Jan Dietz

Jan Dietz
Jan Dietz, Delft University of Technology 2008.

Jean Leonardus Gerardus (Jan) Dietz (20 June 1945) is a Dutch computer scientist, and former Professor of Information Systems Design at Delft University of Technology.



Jan Dietz was born in 1945 in Brunssum. He obtained a M.A. in Electrical Engineering in 1970 at Eindhoven University of Technology, and later in 1987 a PhD on the subject of modeling and specifying information systems.

Dietz worked as practitioner in the field of automation and information systems from 1970 to 1980. Here he developed one of the first relational model based production control systems at Philips Factories, a state of the art computer accounting system at Eindhoven University of Technology, and a terminal-based, interactive theatre reservation system. In 1980 he returned to academia. After he obtained his Doctoral Degree in 1987 he was appointed Professor of Management Information Systems at the University of Maastricht in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration[1], where he started the development of the DEMO theory and methodology. From September 1994 to Oct 2009 he was Professor of Information Systems Design at Delft University of Technology.[2] Since then he is parttime Professor of Enterprise Engineering at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST - Technical University of Lisbon).[3]

Dietz has held several managerial positions in organizing these courses. He has held several commissionerships and he has been chairman of the Dutch national professional association of informaticians. Next to that he is and has been member of the editorial board of numerous journals and of the program committee of numerous conferences. He has been the Dutch national representative in IFIP TC8 on Information Systems for many years and is member of IFIP WG8.1 on design and Evaluation of Information Systems.[2]


Dietz' main research interests is in modeling, design and redesigning and engineering and reengineering of organizations, and in the development of ICT-applications to support them.[2] In the new millennium Dietz has focussed on the emerging field of Enterprise engineering, which emerged in between information systems engineering and the organizational sciences.

In 2006 he published a book on Enterprise Ontology[4] , and is continuing working on Enterprise Architecture. To promote these ideas he initiated an international network under the name "Cooperation & Interoperability - Architecture & Ontology" (CIAO).[5]

Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations

Inspired on the Language Action Perspective in the 1980s Dietz has been developing a methodology for transaction modelling, and analysing and representing business processes called "Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations" (DEMO).[6] The Language Action Perspective itself is largely based on the speech act theory developed by John Searle. It was introduced in the field of information systems by the computer scientists Fernando Flores and J.J. Ludlow early 1980s[7] 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".[8]

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

In DEMO the basic pattern of a business transaction is composed of the following three phases:[9]

  • An actagenic phase during which a client requests a fact form the supplier agent.
  • The action execution which will generate the required fact
  • A facagenic 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.[9]

Jan Dietz is the founder of the DEMO, and he is also co-founder and chairman of the DEMO Knowledge Center [10] and he has participated in numerous practical DEMO-projects regarding the redesign and reengineering of organizations. Since early 2004 he is also the leader of the national research program Extensible Architecture Framework. [11]

Enterprise Ontology

Enterprise Ontology is about the need to develop organizational models on a high-level of abstraction, in order to be able to develop effective and efficient, so called, inter- and intra-enterprise information systems. These models need to be so that it is understood both by business people, who are defining their functionality, and software engineers, who are constructing and implementing the software systems that realize the system's functionality. The idea of business components for modeling information systems is very valuable since they directly reflect the business rules and the constraints that apply to the enterprise domain.[12]

The identification of business components seems still to be in its infancy. The notion of enterprise ontology, as developed by Jan Dietz at Delft University of Technology, appears to be a powerful revelation of the essence of an enterprise or an enterprise network. Dietz' research seeks to improve the identification of business components based on the ontological model of an enterprise, while at the same time satisfying well defined quality criteria. The results of applying the developed identification method are reusable and self-contained business components with well defined interaction points that facilitate the accessing and execution of coherent packages of business functionality.[12]


Dietz has published over 200 scientific and professional papers as well as several books:[13][14] Books:

