|Personally, my major realization from this discussion is that it may be no more than a nice word. |
What I think enterprise means/implies/waves a hand at:
- something that spans component organizations
- something providing value by coordinating across those organizations
- implies some level of collaboration that goes beyond the enterprise’s ability to command
- also see the component organizations giving up some autonomy (although not necessarily permanently) to make the collaboration work
Under this definition, a standards development organization is an example of an enterprise, but enterprise is not a term I’d typically associate with an SDO.
Martin, all -
beside us, there is a huge movement in the industry that debates enterprise vs. organisations and they have a sub-stream that I share: enterprise is a gathering of people who share interest, goal, needs, intentions; an organisation is a formal structure with internal power and control within the boundaries (though in some cases power and control may be used by the organisation outside of irs boundaries). In this case, an organisation may overlap with several enterprises while one is always in the organisation - it is anenterprise of its owners and/or executives.
I think that people started to use 'enterprise' term after US Government, which, actiully, used it becuase of a nice word.
Lots of words are used in multiple ways ("overloaded" if you like) and this is one of them.
I've concluded that it's pointless to try to establish the "correct" definition for such words-- we are not the Academie Francaise, after all, or the OED; we can, however, decide how we will use the term in a particular document, report or whatever (and make that clear.) Or, rather than use really horribly overloaded terms, we can avoid them and pick another less popular term, and provide a nice clear definition in a glossary appendix.
With that preamble, I think a useful distinction I've heard in the discussion (e-mail and oral) in the SOA-RM TC is that "enterprise" should be used (in SOA-RM TC documents) to denote organizations (including joint ventures, associations, programs, temporary organizations) with a single purpose (and not merely "large" organizations, for example, despite my own first thought on the topic.)
If we adopt that ("common purpose") idea, then we should definitely state the definition in any document that uses it.