The basic objective of modern observatories is to globally maximize their efficiency and ensure a high, constant and predictable data quality. These challenges can only be met if the scientific operation of such facilities, from the submission of observing programs to the archiving of all information, is carried out in a consistent and well controlled manner. The size, complexity and long operational lifetime of such systems make it difficult to predict and control their behavior with the necessary accuracy. Moreover they are subject to changes and are cumbersome to maintain. We present in this paper an object-oriented end-to-end operations model which describes the flow of science data associated with the operation of the VLT. The analysis model helped us to get a clear understanding of the problem domain. We were able in the design phase to partition the system into subsystems, each of them being allocated to a team for detailed design and implementation. Each of these subsystems is addressed in this paper. Prototypes will be implemented in the near future and tested on the new technology telescope (NTT). They will allow us to clarify the astronomical requirements and check the new operational concepts introduced to meet the ambitious goals of the VLT.