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HomeRants > Goodbye documents, hello objects! > Modeling informative objects > Join the enterprise-wide data model



Webifying your business depends on an accurate enterprise data model, including your own data.

Free your processes from departmental congestion

Let small teams manage value streams, end to end.

Get a panoramic view

Join the enterprise-wide data model

Increasingly, your work may require information from other parts of the enterprise.

Your job may soon involve:

  • Pulling together info from many other departments for Intranet and Web delivery, providing full search and retrieval, as well as menus
  • Responding to customer emails with ad hoc assemblages of info
  • Structuring the whole corporate Web site for faster customer access
  • Consulting with departments on their information flow
  • Preparing templates, examples of documents, instructions for creating those documents, and styleguides as part of departmental or enterprise-wide performance support
  • Converting massive amounts of info from within and outside your department for structured documents using SGML or XML
  • Cooperating with an enterprise-wide team creating an object-oriented database with information from every nook and cranny

Related articles:

Publish your unstructured information

eBook: Making an XML DTD Step by Step (PDF, 384K)

Form for Modeling an Object (PDF)

A rhetoric of objects

Complexity theory as a way of understanding the Web

Structuring complex interactive information


Webifying your business depends on an accurate enterprise data model, including your own data.

Business re-engineering attempts to design the business around specific goals, as if building a business itself were an engineering activity. Webifying, similarly, puts more of this info up on the Intranet and public Web site. Goals:

  • Simplify the supply chain, from customer order through manufacturing to payment.
  • Cut out traditional departments, to eliminate make-work and costly turf wars.
  • Make each employee more productive, individually; make small teams act like businesses.
  • Sell more to the most profitable customers.
  • Customize products to give each customer exactly what he or she wants.
  • Reduce time to market, time to delivery.
  • Change corporate direction quickly in response to customer wishes.

Free your processes from departmental congestion.

Value streams (processes that contribute value to your company or the customer) have been largely unmanaged because the corporation was not organized around them, but around functions, in vertical power structures and turfs. Going through channels took forever. So the process leading up to a customer delivery has been tangled, inept, argued over, messed up.


A process is a specific ordering of work activities across time and place, with a beginning, an end, clearly identified inputs and outputs: a structure of action.
--T.H. Davenport, Process Innovation

A value stream is an end-to-end collection of activities that has a clear reason for its existence--to deliver a result to a customer or end user.
--J. Martin, Cybercorp

Let small teams manage value streams, end to end.

Value-stream teams combine what used to be a variety of jobs from different departments.

  • Team has responsibility, and power to make it happen.
  • Team checks as it goes, not later.
  • Team members work together, even if in geographically distant locations.
  • Specialists and consultants join team as needed, on project basis.

Examples of value streams in Fortune 500 companies:

  • Acquiring and understanding a customer (from lead to sale)
  • Fulfilling an order (receiving, fulfilling, delivering, getting paid)
  • Servicing the customer (providing help in using, planning)
  • Loan request from inquiry to disbursement
  • Manufacturing from procuring supplies to finished goods
  • Designing products from concept through prototype to specs

The Internet encourages small teams

  • Team can exchange views, no matter where, work in many locations.
  • Team talks with customers constantly, checks up on competition.
  • Everyone on team has access to all the data all the time.

Get a panoramic view.

When you are on one of these teams, you need a panoramic view of all the info objects, so you can:

  • Assemble fresh documents on the fly from existing components
  • Invent new document types and populate them
  • Respond to customers, attaching or incorporating objects from existing objects


As a member of a team responsible for communication, you need software that

  • Lets you create and maintain objects, search for the ones you need, and assemble them
  • Lets you fold in messages from customers, subject matter experts, engineers, without difficulty
  • Lets you collect information on the fly from mainframe databases (numbers shipped, suppliers, invoices), unstructured info (letters, memos, presentation slides), and all electronic files

Next: Benefits of an object-oriented approach to content.


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