6.6.2 Intended and actual use of enterprise modeling

The strategy project provided observations concerning both intended and actual use of enterprise modeling, and table 6.3 provides a summary of the objectives.
Label  Objective description  Actors  Intended or actual 
O1  Shared understanding:  Enterprise  Int 
Actors agree upon reality, have a common perspective (belong to the same community of knowing).  Project  Int  Act 
O2  Argumentation and sell-in:  Enterprise  Int 
Sense-making 51; why is a certain decision made? Facilitates perspective taking.  Project  Int  Act 
O3  Illustration of decision-making process:  Enterprise  Int 
A user's guide to the technology strategy, involving both perspective making (project) and taking (enterprise).  Project  Int 
O4  Holistic thinking:  Enterprise  Int 
Be able to understand and accept different perspectives and thereby reduce suboptimization.  Project  Int  Act 
O5  Access and navigate in the strategy document  Enterprise  Int  Act 
O6  Improved decision making:  Enterprise  Int 
Following from a more sophisticated understanding of reality (a more complexified perspective).  Project  Int  Act 
O7  Structuring of meetings, presentations, sequencing, reducing complexity:
Introducing order (elements and relationships) in a perspective. 
Project  Act 
Table 6.3: Intended and actual use of enterprise modeling in the technology strategy project

Table 6.3 includes the following columns:

Most of the objectives in table 6.3 fall within category I -- human sense-making and communication -- from chapter 3. They concern the process of perspective making and perspective taking with both project groups and the enterprise as communities of knowing with respect to modeling of the enterprise. The only exception is the use of enterprise models as a means to access information (O5). This use of models requires that the computer is capable of recognizing the same model elements as the human reader and perform an appropriate action as associated with the chosen model element. Hence, it may be categorized as a category III application of enterprise modeling -- model deployment and activation.

Relative importance of the various objectives

Shared understanding (O1) was the objective most frequently stated, and presumably the one perceived to be most important to the project groups and the customer. This was also restated by the suppliers and academics they met when traveling abroad.

However, when considering the actual use of enterprise models, the O7 objective was the most widely observed (e.g., in WG Gas and in presentations at WS1 and WS3). None of the project actors, customers or users seemed to recognize the role that the models played as structuring devices in presentations, when partitioning work, when ensuring completeness in coverage of a domain, etc.

Meeting the objectives

Table 6.3 raises the question of meeting objectives -- to what degree were the at times rather ambitious objectives really met? An objective that has been assessed as Intended but not Actual is not considered to be met. Objectives marked as only Actual indicate a usage that was not originally recognized and planned (O7), but rather emerged.

Concerning the assessment of whether an objective is met or not, the observation was made that objectives of enterprise modeling were not explicitly discussed. I.e., elaboration of the meaning of "shared understanding" or "holistic thinking" was not given in any of the formal meetings or the documentation. Still, actors used the terms as if they had an intuitive understanding of them. Most objectives were neither easily measurable. Consequently, the assessments are made from the researcher's subjective interpretation of what was meant by the objective and observed actor behavior.

O1 is considered met at the project level, but not in the enterprise as a whole. In the project, the meaning attributed to both the enterprise level models M3, M4, M7 and project level models M1, M5, M6 seemed to be widely agreed upon (qualifying to be categorized as "shared"). The M2 model was also agreed upon after a period of disagreement between the WGs and the PG, as reported in section .

Exceptions at the project level can be found when considering assessments of strengths, weaknesses, etc. and terminology. The disagreements on terminology were not necessarily resolved (two interpretations were allowed to coexist). A similar observation was reported on page , where several interpretations of the term "dynamic document" existed.

The reason that shared understanding was not attained on the enterprise level is simple -- the models were not disseminated widely into the organization (the final deliverable did not include any enterprise models).

O2 was also observed to be met in the project groups, but not in the enterprise as a whole. The models were frequently used in project meetings to provide arguments in favor of certain decisions, but not in the final deliverable.

The presentation held by the WG Gas leader at WS3 (see page 118) exemplifies the use of an enterprise model to provide arguments based on the difference between "as-is" and "to-be" on the Norwegian continental shelf.

O3 can not be considered met, neither in the project groups nor in the enterprise. There were no models or descriptions of the decision making process. Hence, there was no user's guide to the strategy.

O4 seemed to be attained in the project, as models were used to check for completeness (according to the models). However, as the incidence with the introduction of an actor with IT background on page 109 indicates, when the models were not complete, holistic thinking based on the models only was not safe.

O4 was not met in the enterprise. The obvious reason was lack of models in the final deliverable.

O5 was implemented in the Web version of the strategy and hence, it was met. However, as the paper version of the strategy became the official strategy document, the use of the Web version was very limited (according to the actor responsible for the Web version). Hence, the consequences of meeting the objective were limited.

The status of O6 is difficult to assess, as measuring the improvement in decision making necessarily requires at least two comparable situations. It is however reasonable to assess the objective as met in the project (the project participants at least expressed the perceived usefulness of enterprise modeling in their own decision making). The models were not available to the enterprise audience and hence, decision making in the organization in general was not improved by enterprise modeling in the strategy project.

O7 was the only usage that was not explicitly intended, but nevertheless the most dominating. Consequently, the objective must be assessed as met.

Reflections on objectives

From the perspective taken on enterprise modeling in this thesis, the whole strategy project can be seen as essentially a comprehensive attempt at socially constructing an at least partially shared reality both in the project groups developing the strategy and in the organization on the whole, using the strategy. The objectives of the project, focusing on involvement and agreement, clearly demonstrate that the vision was to make the decision makers believe in the same reality -- seeing the same opportunities and threats, and the same needs for strategic development and use of technology. Enterprise modeling was seen as a means to construct this reality.

The enterprise models were used extensively internally in the development of the strategy, but not to the same degree in dissemination (although used extensively for presentations, they did not play a dominant role in the final deliverables). Hence, their main usefulness in the strategy project was as means to construct the local realities of the technology strategy project groups.