The Bizverse Cloud is an ontology-first BaaS (Backend as a Service) that facilitates platform business models. It offers a cloud service model that provides all the behind-the-scenes functionality required for web applications so that 3rd party application providers only have to be concerned with the front-end, or UI. In other words, it provides a ready-made environment for all the server-based activities generally required by business applications, such as user authentication, database management, remote updating, cloud storage and so forth. All services are API-based with various frameworks and artifacts provided to utilize these services. The Bizverse Cloud BaaS includes the following artifacts (click the list item for more information):.
The Bizverse Cloud utilizes a semantic model as the basis for a system of reference, where ontologically demarcated data is stored and accessed via the API using the templated object definitions of the model that provides the architectural framework for the Bizverse ecosystem (the model can be explored using the Enterprise Workspace Explorer that is provided as a standard portal accessible to authorized users via the universal UI in the Bizverse Facade).
An ontology is a description (like a formal specification of a program), of the concepts and relationships that can formally exist for an agent or a collection of agents. Ontologies are often equated with taxonomic hierarchies of classes, class definitions, and the subsumption relation. The Bizverse Cloud utilizes a domain ontology called MONJO; it encompasses the representation, formal naming and definition of the categories, interdependent properties and relations between the concepts, entities and events that substantiate all domains of business management. Simply put, the ontology provides a way of illuminating the objects with their properties and interdependencies for enterprise management (that is, for the enterprise management discipline or subject area).
The MONJO domain ontology employed by the Bizverse Cloud provides an extensible semantic model of all subject data combined with associated domain knowledge. It enables (i) interoperability of heterogeneous information systems, (ii) facilitates the modeling of domain knowledge, and (iii) simplifies the development of business applications and documentation:
As system of reference the Bizverse Cloud presents user organizations with a single source of truth. Information systems used by organizations are often connected to heterogeneous data sources that are built and managed by different suppliers. The problem is that communication between these systems is often based on different conceptual schemas (terminologies) which arise from different organizational preferences, practices, and standards. The MONJO ontology provides an exhaustive and rigorous conceptual schema which serves as the consensual reference utilized by the Bizverse UIP (a Bizverse BaaS sevice), to solve interoperability issues in a federated manner.
The definitions of the semantic template provide a conceptual model reflecting the fundamental concepts of enterprise management. It models consensual knowledge which is integrated into information systems where it provides the “conceptual backbone” enriched with semantics. This semantic layer assists in the deeper expression of the concepts, which are then used by information systems to provide meaningful feedback to users.
Web-based information systems are typically developed and managed autonomously, which supposes that autonomous negotiations between web services are provided by these systems. Web services are the result of different stakeholders' efforts, and this often leads to disunity in the semantics of shared concepts. When used in the context of application development, the ontology formalizes the social interaction that occurs between stakeholders and designers during the design process. It is used practically for the annotation of components of the system that is being developed, allowing participants to better recognize components and efficiently communicate requirements using these annotations.
The Bizverse BaaS includes a composer - MONAKO - which allows selected MONJO objects to be composed into application sets, which can then immediately be rendered as working applications.
The Bizverse Cloud provides a comprehensive RESTful application program interface (API) that utilizes HTTP requests to access and use the web services of the platform. REST, or REpresentational State Transfer, is a software architectural style that defines a set of constraints to be used for creating Web services (web services that conform to the REST architectural style, are called RESTful Web services). Bizverse BaaS web services allow requesting systems to access and manipulate textual (JSON) representations of the platform's web resources by using a uniform and predefined set of stateless operations. Web resources encompass every object - thing, entity, or action - defined by the Bizverse Semantic Template. The result is optimized performance, reliability, and the ability to scale by reusing components that can be managed and updated without affecting the system as a whole (even whilst it is running), as well as facilitating interoperability with other computer systems deployed on the internet.
The Bizverse Cloud provides a framework that includes a number of services that allow organizations to setup and manage their own online communities or collaboration hubs.
Collaboration hubs are purposed online member networks, each a community of enterprises that are connected to a central sponsor organization that serves as the custodian/administrator of that hub. These can be created for connecting with customers, suppliers, service providers and employees. The purpose of a hub can be any shared collaboration objective, such as supply chain integration, collaborative sourcing, trade networks, joint projects, cross-enterprise workflow, inter-company data exchange, product/service/support requests and feedback, leads and opportunities, transaction tracking, product information, training and much more. It is also well-suited for managing the collaboration efforts of collectives such as business chambers, leagues and industry clusters.
The framework includes a comprehensive range of services that facilitate hub enrolments, IP subscriptions, data exchanges, agreements, mandates, workflows and more. These services enable deep levels of collaboration and information sharing and collaboration.
