"[Enterprise modeling is] the process of understanding a complex social organization by constructing models." (Rumbaugh, 1993:18)Although it is somewhat questionable to present the definitions out of context, the samples provided above indicate that what constitutes enterprise modeling is not widely agreed upon. However, there are some properties in common for most definitions (explicitly or implicitly stated):
"Enterprise modelling is an approach to model business and operational processes with a goal to enable simulation of operations within the enterprise. It provides a framework for understanding and assessing the organizational structure and processes of the entire enterprise." (GeoMatics, 1996)
"...enterprise modelling is widely used as a catch-all title to describe the activity of modelling any pertinent aspect of an organisation's structure and operation, in order to improve selected measures of the organisation's performance." (Fraser, 1994:2)
"Enterprise modelling is a technique for capturing and validating information systems requirements." (Nellborn and Holm, 1994:172)
However, different communities have developed approaches fit for their
particular purposes. Terms with high relevance to enterprise modeling include
real world modeling (Opdahl and Sindre, 1994), conceptual modeling
(Rolland and Cauvet, 1992; Sølvberg and Kung, 1993), business
modeling (Katz, 1990), process modeling (Curtis et al., 1992),
process mapping (Johansson et al., 1993), data modeling (Hirschheim
et al., 1995) and information modeling (Hanseth and Monteiro, 1994).
Even if terms have somewhat different meaning, the approaches used and
problems encountered have much in common.
|Real-world modeling is more general than enterprise modeling, as the domain may be anything perceived to exist in the real world (not just enterprises). Conceptual modeling can also be considered as a more general concept than enterprise modeling, as the domain of a conceptual model can be more general than an enterprise. Business modeling is synonymous to enterprise modeling. Process modeling is a specialization of enterprise modeling, in the sense that a process may be seen as just one out of many possible aspects of an enterprise.|
In their treatise on conceptual and philosophical foundations of data modeling, Hirschheim et al. (1995:3) reveal and criticize the lack of an explicit ontological and epistemological basis in most approaches to modeling. Their considerations are equally relevant to enterprise modeling, and consequently, section 3.2 is dedicated to discussing two alternative worldviews and their impact on theories of enterprise modeling, human sense-making and communication. The section is closed by a discussion of Boland and Tenkasi's (1995) theory of knowledge production and use, being an integrating framework and the main analytical device in this thesis.
Section 3.3 discusses models and modeling in general, and particularly in light of the theories presented in the preceding section. The concept of enterprise modeling is revisited in section 3.4, and observations from the three initial empirical studies are interpreted according to the theories.
The chapter is closed by an outline of two taxonomies intended as additional analytical devices for the proceeding chapters -- a taxonomy of purposes of enterprise modeling and a taxonomy of types of work that can be modeled.