involve themselves in giant technology projects that lose track of the basic problems they are trying to solve.A better solution is to view the enterprise through the prism of the document. The cycles and technology that make up the support systems are illustrated in the figure and described in Chapter 5.

They define cycles supported by technology that:

         Create knowledge in the Knowledge Cycle,

         Record and access knowledge in the Document Cycle,

         Control processes in the Workflow Cycle, and

         Manage processes in the Management Cycle.

Today, enterprise information systems can be assembled from commercial off-the-shelf software.Document technology is a critical part of these systems, providing the facts to manage people and the knowledge to perform tasks. To call knowledge "enterprise knowledge," it must be accessible as recorded information in a document.

Therefore, another $100 million question is how accessible are documents. This not only involves knowing where a document is potentially among millions, and where its current data elements are potentially among multi-millions, but producing that information for human comprehension.

Desktop technology empowers people with documents

People who operate business processes need to know how to organize the information they require. Office software provides the basic tools to create the documents that support business processes.Web browsers, with their built-in scripting languages, are used to make these documents the process' windows into corporate information systems.

By making exceptional use of desktop computers, people can create unique views of information required by their processes. However, if documents are to flow unimpeded between business processes, documents must flow seamlessly between different application software.

To effectively support flexible, document enabling software technology, the challenge for the information systems group is to:

         Create a reliable, stable enterprise computer network.

         Train, coordinate and support a user community of process document builders.

         Ensure universal access to data with strictly enforced data and software standards.

         Provide controlled, reliable, managed access to and storage of corporate information.

Axiom 4: System Scenario

Ed asked Donald to help him better use his computer.Donald pointed out that Ed created a knowledge base when he generated reports for people because, rather than just storing files, he put his documents into a constructed architecture that allowed Ed to easily access and use them later.Also, by sketching out what he had to do and later dating task completion in his spreadsheet, he could easily generate reports and graphs.Ed had now explicitly defined and monitored his work and was then capable of evaluating and improving his performance on each task.

Donald pointed out that Edís additional handwritten notes could be scanned and saved as an image.Donald evaluated Edís use of technology to determine how everyone should consider explicitly defining his tasks:

         Create and revise knowledge by using a personal library system for storing documents,

         Develop explicit definition of process in a spreadsheet,

         Monitor and summarize transactions in a spreadsheet,

         Access documents easily in a predefined well-structured architecture (personal library).

Corollaries to Axiom 4

Documents structure support systems because documents:

1.Are the metaphor for presenting information on desktop computers and, in particular, the Internet.

2.Frame the requirements for the architecture to support electronic documents with commercial technology.

3.Help reduce the ambiguity of processes by explicitly representing their output objects.

Method for Axiom 4

Management of critical knowledge isnít accomplished with information technology unless a document architecture uses commercial software that supports:

         Creating and extending knowledge on the desktop.

         Explicitly defining process on the desktop.

         Monitoring processes and summarizing performance.

         Accessing and managing knowledge on servers.

Consequences of Axiom 4

         Documents become the metaphor for publishing information in process environments.

         A project / document view supports explicitly defining process and providing operating statistics.

         A project / document view of process guides distributing knowledge and monitoring process.

         Information in repositories on servers can be organized to optimize searching, accessing and publishing documents.

Copyright 2007 by Jim I. Jones / email: