An Enterprise is a type of System.
The word Enterprise is used as a general noun - to refer to
things such as public and private companies, government agencies, charities,
universities etc. This is not an exhaustive list but illustrates the point. In
addition we use the word Enterprise as a general noun in place of many other
words people may use to refer to each these “types”. For example, a Private
Company may be called a Company, Business, Corporation, Conglomerate,
Organisation, SME, Firm, Establishment, Group, Multinational or Venture. We use
the word Enterprise to refer to them all.
An Enterprise is a system and therefore every Enterprise
also has an Enterprise Context.
Many people take a different view (citing TOGAF) which is
that an Enterprise could be anything, e.g. a department, a smaller part of a
company, etc, and from a purists point of view they are correct but only if you
use the word Enterprise as synonym for the word System, rather than to describe
a specific type of system - an Enterprise. To support that view they refer to
TOGAF’s Preliminary Stage which states as one of its objectives is “To identify
and scope the elements of the enterprise organizations affected by the business
directive and define the constraints and assumptions (particularly in a
federated architecture environment)” i.e. to restrict the scope of EA to
something that could well be a smaller part of the entire Enterprise and to
further restrict that to “the business directive”.
This is borne out by the rest of TOGAF which is Project
Architecture based rather than Enterprise Architecture based. However, TOGAF
(on page 25 - section 3.34) defines and Enterprise as “The highest level
(typically) of description of an organization and typically covers all missions
and functions. An enterprise will often span multiple organizations.” which
appears to tie in with our definition above. This is one of the many conflicts
and inconsistencies within TOGAF. It says it is an Enterprise Architecture
framework, goes on to define an Enterprise as being typically an organisation
(as described by Pragmatic) but then goes on to
state that the first act is to de-scope the entire Enterprise to something
smaller - and restrict work to a “business directive” at which point it is no
longer Enterprise Architecture but a sub part of the Enterprise and moves
forward from that single transformation project perspective which makes it
project level and not Enterprise Level.