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This chapter is from the book

Specifying Problems and Solutions

Before a solution is created and elaborated, its problem—or, better, a class of similar problems—must exist (and be understood). This may or may not happen; we all know about solutions in search of problems. At the same time, it may happen that (technological) artefacts provide excellent opportunities to be used in solutions42 of problems that were not even looked at when these artefacts were designed and developed. In fact, the technological artefacts collectively comprise a virtual machine on top of which a convenient solution of a problem may be built.

For better understanding by all participants in information management work, the same basic concepts and constructs may and should be used to express the semantics of both problems and solutions. Although the viewpoints of business SMEs, decision makers, analysts, IT managers, developers, and other participants are quite different, these viewpoints can be described using the same foundations—in the same manner that very different viewpoints of scientists, engineers, and technologists have been described using subsets of the same set of mathematical foundations, in the same manner that different database views use the same data modeling foundations, and in the same manner that the substantially different Five Basic Viewpoints of RM-ODP are described using the same set of RM-ODP foundations. The same foundations make it possible and even fairly simple to bridge the communication gaps between different participants in information management work, and more specifically, between business and IT experts.

Using the same concepts and constructs in business and IT frames of reference avoids various solution-related specifics when dealing with a (business) problem. In particular, we do not discuss problems of a traditional business43 in terms of objects exchanging messages, or in terms of responsibility-driven design; these concepts are not known, and need not be known, to business SMEs and, therefore, cannot be shared by business and anything else.

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