There are a number of interesting facets to enterprise modeling that make it a powerful, value adding tool. These can be explained by considering the name – enterprise-modeling.
This is a powerful term in its own right, because it enables the users to determine the scope of the enterprise they wish to model. An enterprise could be:
- A defined subset of an organisation
- A complete line of business in an organisation
- A complete organisation
- A collaboration or partnership between two or more organisations
- An industry or industry sector
- A nation
In effect, it can be any “endeavour”, “mutual undertaking” or “enterprise” that a group of people or participants choose to embark upon.
This, too, is a powerful term. We all have mental models – the constructs in our brains of the world we observe and live in. All that we have learned is represented in “models”. Each experience offers us the opportunity to change, adjust, improve our mental models.
When we work together in an enterprise, we find that it is helpful to be working within certain structures and guidelines. These may be expressed explicitly or perhaps simply adopted implicitly. When we want to achieve improved performance, we find ways to adjust and enhance the organisational capabilities, and in doing so change the model of operation, and oftentimes, make more explicit aspects of our agreed, consistent, underlying model of operation. In making our models more explicit, we enable each participant to modify their mental model of how we work together and hence to gain greater alignment in mental models, and therefore hopefully, in shared behaviours, leading to improved enterprise performance.
Many of us have had exposure to the use of models to represent things. Hence, it is not a foreign concept to use and see the value in developing and using models to express how our enterprise does work, should work or could work.
Lastly, a key factor motivating the use of this expression in favour of enterprise architecture derives from:
- modeling is likely to be more readily understood and accepted
- modeling reflects a key part of what is done – creating maps of how organisations work or should work – helping others who “design” the new, improved models of operation – and, thereby, not confusing or challenging roles wherein others in an organisation continue to design the enterprise, but now in a more informed manner through a shared and improved understanding arising from use of models
And lastly, the wonder of the English language. Not only can we use modeling to mean “the making of models”, we can also use it to mean “the demonstrating of models”, so it brings with it the sense of modeling the intended behaviour of an enterprise, bringing into play aspects of behaviour and culture, which are essential perspectives to consider when seeking to improve enterprise performance.