Document-oriented Database Management services provides cost-efficient, scalable capacity and manages common database administration tasks to ensure that customer data is protected with appropriate backup and recovery procedures, providing a secure data storage environment, and monitoring database performance. The managed object database is provided to the user as a Bizverse workspace, which enables users to set up, operate and scale data storage using a common set of abstractions (primitives), without having to either know, nor care about the exact implementations of those abstractions for their specific workspace.
A common challenge faced by most modern organizations is the huge amount of siloed data they must deal with - data that originates from disparate operations management systems, spreadsheets and documents. Besides serving the needs of the originating applications, systems and processes, such data may become a lot more valuable when it can be utilized for other purposes. For example, when it is re-used as source data for performance management, scorecards, business intelligence, decision support and formulating strategy.
The variety and extent of the data structures, combined with the differences in the interpretation and meaning of similar data elements, greatly increases complexity and so impacts the cost of integration. This complexity is further compounded when different systems become alternative master data sources for the same data entity. It becomes very difficult, bordering on impossible, to have a common data access service that provides a consolidated, near real-time picture of an enterprise’s total data resource.
Integration comprises two aspects: (1) process integration - such as the integration of B2B transactions - and (2) application data integration - such as providing input data to an application that is sourced from other external data sources, including relational databases, enterprise applications, files and big data sources. The Bizverse Cloud provides a cost-effective integration platform - called the Unified Integration Platform, or UIP - that enables organizations to connect and integrate all their processes and systems data - both SaaS and Enterprise Applications - providing in the cloud, on-premise and hybrid implementation options.
The UIP presents user-definable web services that can be used for publishing information about selected objects to an external client via an endpoint. The external client may be a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel or Google Sheets), business intelligence tool, or any external system with the ability to access a RESTful web service. Outputs are available as JSON, XML, CSV, or as an html table. These are used for making information available to other applications - as a server - and also for receiving information from other systems - as a client. A web service is simply an interoperable machine-to-machine software function that is hosted at a network addressable location. Each web service provides an interface that hides the implementation details so that it can be used independently of the hardware or software platform on which it is implemented, and independently of the programming language in which it is written. Access is controlled through the use of tokens.
Web services provided by the Bizverse BaaS utilize a set of API 'modules' that have been built to interact with other systems; they are used along with 'data transformers' (mapping templates) that match the object definitions of the Bizverse Semantic Model with the data dictionaries and structures of those other external systems. The creation of web services is simple. There is no need to understand the Bizverse API, nor to do any programming.
The in-UI Bizverse Object Exchange allows objects to be exchanged between workspaces. These exchanges always take place within the context of a community sponsor-member relationship. User-action is required to send a selected object instance from the sending-side; user-action is also required on the receiving-side, to annex the sent object (into the receiving Workspace). That is, in-UI, on the sending side, the user selects and sends the object instance; on the receiving side the user activates the Object Exchange Console, selects, reviews, and optionally annexes the received object instance.
It is often necessary to automatically exchange certain information, or to refresh information between trading partners on a regular basis. Hub owners (community sponsors) also have the ability to define data exchange policies for information to be sent to a community member, or to be received from the member. These data exchange policies are installed and communicated to members in a controlled and transparent manner. All data exchanges are logged, and are ultimately controlled by the two parties involved.
Object exchanges may either be direct exchanges, or object clones, or transactional exchanges, or object transforms.
Normally any object may be directly exchanged. However, within the context of a particular application/workbench, exchange of specified objects may be forbidden, or may be allowed only as an object transform by specifying an object exchange control that will govern the exchange.
Cloned objects retain the original structure and most of its data, but some 'local' data may need workspace specific adjustment.
In the case of transactional object exchanges, the core information of the object is maintained while the object class is changed or re-cast. Transactional exchange types require an object exchange control that maps source data to the appropriate destination attributes.
Transformed objects are typically used for transactions and undergo more fundamental changes during an exchange, for example, a purchase order sent to a supplier becomes a sales order within the supplier's workspace.
The Bizverse Cloud Application Services API provides a comprehensive user interaction facade that incorporates a universal UI, G-Suite integration, (future - and a bot/conversational-style user interaction service).
The standard Bizverse UI utilizes 9 fundamental interface artefacts, viz., Portals, Workbenches, Workbooks, Workflows, Dashboards, Grids, Forms, Jigs, and Widgets. An Application Portal is a single entry-point to a group of Workbenches, Workflows and Dashboards, where such grouping normally represents a coordinated application system. In other words, the functionality provided by the portal’s collection of digital artefacts supports the functions, tasks and activities of a certain business management domain, such as Human Resource Management, Asset Management, Contracts Management, and so forth.
