University of Antwerp
Faculty of Applied Economics
Conceptual modeling of enterprises is of crucial importance in mastering the increasing complexity and change that organizations will be facing now and in the future. In this context, the evolvability of conceptual models will be a crucial characteristic. Normalized Systems Theory focuses on the behavior of modular structures under change, by applying concepts from technology such as stability from systems theory and entropy from thermodynamics. In essence, it focuses on eliminating a specific kind of ripple effects, called combinatorial effects from these modular structures. This is realized by generating modular structures based on patterns with proven absence of combinatorial effects. It is argued that conceptual models can be considered and analyzed as modular structures, and that they can benefit from systematic focus on elimination of ripple effects. his will not only benefit the evolvability of the conceptual models themselves, but also enable new levels of systematic reuse and integration. Additionally, this will support conceptual models that remain in sync with advanced and evolvable IT implementations which are derived from them, over indefinite periods of time.
Jan Verelst is chairman of the Department of Management Information Systems of the Faculty of Applied Economics at the University of Antwerp. He received his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the Faculty of Applied Economics of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in 1999. His PhD research focused on evolvability of conceptual models of information systems. He joined the Department of Management Information Systems as a lecturer in 2001. His research interests focus on methodologies for information systems development. More specifically, he co-authored the theory on Normalized Systems with Prof. dr. Herwig Mannaert. This theory focuses on the behavior of modular structures under change, by applying concepts from technology such as stability from systems theory and entropy from thermodynamics. He teaches courses on methodologies concerning analysis and design of information systems. He is also a professor at the Antwerp Management School, where he lectures in the Executive Master in Enterprise IT Architecture. He is also co-founder of the Normalized Systems Institute (NSI) at the Faculty of Applied Economics of the University of Antwerp, as well as of NSX, a spin-off company of the University of Antwerp focusing on software development based on the Normalized Systems theory.