3.5 A Taxonomy of Enterprise Modeling Based on Purpose
Enterprise modeling may have many purposes, as indicated by the definitions
in section and observations from the three initial empirical studies. By
purpose of enterprise modeling is meant answering the question "What
is the primary intended use of enterprise modeling?". Differences in purpose
lead to differences in both approach to modeling and in qualities of the
models that are developed. The main reason for introducing a taxonomy of
enterprise modeling based on purpose is to avoid comparison and critique
of approaches that have different purposes.
3.5.1 Three categories of enterprise modeling
Three main categories of purposes for enterprise modeling are proposed
(adapted from Christensen et al., 1995:1175):
The three categories are not intended to be complete and disjoint in the
sense that any purpose of enterprise modeling fits one and only one of
the categories. They are more intended as pragmatic categories.
Human sense-making and communication
The main purpose of enterprise modeling is to make sense of aspects
of an enterprise and communicate with other actors.
The main purpose of enterprise modeling is to gain knowledge about
the enterprise through simulation or deduction.
Model deployment and activation
The main purpose of enterprise modeling is to integrate the model in
an enterprise wide information system and thereby actively take part in
the work performed by the organization.
One immediate reaction to the above categories may be "Only three?!
I know of a lot more purposes!" A fundamental insight is that purposes
depend upon each other, and while some purposes are direct, others are
indirect. E.g., the purpose of "change the way work is done" is an indirect
purpose: Creating models does not change the way work is done. Creating
models may change your understanding of some situation, leading
to change of how work is done. Hence, understanding precedes change.
|Improved understanding can be a result of modeling belonging
to all three categories. Category I is exclusively dedicated to
sense-making and communication. Category II may increase understanding
of phenomena that are not obvious (e.g., dynamic behavior of complex phenomena),
and modeling in category III may guide a novice in his work and
thereby improve his understanding of how work is done.
Category I: Human sense-making and communication
Enterprise modeling within category I is the main focus of this
thesis: How to use enterprise modeling to support human sense-making and
communication in organizations. Enterprise modeling within category I
focuses on the modeling process -- how to ensure that an appropriate perspective
is constructed and understood, and how to enable perspective taking by
A model developed as a part of category I enterprise modeling
may be "anything" as long as it fulfills the requirement from section that
it is a representation of something else, and that the UoD is perceived
to be an enterprise. Hence, there are no requirements to medium, formality
of modeling language or use of technology.
Category II: Computer-assisted analysis
The main objective within category II is to develop models that
can be used to produce answers to questions. Using computers, one may reduce
the burden of "manual" execution of models as is required if models from
category I are to be used. Computers may efficiently calculate critical
paths in project plans, summarize cost figures, simulate effects of coordination
policies, etc. Christiansen's work on computational organizational models
is an example within category II (Christiansen, 1993).
The main focus is on enterprise models per se, in order to make
them accurate enough to match the UoD. Modeling as an activity is not necessarily
important in itself as long as the model has the desired qualities. An
observation is that one do not "create" anything new from interaction with
the model as much as retrieve information (simulation may be considered
retrieval of information in a broad sense, although simulation may visualize
dynamic behavior or find patterns in data not practically feasible for
humans to see without computerized support).
Category II represents the main objective of creating models
within the traditional engineering disciplines: Construction of models
of artifacts (product models) in order to test them before building them
(Rumbaugh et al., 1991:15).
Category III: Model deployment and activation
Within category III of enterprise modeling, the model becomes a
part of the actual production system or information system in the organization.
The model is explicit, as opposed to the way models are used in
information systems development, where conceptual models are used initially
to gain understanding, but the final information system is independent
of the model (changes to the model is not automatically reflected in the
information system). Model deployment and activation corresponds to process
model enactment within the software process modeling area (Finkelstein
et al., 1994) and to workflow automation within the workflow management
domain (Marshak, 1994).
The essence of enterprise modeling within category III is to
change the world more directly than in category II: In category
III, one may think of the enterprise models actually employed in
doing work. The enterprise model and the associated computerized interpreter
may be considered an active actor in the organization.
3.5.2 Purposes observed in the empirical studies
The main purpose in common to all three projects was to improve the understanding
of Statoil business. Modeling in the VPT and PA30 projects clearly
belongs to category I. However, it was the modeling teams that needed
to improve their understanding of the business in order to suggest new
projects or improvements to the processing plant.
Modeling in the Gazz project was originally intended as a way to think
more holistically -- as a tool to support strategic thinking. In this sense,
one may consider enterprise modeling in Gazz to belong to category I.
The purpose was not to compute answers. However, as the customers shifted
to also incorporate engineers, the purpose of modeling was to come up with
more realistic figures for capacities and economy. Hence, the modeling
effort is categorized as of type II in the taxonomy.