Research Mission

Software Architectures
This group has focused on identifying principles, patterns and other methodological elements for building software architectures for enterprise systems. The principles define the rules according to which software architectures have to be built so that there are no combinatorial explosions in the impacts of pre-defined basic changes to the system. Systems that comply with the principles are called normalized systems.

The patterns form a constructive proof that normalized systems, containing common basic functionality of enterprise systems, can be actually be built in practice. It is noteworthy that these principles are independent of specific programming or modeling languages, software packages or any kind of hype in the ICT sector. Normalized systems are a specific way of viewing service-oriented architectures (SOA), which are currently prevalent in academic literature. Indeed, the essence of SOA can be described as a new way of building high-level designs. Unfortunately, there are at this moment very few guidelines or laws on how this should be done, which is a major shortcoming. The principles described above can be seen as a contribution to solving this problem, demonstrating the technical-scientific relevance of this research. The objective of this line of research is to achieve 'straight through processing'. This term is used to refer to the tight coupling between a change at the organizational level, which is propagated straight to the architectural and implementation level. This line of research integrates previous research by Herwig Mannaert on software architectures and their implementation with Jan Verelst's research on evolvability of conceptual models and design models of information systems. Several PhD students are active in this line of research. A new, related research topic is the influence of SOA on outsourcing, which is the subject of PhD-level research. Governance and Alignment In the present dynamic knowledge based economy, ICT is playing an increasingly important role in the management of transactions, information and knowledge. In many companies ICT is an integral part of the business and fundamental to the support, durability and development of economic and social activity. Starting from this observation, the managerial research group wants to execute and report on consumable research that is based on scientific models and relevant for practice. The focus areas for the research are models and best practices in the fields of "business governance of ICT" and "business/ICT alignment". The 'managerial' research area focuses on ICT Governance and its structures, processes and relational mechanisms. Specific attention is paid to the Balanced Scorecard as a performance measurement and management system for ICT. Currently, there are three major research directions: ICT governance practices, the relationship between business and ICT goals, the business value of ICT related business projects, and the further development of an ICT control standard (COBIT). Other topics These topics, all PhD-level research, were determined previously to the development of the vision mentioned above, and were not specifically aligned with it. - Organizational Adoption of Open Source Software - E-sourcing adoption - Ubiquitous computing