When logging into a Bizverse Workspace, the UI will display the Portals that have been installed for the selected Workspace, which the user (i) has been authorized to use, and (ii) which the user has accepted. Available portals are shown as tiles in the universal UI. When a user selects a Portal, the UI presents the Workbenches, Workflows and Dashboards that are part of the Portal; some of these may be shared by more than one portal; that is, the same Workbench (or Workflow/Dashboard), may also be provided by another Portal.
A Workbench is a single entry-point to a group of related Workbooks, with such grouping usually being function-focused. In other words, the typical focus of a Workbench is a functional management domain, such as Procurement, Fulfilment, Master Data, Production Planning, and so forth.
A Workbook presents a composite view of a particular subject business object (subject-object) in the context of related business objects.
A Workflow is a sequence of stages/steps involved in moving from the beginning to the end of a business process - also referred to as a work-stream - and includes Workbooks and tasks that are passed to the stage participants for action.
Grids, Forms and Jigs expose the data content of the Workbook’s constituent business objects, and provide a set of context-sensitive tools that allow authorized users to access and work with the Workbook’s data content. In other words, Workbooks are object-centred views that provide an integrated environment for creating and editing a subject-object instance, and the associated instances of related object types.
Portals, Workbenches, Workflows and Workbooks are navigational constructs that are used by the UI to provide users easy access to an application’s functional constructs (Grids, Forms, Utilities, Jigs and Dashboards).
A Dashboard is a graphical information presentation tool that combines a number of related Widgets; each Widget visualizing some key performance indicator (KPI) or metric (key data point). The result is an at-a-glance view of the status (“health”) of its source object set (which could be the business, a department, a specific process, a trading partner, an employee, and so on).
Grids are multi-instance UI presentation constructs that list a subject instance set (“list of records”); they are often employed in Workbooks to present related object instance sets (e.g., the Orders placed by a Customer) The individual instances presented in a grid can usually be further navigated and processed; for example, opened as a form, deleted, updated, and so on. Forms are UI presentation constructs utilized to present the details of an object instance; a form can contain embedded grids that present sets of related instances (to the subject-object instance). Workbooks may contain multiple forms. Forms are usually arranged as a number of tabs, where each tab typically represents a subsection, or ‘topic’, of the selected object type. Jigs are specialized utilities that generally perform functions that cannot be performed by the Universal UI without deviating from the standardised UI pattern. These utilities may be accessed directly through a web browser (included using an i-frame or may be launched from within the universal UI toolbar).
Google's G-Suite based utilities are available through the use of add-ons. Bizverse G-Suite Add-ons make it easy to access data stored in your Bizverse Workspace directly from a Google document. This is done by installing an appropriate add-on, and then authorising it to access your Workspace data. Google Sheets that have a Bizverse Connector, effectively provides another UI layer for analysis, planning and reporting.
The Repository service provides the ability to define and populate content repositories that can be made available to workspace users by means of the subscription service of community management framework.
Repositories can be used to provide out-of-the-box configuration of publication templates, default templates, settings and frameworks. It also provides an easy way share and distribute Intellectual Property, such as encoding standards (e.g., SIC, SAICS, NAICS, etc.), best practice methodologies (e.g., ISO, ITIL, SCOR, etc.), and other IP (e.g., lists presenting standard policies, procedures, practices, performance metrics, jobs/positions with required skills & competencies, etc.).
Composing snapshot templates that covers a wide spectrum of information addressing the needs of all stakeholders in a collective’s ecosystem. These snapshots can be directly rendered as dashboards, reports and scorecards utilising popular BI platforms such as Mongo Analytics, Google Analytics, Power BI, Kabila, etc.
The Bizverse Cloud Storage service utilizes multiple distributed resources, in a federated (multi-tenant) storage cloud architecture that is provided to users as workspaces that safely and securely store their digital Bizverse objects in a remote Cloud-based database. There is therefore us no need for Bizverse users to store this data on their own servers, nor worry about backups, elasticity or scalability.
Because all workspaces stores their information as structured digital objects that are based on the same ontology, using the same cloud storage infrastructure, it presents the ability to easily exchange digital objects, and to interact between workspaces.
The Bizverse Cloud utilizes the “sign-in with Google” feature, which is based on the OAuth 2.0 protocol. The fundamental piece of user information that the system requires is one Google account ID for each user for user validation. In other words, a Google identity is required for each person who uses any of the Bizverse Cloud's web resources, such as accessing any application portal or utility connected to a Bizverse workspace.
The Bizverse Cloud uses the OAuth 2.0 protocol for authentication and authorization. It uses its copy of these IDs to establish a unique Bizverse identity for each connecting user. All of a user's access rights to Bizverse workspaces, portals and web apps are ultimately tied to this identity. The Bizverse only utilizes your Google account ID for identification purposes to make access distinctions possible, and to track user activity. It does not keep copies of external passwords for identification purposes (including your Google password).
