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A Visible Solution Paper

Visible Universal Model

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Visible’s Universal Model saves time and money building corporate data architectures and data warehouses

Copyright 1997, Visible Systems Corporation


Visible Universal Model

Visible Universal Model

Visible recently announced the newest version of its Universal Model, which enables companies to more cost-effectively develop high-quality data warehouses, executive information systems, and decision support systems. The enhanced product provides a ready-made template of "universal" business data objects and processes that companies can customize to suit the information needs of their organizations. By not having to develop these objects themselves, companies can shave months off the process of building an enterprise information architecture. The Universal Model also results in a much higher-quality data warehouse than methods that attempt to blend operational data without ensuring consistent enterprise data and process definitions.

Visible Vice President of Consulting Services, Alan Perkins says: "Too many companies today take a ‘silver bullet’ approach to developing data warehouses. As a result, they spend too much time and money and are dissatisfied with the results, because the strategic enterprise view is missing."

"The most common silver bullet is dumping operational data into a shiny new repository," explains Perkins. "This is like storing a company’s old and new parts in a single physical warehouse and then trying to sift through them to find exactly what you’re looking for. The other common approach is to build a ‘magic window’ -- that is, a GUI interface -- into operational systems to extract data for pretty reports. But the result is the same: you end up with jewels and junk in the same bucket, and it’s hard to find the information you truly need for decision support."

"Our Universal Model helps companies do the hard, up-front work of defining a workable enterprise information architecture. We provide a fully normalized, high-quality model of all the common business objects and processes an organization could possibly need. The company then customizes this model, or template, to suit its particular terminology and business structure by defining data and processes at all corporate levels. As a result, companies eliminate the ‘junk factor’ in their data warehouse systems. This top-down approach helps companies transform data into useful, timely, accurate corporate information."

The enhanced Universal Model combines a proven Enterprise Engineering methodology and a powerful software tool that comprises over 300 universal business processes linking the data and business objects that support them. An earlier version of the tools was suitable for enterprise modeling but did not provide reusable business objects. The Universal Model assumes that all business organizations perform a common set of functions, such as marketing, sales, purchasing, and production; that each function performs many of the same activities (contact management, document management, budgeting, accounting, hiring, etc.); and that these activities use similar data.

A company using Visible’s Universal Model would customize the functions, activities, and data to conform to its enterprise and operational business requirements. First, the company, guided by Visible’s skills-transfer consultants, conducts top-down joint application development sessions with executives to determine a vision for the enterprise information architecture. Similar sessions are then held with operational groups. During the process, definitions of key data, business rules, and processes are defined. For example, the company might always refer to customers as "clients" and define "clients" as having certain characteristics, so the template would be modified accordingly. Then, whenever decision support information was sought on "clients" -- such as the growth in the number of new clients during the past quarter -- executives could be certain the information was accurate and all-inclusive and would be presented using readily recognizable terminology.

The Universal Model is normalized to "fifth business normal form," which means that it is truly relational and can capture business rules as data, i.e., as static values for entity instances (and tables) that are readily changeable.

The Universal Model has evolved into its present version through years of accumulated experience in building enterprise information architectures. Because the tool is object-based, it can drive component development and reuse.

The Visible Universal Model is available immediately. A license for the Universal Model costs $100,000, less than one-fifth the cost of many similar industry-specific solutions. Skills-transfer training to help make the most effective use of the Universal Model is an additional cost. The Universal Model is only available using our Visible Advantage CASE tool (our free Education/Evaluation version of Visible Advantage may be used to view, but not modify the Universal Model). Special government pricing for Visible’s products and services is available.

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Further Details on Visible Universal Model

Detailed documentation on the Visible Universal Model is available for you to read online.

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Visible Advantage

The Visible Universal Model was developed using Visible Advantage, which is also used to tailor the Universal Model to your unique environment and requirements. Complete details on this comprehensive I-CASE product are available for you to read online.

A free, limited-capacity but full-function edition of Visible Advantage is available to download for evaluation purposes. Alternatively the full capacity, full-function edition of Visible Advantage can be requested for evaluation purposes.

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More Information

For more information concerning this Visible Solution please contact:

North America

Visible Systems Corporation
201 Spring Street Lexington MA 02421 USA
Phone: +1-781-778-0200 Fax  +1-781-778-0208

Web Site:


Clive Finkelstein, Managing Director
Information Engineering Services Pty Ltd
PO Box 246, Hillarys Perth WA 6923 Australia
Phone: +61-8-9402-8300 Fax: +61-8-9402-8322

Web Site:



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