Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations

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Diagram of the principle of a DEMO transaction between two actors, with the result in between.

Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations (DEMO) is an enterprise modelling methodology for transaction modelling, and analysing and representing business processes. It is developed since the 1980s by Jan Dietz and others, and is inspired by the language/action perspective[1]


DEMO is a methodology for designing, organizing and linking organizations. Central concept is the "communicative action": communication is considered essential for the functioning of organizations. Agreements between employees, customers and suppliers are indeed created to communicate. The same is true for the acceptance of the results supplied.[2]

The DEMO methodology is based on the following principles:[3]

  • The essence of an organization is that it consists of people with authority and responsibility to act and negotiate.
  • The modeling of business processes and information systems is a rational activity, which leads to uniformity.
  • Information Protection models should be for all concerned. Understandable
  • Information should psychonomic to 'fit' with their users.

The DEMO methodology provides a coherent understanding of communication, information, action and organization. The scope is here shifted from "Information Systems Engineering" to "Business Systems Engineering", with a clear understanding of both the information and the central organizations.[3]


The DEMO methodology is inspired on the language/action perspective, which was initially developed as a philosophy of language by J. L. Austin, John Searle and Jürgen Habermas and was built on the speech act theory. The language/action perspective was introduced in the field of computer science and information systems design by Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd in the 1980s.[4] According to Dignum and Dietz (1997) this concept has "proven to be a new basic paradigm for Information Systems Design. In contrast to traditional views of data flow, the language/action perspective emphasizes what people do while communicating, how they create a common reality by means of language, and how communication brings about a coordination of their activities."[5]

DEMO is developed at the Delft University of Technology by Jan Dietz in the early 1990s, and originally stood for "Dynamic Essential Modelling of Organizations". It builds on the Language Action Perspective (LAP), which is derived from the work include John Austin, John Searle and Jürgen Habermas since the 1960s. It is linked to the "Natural language Information Analysis Method" (NIAM) developed by Shir Nijssen,[6] and object-role modeling (ORM)[7] further developed by Terry Halpin.

In the 1990s the name was changed to "Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations". In the new millennium Jan Dietz further elaborated DEMO into "enterprise ontology", in which the graphic note of object-role modeling is integrated.[8] These concepts were also developed by Dietz and others into a framework for enterprise architecture, entitled Architecture Framework (XAF).[9] In the new millennium the French company Sogeti developed a methodology based on the DEMO, called Pronto. The further development of DEMO is supported by the international Enterprise Engineering Institute, based in Delft in The Netherlands.[10]

DEMO, topics[edit]

Pattern of a business transaction[edit]

In DEMO the basic pattern of a business transaction is composed of the following three phases:[11]

  • An actagenic phase during which a client requests a fact form the supplier agent.
  • The action execution which will generate the required fact
  • A factagenic phase, which leads the client to accept the results reported

Basic transactions can be composed to account for complex transactions. The DEMO methodology gives the analyst an understanding of the business processes of the organization, as well as the agents involved, but is less clear about pragmatics aspects of the transaction, such as the conversation structure and the intentions generated in each agents mind.[11]

Abstraction levels[edit]

DEMO assumes that an organization consists of three integrated layers:[12][13]

  • B-organization,
  • I-organization and
  • D-organization.

The B-organization or business layer according to DEMO is the essence of the organization, regardless of the device is possible there. Understanding the business layer is the right starting point in setting up an organization, including the software to support business processes.

This vision leads to a division into three perspectives or levels of abstraction:[3]

  • Essential: business system or the B system
  • Informational: either the information I system
  • Documenteel: data system either D system

At each level has its own category of systems at that level "active": there are so B systems (of company and business), I-systems (of informational and information) and D systems (from documenteel and data) . The main focus in DEMO is focused on the critical level, the other two are, therefore, less discussed in detail.[3]

Models of an organization[edit]

DEMO offers five related models of organization:[3]

  • The interaction model
  • The process model
  • The action model
  • The fact model, and
  • The interstriction model

On the basis of these models in a series of diagrams DEMO defined as the Communication Diagram (CD), the Process Diagram (PD), the Transaction Diagram (TD), Fact Diagram (FD), and Action Diagram (AD).

Operation principle[edit]

If somebody (a person) wants to ensure that someone else creates a desired result then the communication about starting with a request. The person responsible for the results, can provide in response to a request to do a promise. Some time later, when work was done, the desired result can be stated that the desired result is achieved. If this result is accepted by the person who had asked for the result is a fact. The pattern described in the communication between two people is a DEMO transaction called. A chain of transactions is in DEMO a business called.

Diagram of the principle of a DEMO transaction between two actors, with the result in between.

The result of a transaction can be described.[clarification needed] Fact as a For this,[clarification needed] in DEMO using object-role modeling ( ORM ). Because DEMO with a business process can be described as a chain of transactions and the results of those transactions can be described with ORM creates a clear link between business processes and information.

Support tools[edit]

The Dutch company Essmod the "Essential Business Modeler" tool developed based on DEMO, which was acquired in 2008 by Mprise after which it renamed to Xemod.[citation needed]

DEMO is also supported in the open source world with the architecture tool Open Modeling.[citation needed] There is also a free online modeling tool Model for World DEMO which can be in an online repository. Multiuser worked This tool is platform-independent in a web browser without downloading or installing software.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jan L.G. Dietz (1999). "DEMO : towards a discipline of Organisation Engineering" In: European Journal of Operations Research, 1999.
  2. ^ Enterprise Engineering Institute. Accessed November 21, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jan Dietz (1996) Introductie tot DEMO. Accessed April 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Flores, F., Graves, M., Hartfield, B., & Winograd, T. (1988). "Computer systems and the design of organizational interaction." ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS), 6(2), 153-172.
  5. ^ Frank Dignum, Jan Dietz editors. (1997) Communication Modeling, The Language/Action Perspective. Second International Workshop on Communication Modeling (LAP'97) Veldhoven, The Netherlands, JUNE 9-10 1997 Working Papers.
  6. ^ Rob Aaldijk en Erik Vermeulen (2001). Modelleren van organisaties -- nieuwe methoden en technieken leiden tot beter inzicht. Landelijk Architectuur Congres 2001.
  7. ^ Jan L. G. Dietz, Terry A. Halpin (2004). "Using DEMO and ORM in Concert: A Case Study". In: Advanced Topics in Database Research, Keng Siau (red.) Vol. 3 2004: pp. 218-236.
  8. ^ Jan L.G. Dietz (2006). Enterprise Ontology - Theory and Methodology, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. p.46.
  9. ^ Jan Dietz (2008). Architecture - Building strategy into design. Academic Service. ISBN 978-90-12-58086-1
  10. ^ Enterprise Engineering Institute
  11. ^ a b Kecheng Liu (2001). Information, Organisation, and Technology: Studies in Organisational Semiotics. pp.198-2002.
  12. ^ Jan L.G. Dietz (2006). Enterprise Ontology - Theory and Methodology, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. p.118.
  13. ^ Jan L.G. Dietz (2008). Architecture : Building strategy into design. Academic Service. ISBN 9789012580861 p.32

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]