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Over the years we've seen the enterprise business modeling efforts of several organizations run into trouble because they inadvertently adopted one or more of the following anti-patterns:

  • Modeling for Modeling's Sake: Too many enterprise modeling efforts are started because a modeler thought it would be a good idea to develop the model. The modeler was probably right—it is a good idea to have an enterprise business model, but if the intended audience doesn't recognize the need for the model, it will be ignored. The solution is to first garner support for enterprise business modeling and then model only enough to add immediate and obvious value to your IT organization.

  • Detailed Enterprise Model: A common misconception is that people need a lot of details in enterprise models. The reality is that what is typically needed is a solid overview and vision of what is required. People rarely read the details, often because they're not interested in them or because they don't trust them to be accurate. The solution is to model with a purpose, to know the audience for your model(s), and to model just enough. Better yet, work with your audience to develop the models. They're the best judges of what they need, not you.

  • Yesterday's Enterprise Model: Many organizations make the mistake of developing an enterprise business model and then declaring it finished. Businesses constantly change, which means that your "finished model" becomes out of date, resulting either in its being ignored or, worse yet, used to make strategic business decisions because it is believed to be accurate. The solution is to update your models on a regular basis as the business changes.

  • Tomorrow Suffers from Today: While attempting to improve business processes, it is a common mistake to describe how things are currently done without exploring how things could be done. The solution is simple: explore new possibilities while keeping today's realities in mind.

  • Ungrounded Future: Ignoring the current approach can be damaging as well because we don't exist in a Utopian world. Like it or not, we are constrained by organizational culture, human imperfections, and resource restrictions. The solution is to understand the current situation before attempting to improve it. Although the current processes may not be optimal, there are probably reasons why things are done the way they are. Understanding those reasons will help you formulate realistic processes.

  • Real-World Disconnect: Modeling the entire business model for the enterprise can be a daunting task. The modeler may do things differently than other people or may completely misunderstand what is actually happening. The solution is to involve the people who actually execute the business processes and get their perspective on the modeling process.

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