Why Fact Oriented Modeling?

Fact Oriented Modeling is a data modeling approach which is more business oriented than other more technical oriented ways of working. Fact Oriented Modeling helps you close the gap between business and IT.

Modern data architectures work with the four quadrants of Ronald Damhof, in which one quarter is almost completely defined by Fact Models. It has been applied in the Dutch National Bank, the Tax Department, and now the Department of Justice and Safety in the Netherlands. It supports the vertical data architecture, being the data at rest, from law, regulations, procedures, down to the definitions and implementations in databases.

In general, the path to growth is to realize the business IT gap is real. Once this realization sets it, it is no longer just a new tool which will fix the problem.

Why FCO-IM?

Fully Communication Oriented Information Modeling (FCO-IM) originated in the university research in the 90s in the Netherlands. FCO-IM supports modeling the business information in natural languages, using concrete examples. Business knowledge is captured in a non-technical, conceptual manner, preserving all semantics used by your business experts.

This method of information modeling allows intense business engagement for capturing business knowledge, and verification of deliverables. Benefits of increased stakeholder engagement are the deeper insights in business needs, strengthen your data governance by improved shared understanding, building a common business glossary, increase data quality, reduce maintenance risks and costs.

The crucial distinction of the FCO-IM method, in comparison to any other modeling approaches, is that it focuses on what is factually communicated by experts in their own natural language.

Why CaseTalk?

CaseTalk is the preferred tool to model information using the FCO-IM method. To close the gap between business and IT, CaseTalk is built on two functional pillars which set it apart from any other modeling tool.

  • First, by capturing facts and generating text back, domain experts can specify and verify the information model without requiring technical knowledge.
  • Secondly, it comes with a wide range of generators to bootstrap your next IT product while staying fully aligned with the business requirements.

CaseTalk is used as an educational tool in many colleges and universities in the Netherlands, and over the world. It has proven its value, many times over, in many small organizations and large enterprises.

Why Training?

Though the Facts can be stated in natural language using concrete examples by business experts, and are readable and understandable by all stakeholders, the method itself requires know how. There are many subtle differences if compared to traditional logical and conceptual thinking, and systems design. These require training, and knowledge transfer, to be applied effectively.

In a three-day course, trainees will be taught how to communicate with the domain experts in your organization to capture business knowledge in a precise and solid manner with Fact Oriented Modeling, and to generate artifacts to be used as system development specifications. After the course, trainees can:

  • Explain the background and reasons for fact-oriented modeling.
  • Verbalize knowledge in natural language with concrete examples.
  • Add business rules and constraints to the information model.
  • Create super- and subtypes as a business taxonomy.
  • Perform model to model transformations and generate artifacts.
  • Organize and govern information models using metadata and a business glossary.
  • Recognize the intricate relations between language, models, and artifacts.

Which CaseTalk Features?

CaseTalk comes in a wide variety of editions, from a free-limited-book-edition to educational editions for college and university students, to commercial use by individuals, professionals, and enterprise-oriented teams.

The full feature set is to be found online, but in short CaseTalk allows you to:

  • Capture business knowledge in natural language
  • Use concrete examples to support concepts and types
  • Manage term definitions, ownership, and other governance requirements
  • Deep semantic understanding by fact expression grammars
  • Open repository for easy import/export to and from other tools
  • Extended list generators for technical artifacts (E.g.: XML, JSON, SQL, ..)
  • Annotations for transitional and temporal viewpoints.
  • Drag and drop diagramming for FOM, ER, UML and Concept Map purposes
  • Enterprise edition comes with CaseTalk Portal for glossary publication

How to start?

In general, the path to growth is to realize the business IT gap is real. Once this realization sets it, it is no longer just a new tool which will fix the problem. It requires an organizational change in the mindset of how IT is performed. All technical professionals are servicing the business to perform better and more efficient. The central role for business, and how its knowledge is safeguarded, supported, and incorporated, requires a different mindset.

Workshops should be facilitated, interviews setup, and feedback cycles designed. The experts need to be invited to do the talking. This communication is the basis for all facts getting documented and modeled into a Fact Model.

Provided with training, from ELM Workshops to FCO-IM Training, helps to build expertise on how to facilitate this new mindset and way of working. On the job coaching, while learning to drive the method for real, can be a great asset. Once the way of working is taking off, more and more information models can be added, and the information landscape extends.

Once the threshold of singular models is exceeded, an architecture of domains should be implemented. To manage these multiple models, which repurpose comment definitions, an enterprise environment is the most effective, CaseTalk Manager will support multiple modelers, model versioning, and definition lineage. The continued growth path will be benefitting with a Portal on top of the enterprise wide model landscape to publish terminology, definitions, relations, and artifacts from a central point of definition.

 

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