  • 1996. Communication Modeling - The Language/Action Perspective: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Communication Modeling, Tilburg, the Netherlands... (Electronic Workshops in Computing). With Frank Dignum, Egon Verharen, and Hans Weigand. Springer ISBN 3540761187
  • 2006. Enterprise Ontology - Theory and Methodology. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. ISBN 3540291695
  • 2008. Advances in Enterprise Engineering I: 4th International Workshop CIAO! and 4th International Workshop EOMAS, held at CAiSE 2008, Montpellier, France, June 2008. Notes in Business Information Processing. With Antonia Albani, and Joseph Barjis (eds.). Springer. ISBN 3540686436
  • 2008. Architecture - Building strategy into design. Academic Service. ISBN 978-90-12-58086-1

Articles, chapters and papers, a selection:

  • 1989. "Modeling of Discrete Dynamic Systems - Framework and Examples". With K.M. van Hee and G.J. Houben. In: Information Systems. Vol. 14, no.4, pp 277–289.
  • 1991. "Speech Acts or Communicative Action?" With G.A.M. Widdershoven. In: L. Bannon (eds.) Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work ECSCW'91. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1991, pp. 235–248.
  • 1992. "Subject-Oriented Modelling of Open Active Systems". In: E.D. Falkenberg (eds.). Information Systems Concepts: Improving the Understanding. IFIP Transactions A-4, North Holland, Amsterdam, 1992, pp. 227–238.
  • 1994. "Modelling business processes for the purpose of redesign". In: Proceedings of the IFIP TC8 Open Conference on Business Process Re-engineering: Information Systems Opportunities and Challenges. IFIP Transactions; Vol. A-54. pp. 233–242.
  • 1998. "Understanding and Modelling Business Processes with DEMO". In: Proc. 18th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling (ER'99), Paris, 1999.
  • 1998. "Linguistically based Conceptual Modeling of Business Communication". With: A.A.G. Steuten and R.P. van de Riet. In: Proc. 4th International Conference NLDB '99, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 129, Springer-Verlag 1999.
  • 2002. "Development of Agent-based E-commerce Systems using the semiotic approach and the DEMO transaction concept". With J. Barjis, S. Chong and K. Lui. In: Internation journal of information technology & decision making. Vol. 1, No. 3 (September 2002),
  • 2006. "The pragmatic web: a manifesto". With Mareike Schoop and Aldo de Moor. In: Communications of the ACM. Vol 49, Iss 5 (May 2006). pp.75–76.


  1. ^ Keng Siau (2004). Advanced topics in database research, Volume 3. p.349
  2. ^ a b c Prof. Dr. ir. Jan L.G. Dietz Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  3. ^ Prof. Dr. ir. Jan Dietz, Associate van Icris B.V.. Accessed October 27, 2009.
  4. ^ Jan Dietz (2006). Enterprise Ontology - Theory and Methodology. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
  5. ^ CIAO website Delft University of Technology.
  6. ^ Jan L.G. Dietz (1999). "DEMO : towards a discipline of Organisation Engineering" In: European Journal of Operations Research, 1999.
  7. ^ Flores F., Ludlow J. J. (1980): "Doing and Speaking in the Office", In: Fick G., Sprague R. H. Jr. (Eds.) Decision Support Systems: Issues and Challenges, pp. 95-118, Pergamon Press, New York
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Kecheng Liu (2001). Information, Organisation, and Technology: Studies in Organisational Semiotics. pp.198-2002.
  10. ^ DEMO Institute.
  11. ^ Extensible Architecture Framework Dutch national research program.
  12. ^ a b Jan Dietz (2007). Enterprise Ontology and the Identification of Business Components Keynote Lectures at the ICSOFT 2007. Retrieved 24 Junly 2008.
  13. ^ List of publications 1989-2006.
  14. ^ Jan Dietz List of publications from the DBLP Bibliography Server.

External links

  • Homepage at the Delft University of Technology.
  • DEMO Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations website.

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