7.1    A Terminology of Enterprise Modeling

The terminology is presented in terms of an overall figure (section ) followed by a list of terms and associated descriptions (section ). The purpose of the terminology is to introduce a vocabulary to be used in formulation of the principles.

7.1.1    An overview of terms

Figure 7.1 outlines most of the concepts that are perceived to be central in an enterprise modeling effort as studied in chapter 6. The figure may be read as follows: Enterprise modeling is performed by a project group (delimited by the "inner ellipsis") belonging to a larger enterprise (delimited by the "outer ellipsis"). The actors of the group are characterized by their knowledge and competence concerning some area of expertise. The modeling effort has some purpose, i.e., the actors have objectives concerning enterprise modeling. The objectives may be espoused (intended use), in-use (actual use) or both.

Enterprise modeling as a process has two main phases: Development (illustrated by the two small gray arrows) and dissemination (the large, gray arrows). Development implies constructing a number of intermediate artifacts, including enterprise models, explanations to models, narratives, metaphors, definitions and examples. These are products of the enterprise modeling process. The artifacts describe a domain. The domain is either an enterprise or the project work itself (Universe of Production or Universe of Modeling). In any case, work is performed in the domain that is modeled.

The artifacts have an expression and an impression according to some observer. The expression is manifested in a medium. An impression can be discussed in terms of elements and structure.

The dissemination phase implies making selected artifacts available to other actors an enterprise audience typically within the same organization. This corresponds to making intermediate artifacts become exposed artifacts. The enterprise audience seek to interpret and make sense of artifacts, providing the project group with feedback. Both development and dissemination are essentially communication processes. Communication can utilize a number of different forums and media, each with particular properties and appropriateness for development and dissemination purposes.

Figure 7.1: Concepts that are central to enterprise modeling

Once again, note that figure 7.1 only partially illustrates concepts in enterprise modeling: The intermediate artifacts necessarily also require a medium, are discussed in a forum, have expressions and impressions, etc.

7.1.2    A description of terms

Attention is now turned to a more detailed description of terms. The terms are categorized according to process, products, objectives and organization (the OPPO dimensions). Before looking at the categories, two general terms are introduced:

Phenomenon: The Universe of Discourse is perceived to consist of phenomena, and Krogstie's definition (1995:8) is adopted:

"A phenomenon is something as it appears in the mind of a person. The world is perceived by persons to consist of phenomena. A phenomenon can be perceived to exist independently of the perceiving person, or be perceived to be a purely mental construction."
Hence, "everything" is a phenomenon, it is the basic term in the terminology.

State: A state is a phenomenon with a given value. When the collective state of all phenomena of interest is meant, the phrase state of affairs is used.
 

A project can be considered a phenomenon and finished can be a state of a project. Both phenomena and states are constructed, in the sense that they are not inherently given independently of observing actor.

Processes and phases in enterprise modeling

Some terms related to enterprise modeling as a process:

Process: A process is a related series of changes in states as perceived by an observer. Processes rearrange matter (physical processes) or information (e.g., communication processes). A fundamental property of processes is that they necessarily take time, they have duration.

The distinction between material and information-based processes is due to the perceived difference in difficulties associated with representing the processes, as also discussed in the taxonomy of work developed in section 3.6.

Phase: A phase is a part of a process perceived to be continuous and uninterrupted. Enterprise modeling has a model development phase and a model dissemination phase. Phases may coexist in time (i.e., development and dissemination may as phases be perceived to run simultaneously, as observed in the strategy project).

Model development phase: Model development is a process of creating or changing a model, and includes the activities sense-making, representation, manifestation and distribution. The model development phase refers to the "inner loop" of figure 7.1.

Model dissemination phase: The model dissemination phase is a process of model deployment. Dissemination can be considered to include the same activities as development, i.e., sense-making, representation, manifestation and distribution. Dissemination refers to the "outer loop" of figure 7.1. Even if development and dissemination are decided to be run in parallel, they may still be thought of as phases.

The main phases correspond to perspective making and perspective taking: Model development is mainly perspective making within a community of knowing, and model dissemination is an opportunity for perspective taking.

