Model-based enterprise engineering

Recently, Springer initiated a new series on enterprise engineering. This series defines enterprise engineering as:
Enterprise Engineering is an emerging discipline for coping with the challenges (agility, adaptability, etc.) and the opportunities (new markets, new technologies, etc.) faced by contemporary enterprises, including commercial, nonprofit and governmental institutions. It is based on the paradigm that such enterprises are purposefully designed systems, and thus they can be redesigned in a systematic and controlled way. Such enterprise engineering projects typically involve architecture, design, and implementation aspects.
The increased complexity of enterprises as well as the ecologies in which they operate, the introduction of more regulations and compliance requirements, all require enterprises to be more explicit about their organisational design and performance.

I take the position that enterprises should turn to the use of models to make the design, as well as the performance, of organisations explicit. It also enables the conscious trade-off of different design alternatives in terms of analysis of models representing the different alternatives. I therefore would like to argue that enterprise engineering should be regarded as a model-intensive activity.

As such, I believe enterprise engineering can benefit a lot from the model-based competencies build up in the fields of information systems engineering and software engineering. It does, however, require these competencies to be extended beyond their traditional "IT focus". I do realise that both the fields of information systems engineering and software engineering have produced modelling techniques that cover more than just computing aspects. However, in terms of Morgan's Image of Organization they tend to take a machine-oriented perspective on organisations. A future challenge is to increase the richness of our modelling techniques to also include/enable other perspectives or organisations.

When looking at enterprise engineering, we could roughly define a (continuous & cyclic) value chain of modelling activities, covering:
  1. Assess - Insight into the performance of the current sitation of the enterprise. Its performance and/or its base-line design/architecture.
  2. Aim - Selection, evaluation and articulation of the desired target design/architecture of the enterprise.
  3. Act - Usage of models to govern (manage & direct) the transformation of the enterprise in the direction of the selected target.
In each of the stages, several model challenges can be discerned:
  1. Assess - Models of the existing situation need to be produced. Mixing elicitation of the current situation from domain experts, or by mining of observations of the operational situation. A shared understanding of (and consensus about) the models needed among the key stakeholders. The resulting models can be used to further analyse the desiredness of the current situation. This requires rich analysis techniques.
  2. Aim - Identification of requirements/constraints of "ideal" alternative as well as the path towards the achievement of this ideal. Formulation of different alternatives in terms of models. Evaluation and analysis of these alternatives (and the paths towards their realisation) in terms of the identified requirements. A shared understanding of (and consensus about) the selected alternative should be attained.
  3. Act - Monitor and direct the realisation of the desired target enterprise. Since the realisation, as executed by projects, involves models as well, from an analytical point of view this would boils down to forms of model verification.
Once more, the assess/aim/act phases should be regarded as highly cyclical.


  1. Thanks for the information, I like your take on blogging.


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