The ODP Enterprise Language

An enterprise viewpoint specification defines the purpose, scope, and policies of an ODP system, its relationships with its enviroment from a business point of view, and provides a statement of conformance for system implementations. The purpose of the system is defined by the intented behaviour of the system while policies capture further restrictions on the behaviour between the system and its environment, or within the system itself, related to the business decisions by the system owners.

To write Enterprise specifications, the enterprise language introduces basic concepts necessary to represent an ODP system in the context of the enterprise in which it operates. The aim of an enterprise specification is to express the objectives and policy constraints on the system of interest.

In order to do this, the system is represented by one or more enterprise objects within a community of enterprise objects that represents the enterprise, and by the roles in which these objects are involved. These roles represent, for example, the users, owners and providers of information processed by the system. Creating a separate viewpoint to convey this information decouples the specification of the objectives set for a system from the way in which that system is to be realized.

One of the key ideas in the enterprise language is that of a contract, linking the performers of the various roles in a community and expressing their mutual obligations, as well as the policies that govern their behavior within the system, e.g., the business rules. A contract can express the common goals and responsibilities which distinguish roles in a community, such as a business and its customers or a government organization and its clients, as being related in particular ways in a single enterprise.

Where appropriate, an enterprise specification will also express aspects of ownership of resources and responsibility for payment for goods and services in order to identify, for example, constraints on accounting and security mechanisms within the infrastructure which supports the system, or policies for expressing permissions, obligations, prohibitions and authorizations.

More information about the Enterprise language is available from the EL standard itself, and some examples are also available from the ODP book.