Enterprise modeling: The description provided in section 3.4.1 was that

"enterprise modeling can be seen as a process of perspective making and perspective taking that involves sense-making, representation, manifestation and distribution of artifacts (enterprise models) being explicit representations of an enterprise as perceived by a group of actors."
This description is still valid after studying the strategy project and incorporates both a model development phase and the model dissemination phase.

Objectives of enterprise modeling

Enterprise modeling efforts involve objectives concerning the use of enterprise models (either implicitly or explicitly stated).

Objective: An objective is a state of affairs that an actor intend to attain through work. Objective is in this context synonymous to goal and purpose. Objectives can be espoused, in-use or both.

Objective espoused: Objectives espoused are explicitly recognized by the actor (but not necessarily externalized). I.e., if an actor intends to use an enterprise model for simulation of aspects of the enterprise, this is an espoused objective. If he also wants to build a model to gain insights into the organization, but keeps this objective to himself, it is still an espoused objective.

Objective in-use: An objective in-use is one that is pursued without awareness, i.e., that manifest itself in action only. Objectives in-use may become objectives espoused through reflection upon practice.

In the context of enterprise modeling, objectives espoused refer to intended use of enterprise modeling, while objectives in-use refer to actual use of enterprise modeling.
 

One of the objectives of enterprise modeling in the strategy project was to use models of decision processes in Statoil to illustrate how the strategy document was to be used (O3). This was an objective espoused, as it was explicitly stated. However, it was not an objective in-use, as these models were never developed, and no explicit decision was made to abandon O3. An example of an objective in-use that was not an objective espoused is the use of models to divide work between actors (O7).
To meet an objective of enterprise modeling, the objective has to be both espoused and in-use, i.e., intended use must be matched by actual use.

Products in enterprise modeling

The central product of both the development and dissemination phase is the enterprise model. However, a number of related artifacts playing a role in enterprise modeling have been identified in the empirical studies.

Artifact: An artifact is a phenomenon created by actors performing work. Artifacts can be dominated by information or matter. In figure 7.1, a differentiation is made between intermediate artifacts and exposed artifacts. An artifact is a construction, in the sense that the associated meaning is local to a community of knowing and subject to a (social) construction process.

The artifacts discussed in the terminology are enterprise models, explanations, narratives, metaphors and definitions.

Primary artifact: The primary artifact (as opposed to subsidiary artifacts) in the context of enterprise modeling is the enterprise model.

Subsidiary artifact: Subsidiary artifacts in the context of enterprise modeling are artifacts that are not considered primary (i.e., enterprise models), but play a role in meeting the objectives that enterprise modeling are intended to meet.
 

A metaphor can be used to reduce the problems of understanding a certain concept, as observed in the strategy project. Still, a metaphor is not considered an enterprise model. Consequently, a metaphor can be considered a subsidiary artifact. 
Intermediate artifact: A intermediate artifact is created for the purpose of developing other artifacts, but is discarded after its use in the situation where it was created. The prototype of an intermediate artifact is the informal sketch drawn on a piece of paper in order to explain an idea and never used again.

Exposed artifact: An exposed artifact is created and used to meet the objectives of enterprise modeling and transferred from the development phase to the dissemination phase. Boundary objects used for communication of perspectives are typical examples of exposed artifacts.

Note that both primary and subsidiary artifacts can be intermediate and exposed. The rationale for introducing these concepts will become evident when discussing lessons learned from the empirical studies.

Model: A model is an artifact that describes another phenomenon in the eye of some observing actor, as depicted in figure 3.2. It is constructed as a part of a model development phase and can be considered to consist of an expression and an impression. Models have a domain and can be categorized as descriptive, prescriptive (normative) or proscriptive (Curtis et al., 1992:84) depending on their relationship to the domain. Models have a medium.

Domain: Domain is synonymous to Universe of Discourse. It refers to the phenomena that the modelers are interested in representing.

Enterprise model: An enterprise model is a model with an enterprise as its domain. What typically constitutes an enterprise is described on page .

Model expression: A model expression is the physical artifact that mediates the model contents (the model impression). Some examples of model expressions are text, sound, pictures, video, diagrams, smell and voltage.
 

Examples of model expressions from the strategy project are the high-level diagram of the Statoil business (M3) and the picture of infrastructure in the North Sea (M4). The expressions were pixels on a computer screen in the Web version of the strategy document. 
Model impression: A model impression is the meaning that an observer attributes to a model expression. Impressions depend upon the interpreting actor. Model impressions have elements and structure.

