4.3 Information Systems Engineering (ISE) 

Information systems engineering concerns the development of computer-assisted information processing systems (Sølvberg and Kung, 1993:1). A major part of any ISE effort is requirements engineering, being (F3, 1994)
"the systematic process of developing requirements through an iterative co-operative process of analysing the problem, documenting the resulting observations in a variety of representation formats and checking the accuracy of the understanding gained."
The relevance of requirements engineering (RE) to enterprise modeling is the recent focus on enterprise modeling as a technique for requirements capturing and validation (Nellborn and Holm, 1994:172; Bubenko, 1993:78; Blyth et al., 1993). The ISE community has already a broad basis in their rich variety of methods for conceptual modeling of information systems (for an overview, see Rolland and Cauvet, 1992). However, not all approaches are necessarily appropriate for all purposes of enterprise modeling, e.g., it is claimed by Hirschheim et al. (1995:xii) and Krogstie (1995:63) that many methodologies are based on an objectivistic foundation. Bubenko (1993) can be attributed a similar opinion when rejecting what he refers to as a traditional positivistic view on information modeling (e.g., failing to see reality as socially constructed).

The main purposes of conceptual modeling are, according to Krogstie (1995:67)

Hence, even with considerable amounts of work done on simulation (e.g., F3, 1994) and execution (e.g., Willumsen, 1993) of conceptual models in information systems engineering, the mainstream purpose of conceptual modeling (and enterprise modeling) within ISE is perceived to be human sense-making and communication (category I).

Concerning type of work, ISM typically describes information intensive work that are associated with either replication risk or design risk. Work associated with replication risk can be exemplified by handling of loans in a bank: The process is reasonably routine and well known, the alternative outcomes of the process are limited, but the process cannot be fully automated (human judgement is still a required part of loans handling). Work pertaining to ISM and associated with design risk can be exemplified by planning problems (Sølvberg and Kung, 1993:357). Sølvberg and Kung (ibid., 357ff), referring to Rittel (1972), discuss the concepts of tame and wicked problems within information systems engineering, being very similar to the notions of replication risk and design risk, respectively.

One characteristic of modeling in ISE is that models often are used most extensively in the initial phases of the IS development process (Rolland and Cauvet, 1992). The explicit enterprise model does not become an integrated part of the final information system, but may function as a basis for developing and maintaining the system.

Another characteristic, in common with SPM, is the focus on meta-modeling (e.g., Nissen et al., 1996) , i.e., on the modeling of enterprise modeling. In general, there are considerable overlap in needs between SPM and ISM (Conradi, Høydalsvik and Sindre, 1994:254).