2.5 Concluding Remarks

The enterprise modeling projects presented in this chapter represent three examples of enterprise modeling practice. Recall from section that the main intention of investigating and including the projects in the thesis was as a means to develop a more sophisticated and practical understanding of enterprise modeling (and thereby improve sensitivity). Based on this understanding, the research questions and objectives from section 1.2 were developed and made more concrete.

Consequently, a brief discussion of the research questions is considered appropriate to summarize the studies (recall the questions from section 1.2.2):

The Main Research Question: The overall purpose of enterprise modeling in all three projects was to understand aspects of the enterprise and thereby make sense of initiatives or proposed changes. In VPT, the enterprise models were used to make the proposed projects sensible. In PA30, models and the statement database were used to make the proposed organizational changes sensible. In Gazz, the models were used to make solutions that reduced suboptimization sensible. Hence, all three projects fit the purpose of enterprise modeling stated in the main research question.

The three initial studies have also provided some insights into how enterprise modeling is performed (the is part of the main research question). This is discussed separately below for the four partial research questions.

RQ1: The intended purposes of enterprise modeling were understanding and holistic thinking (although the exact meaning of these terms were not observed to be discussed extensively) The actual use of enterprise models corresponded to intended use, although only within the project groups (i.e., the actors doing the modeling were the only ones observed to improve their understanding).

RQ2: It is difficult to decide which were the most important activities in enterprise modeling as observed in the projects, as none of the teams worked according to any explicitly stated method. Still, a common characteristic to all three projects was the extensive use of face-to-face communication, using meetings as the main forum for enterprise modeling. Discussion was a central activity in all projects.

Although there will be no further discussion of important activities (the research data are not sufficient to answer RQ2 in detail), one lesson learned was that the modeling process was not easy, it was not just to represent an unproblematic and shared reality. Understanding of the enterprise was something that evolved, it was not in place before modeling.

RQ3: The enterprise models observed in the three projects were simple and the modeling languages were informal. The modeling languages were tailored to the use in each particular project (e.g., in PA30, having bombs and clouds denoting problems and opportunities, respectively).

RQ4: One prominent observation from the empirical studies was the agreement that physical flow was easier to model than flow of information in the company. In all three projects, the physical flow was the backbone of the models. Domains like the research process (VPT) or creative processes (PA30) were considered as difficult to model.

The three empirical studies provide a basis for looking into the more theoretically oriented literature on enterprise modeling. The studies play a role both as a guide in reading of literature (to some extent) and to exemplify claims made throughout the thesis. The studies also make the term "enterprise modeling" more concrete to the reader, as can be useful in the proceeding chapter when discussing theoretical and philosophical foundations of enterprise modeling.