Model element: A model element is a phenomenon that represents a part of a model to an observer.

Model structure: A model's structure is the relationships between model elements in a model. Structure is relative to the observer.

Medium: A medium is the means by which something is expressed or communicated (Oxford, 1990:774). Examples of media are paper and World Wide Web.

Narratives and metaphors are examples of subsidiary artifacts in enterprise modeling as observed in the strategy project.

Narrative: A narrative is a story describing a sequence of situations and characters, stated in terms of text. A narrative is concrete, in the sense that it creates a fictional or factual world of characters and events according to a timeline. In (Alvarez and Merchán, 1992:27), a narrative is defined as

"the discourse of a narrator recounting the discourse of the characters"
Hence, they stress the actors and their identities in a narrative. Here, concreteness and sequence is stressed as well, focussing on the dynamic properties of a narrative.

Metaphor: A metaphor is a phenomenon that can be stated on the form A is B and in which A is attributed meaning from B non-literally. According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980:5), the essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another, making sense of unknown phenomena in terms of known phenomena. Metaphors are models, but they are deliberately inaccurate, as they illuminate some aspects of a phenomenon and shadows others (Alvesson, 1993:116).

Explanation: Gulla (1993:56) refers to an explanation as a description that in practice enables one to understand certain phenomena, being expressed in terms of text, sounds, film, etc. The purpose of an explanation is to reduce the difficulties of understanding a phenomenon, i.e., to ease perspective taking.

Example: An example is a phenomenon that is a member of a group of phenomena, grouped for some purpose and according to some descriptive criteria. An example is more concrete than the descriptive criteria (the class).

Definition: A definition is a statement on the form Term = Sentence, where the meaning of the Term and the meaning of the Sentence is intended to be identical. Terms and sentences can be seen as alternative formulations of meaning.

All the artifacts discussed here can play the role of boundary objects (when being exposed artifacts). However, the artifacts also have additional use in the sense-making process internally in the project group (as intermediate artifacts).

Actors and organization

The following concepts were central to enterprise modeling in the empirical studies:

Actor: An actor has the ability to change the state of a phenomenon and the ability to interpret and communicate. Actors may have objectives.

Subtypes of actors are human beings and computers. An actor has attention that can be directed at phenomena. Attention is a limited resource. Actors have competence and knowledge within some domain. An actor that create models is called a modeler.

Competence: Competence is the ability of an actor to change the state of a phenomenon. Competence is a required ability to execute a process, to do work. Competence is synonymous to skill.

Knowledge: Knowledge is an actor's understanding of a phenomenon and the ability to change the state of a model of the phenomenon. The distinction between competence and knowledge is vital, as having knowledge about a phenomenon is not equivalent to having competence concerning the same phenomenon.

The difference between competence and knowledge is eminently grasped by Brown and Duguid (1991:48) in their discussion of organizational learning and communities-of-practice:

"The central issue in learning is becoming a practitioner not learning about practice."
To be a practitioner within some domain implies having competence, while learning about practice implies becoming knowledgeable about the domain.
 
A researcher on enterprise modeling may claim to have knowledge of enterprise modeling. He cannot claim to be competent within the area without having experience as a modeler. The researcher is not an enterprise modeler, rather an enterprise modeling theorist. However, he may claim to have both knowledge and competence in doing research on enterprise modeling. 
Actors do enterprise modeling in project groups within an enterprise.

Project group: A project is a time-limited process with one or more limited objectives (often in terms of a product) and organization composed in order to meet this particular objective. The actors in a project comprise a project group.

Enterprise audience: The enterprise audience are comprised of the customers, users, or other actors that are supposed to have interests in the enterprise models being developed by the project group.

Enterprise: An enterprise is an organization with partially overlapping objectives working together for some period of time in order to attain their objectives. The actors utilize technology, competence, information and other resources in order to transform input to products that satisfy the needs of customers (Christensen et al., 1995:1172).

Forum: A forum is an arena for communication and sense-making. Examples of forums are project meetings, email distribution lists and company newsletters.

A project group can be viewed as a community of knowing, developing knowledge internally in the group (perspective making) before exposing it in terms of boundary objects to the enterprise audience for perspective taking.