What is a Concept Model?A concept model organizes the business vocabulary needed to communicate consistently and thoroughly about the know-how of a problem domain. A concept model starts with a glossary of business terms and definitions. It puts a very high premium on high-quality, design-independent definitions, free of data or implementation biases. It also emphasizes rich vocabulary. A concept model is always about identifying the correct choice of terms to use in communications, including statements of business rules and requirements, especially where high precision and subtle distinctions need to be made. The core concepts of a business problem domain are typically quite stable over time. Concept models are can be especially effective where:
- The organization seeks to organize, retain, build on, manage, and communicate core knowledge or know-how.
- The project or initiative needs to capture 100s or 1,000s of business rules.
- There significant push-back from business stakeholders about the perceived technical nature of data models, class diagrams, or data element nomenclature and definition.
- Outside-the-box solutions are sought when reengineering business processes or other aspects of business capability.
- The organization faces regulatory or compliance challenges.
|Definition of Concept Model
a model that develops the meaning of core concepts for a problem domain, defines their collective structure, and specifies the appropriate vocabulary needed to communicate about it consistently
- For BACCM these basic noun concepts are: need, stakeholder, value, change, context, and solution.
- In finance, basic noun concepts might include financial institution, real-estate property, party, mortgage application, lien, asset, loan, etc.
- In BACCM some basic wordings for verb concepts include: Value is measured relative to Context, Change is made to implement Solution, Stakeholder has Need.
- In a financial business, some basic wordings for verb concepts include: Lien is held against Real Estate Property, Party requests Loan, Asset is included in Mortgage Application.
- Categorizations – e.g., Person and Organization are two categories of Party.
- Classifications – e.g., ‘Toronto Dominion Bank’ is an instance of Financial Institution.
- Partitive (Whole-Part) Connections – e.g., Dwelling and Land are two Parts of a Real Estate Property.
- Roles – e.g., Applicant is the role that Party plays in the verb concept Party requests Loan.
- Provides a business-friendly way to communicate with stakeholders about precise meanings and subtle distinctions.
- Is independent of data design biases and the often limited business vocabulary coverage of data models.
- Proves highly useful for white-collar, knowledge-rich, decision-laden business processes.
- Helps ensure that large numbers of business rules and complex decision tables are free of ambiguity and fit together cohesively.
- May set expectations too high about how much integration based on business semantics can be achieved on relatively short notice.
- Requires a specialized skill set based on the ability to think abstractly and non-procedurally about know-how and knowledge.
- Involves a knowledge-and-rule focus that may be foreign to stakeholders.
- Requires tooling to actively support real-time use of standard business terminology in writing business rules, requirements, and other forms on business communication.