Cooperation & Interoperability – Architecture & Ontology


The CIAO! Enterprise Engineering Network (CEEN) is a community of academics and practitioners who strive to contribute to the development of the discipline of Enterprise Engineering (EE), and to apply it in practice. The aim is to develop a holistic and general systems theory based understanding on how to (re)design and run enterprises effectively.

The ambition is to develop a consistent and coherent set of theories, models and associated methods that: enable enterprises to reflect, in a systematic way, on how to realize improvements; and assist them, in practice, in achieving their aspirations.

In doing so, sound empirical and scientific foundations should underlie all efforts and all organisational aspects that are relevant should be considered, while combining already existing knowledge from the scientific fields of information systems, software engineering, management, as well as philosophy, semiotics and sociology, among others.

In other words, the (re)design of an enterprise and the subsequent implementation of changes should be the consequence of rationalised decisions that: take in account the nature and reality of the enterprise and its environment; and respect relevant empirical and scientific principles.

Enterprises are taken to be systems whose reality has a dual nature by being simultaneously, on one hand, centrally and purposefully (re)designed; and, on the other hand, emergent in a distributed way, given the fact that, its main agents, the humans that are the ‘pearls’ of the organization, act with free will, in a creative and in a responsible (or sometimes not) way.

We acknowledge that, in practice, the development of enterprises is not always a purely rational/evidence-based process. As such, we believe the field of EE aims to provide evidence-based insights into the design and evolution of enterprises and the consequences of different choices irrespective of the way decisions are made.

The origin of the scientific foundations of our present body of knowledge is the CIAO! Paradigm (Communication, Information, Action, Organisation) as expressed in our Enterprise Engineering Manifesto and the paper: The Discipline of Enterprise Engineering. In this paradigm, organisation is considered to emerge in human communication, through the intermediate roles of information and action. Based on the CIAO! Paradigm, several theories have been developed, and still are being proposed. They are published as technical reports.

The CEEN welcomes proposals of improvements to our current body of knowledge, as well as the inclusion of compliant and alternative views, always keeping in mind the need to maintain global systemic coherence, consistency and scientific rigour of the entire EE body of knowledge, as a prerequisite for the consolidation of this new Engineering discipline. Yearly events like the Enterprise Engineering Working Conference and associated Doctoral Consortium are organized to promote the presentation of EE research and application in practice, as well as discussions on the contents and current state of our body of theories and methods.