The Auto Communication service allows communication templates to be defined for any object and for various mediums such as email or phone text. These templates contain variable information, similar to mail merge templates, and is automatically generated and sent on the occurrence of predefined events and triggers, or on user action. The auto created messages are based on these templates, and the underlying object instance which is the subject of the communication.
Information contained in Bizverse Workspace may be exposed in a web browser using a Bizverse Publication's url. This is made possible by user-definable Publication Templates with interactive elements. Such publications are easily embedded into web pages. The result is that information that is made visible on a web page is directly drawn from a workspace, and is therefore 'live', i.e. content management without a CMS. Custom styling sheets may be specified to match its presentation to the host web site.
The Bizverse BaaS provides 2 types of workflow management services, namely a Decision Workflow service, and an Assignment Workflow service.
A Decision Workflow allows for the definition of a standardised, workspace-specific route, process or path that must be followed to arrive at a decision point. It allows the sequence and details of every step in the workflow to be specified in a template that will then govern implementations of the workflow.
Assignment workflows govern the allocation of responsibility for completing specified tasks by the assigned User. Assignment workflows are specified using standard Bizverse objects.
Creating Bizverse applications is fundamentally different than the classical waterfall (“analysis-design-programming-testing”) approach.
The Bizverse platform incorporates an application framework, MONAKO, which facilitates the creation of business systems from behaviourally-complete business objects. The Bizverse API exposes these business objects to the user, using a universal user interface (UI) that auto-renders user presentation from the object definitions. The rendered UI provides the appropriate data presentation, access rights, processing methods, and links to related objects.
Monako represents a true no-code approach to application development: there is no need for scripts, queries or controllers; and there are no screens to be painted. With MONAKO applications are composed by extending the ontology when necessary; and then selecting object groups to form workbenches and workflows; and adjusting the selected objects’ behaviour by selecting appropriate values for relevant properties.
Applications built with the framework are agile, meaning they can accommodate changing business requirements, because behaviourally-complete objects carve the application functionality at its natural joints. Because new applications are automatically and immediately rendered according to the meta-data specifications provided by the business objects, it allows an application architect/composer to rapidly iterate through multiple versions that better match the evolving understanding of the application requirements.
The impact on the overall development process is remarkable in terms of speed of development, and getting to precisely what the user actually wants and needs. The business objects provide a common language between the application architect/composer and the user, which significantly improves communication during the process of exploring requirements. And because the user presentation is auto-generated from the business object definitions, the resultant applications are immediately usable, allowing the modeled object to be validated and adjusted (which is immediately rendered again as working application functionality). This facilitates very rapid prototyping, but unlike traditional forms of rapid prototyping, it is not merely prototyping the user interface, it is composing the actual application. Because the user presentation is auto-generated from the business object definitions, the developer does not need to do anything related to the UI. In fact, the conventional notion of screen-painting disappears.
Learn more about no-code development in the Bizverse...
The basic development approach for the Bizverse BaaS is "ontology-first". In other words, applications are defined by selecting applicable object definitions from the ontology, and defining new objects when needed. Selected objects’ behaviour are then 'tuned' by selecting appropriate values for relevant properties to serve the specific needs of the particular application. Applications composed in this manner function by utilizing the ready-made Bizverse API that interprets the object definitions. Applications are rendered by the UI and API acting together to interpret the object definition, producing the required visualizations and related behaviour. This approach operates on the premise that all platforms and apps, regardless of their particular idiosyncrasies and unique complex requirements, nevertheless share essential base artifacts and service requirements. It can simplistically be explained as follows: the API extracts the relevant workspace information and builds the view based on the rules specified by the ontology, and passes it to the UI; the UI in turn interprets the application's presentation requirements - also provided by the object definitions - rendering an appropriate presentation using standard presentation artifacts, e.g., grids, tables, forms, etc. Workspaces are collections of data objects belonging to a particular business or person, which may only be accessed by the workspace’s authorised users, through its subscribed applications. A Community is a collection of workspaces that are able to interact with a Bizverse Hub, and which enables the Hub to interact with each Hub member, independently, for the exchange of data objects, and/or for the provision of application portals and other IP. Application Portals are the entry point to a workspace through which most interactions with its contained information will take place. A Bizverse Portal is typically made up of a collection of workbenches, workflows, jigs and dashboards. Workbenches and workflows in turn, are collections of workbooks through which a user interacts with the workspace data. Besides standard create-read-update-delete (CRUD) functionality, workbooks may also provide jigs, which are custom-built specialized utilities.
The following online resources provide more information about the Bizverse: