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1.2 Context-adaptive Questionnaire for Business-IT Alignment


1.2 Context-adaptive Questionnaire for Business-IT Alignment


The Cloud broker should be supported to specify business process requirements in a more user-centric manner. Adidtionally, according to the specified process reqiurements, the identification of workflows/cloud services should be efficient.



Our solution is called Context-Adaptive Questionnaire and aims at finding the matching cloud service(s) with the least possible number of questions.
It allows specifying requirements using a domain-specific business language in a user-centric manner.
The questionnaire presents a set of questions that focus first on business process functional requirements,  i.e. action, object and APQC category. Next, questions relating to non-functional requirements
are displayed according to a prioritisation algorithm. The algorithm considers the following:
1. the user preferences in terms of categories (i.e., Performance,  Data Security,  Support Service, Payment, Target Market));
2. the entropy of semantic attributes that relate to cloud service specifications, e.g., the entropy for the  monthly downtime of a cloud service.
The questionnaire can be applied on the whole business process first. If no service can be found, we can then move down to groups of activities, until the level of single activities.  

The entropy value determines how relevant an attribute is for the service filtering. Namely, the lower the entropy value of an attribute,
the lower its relevance degree, and thus the lower the assigned priority of the related question. For example, if all cloud services in the repository have the same percentage of monthly availability,
the entropy value for the attribute availability will be the lowest (i.e., "0"). As such, in case the user chooses the Performance category,
the question related to the preferred availability will get the lowest priority as it won't filter out any services from the matching set. Hence, the question related to the preferred availability will be asked at the end.

The Context-Adaptive Questionnaire adopts the ontology-based metamodeling approach. That is, the web-based questionnaire interface is a graphical representation of concepts that are in the metamodel, i.e. the Questionnaire ontology.
The latter contains questions and answers expressed in a non-technical language, and makes use of the BPaaS ontology to provide the following support:

  • Provides a standard terminology while the user answers to questions, which ensures consistency in the requirements specification.
  • Enables the smart Business-IT alignment through semantic rules and query. Namely, the specified requirements (in business language) are compared with the cloud service/worklfow specifications (in IT language) such that the matched cloud services/workflows are displayed.
  • Allows accomodating the evolution of requirements easily. The adopted ontology-based metamodeling approach enables the user to change the concepts in the ontology, which will then be autmatically propagated to the web-based questionnaire interface.  

Steps to use the protoype:

  1. From the BPaaS Design Environment the broker can double click on the modeling element that refers to the requirement specification. This can be linked to one process, a group of tasks of a single task. In result, a notebook will open.
  2. In the Notebook, the broker can click on "Start Questionnaire" and a window will pop up.
  3. The more questions the broker anseres, the more cloud services will be filtered out. The list of the matching services is shown on the right-hand side of the window. 



Context-Adaptive Questionnaire for Business-IT Alignment
Context-Adaptive Questionnaire



Additional Information

Originator: Knut Hinkelmann (FHNW)
Technology Readiness Level: 5
Related CloudSocket Environment: Design