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4291Enterprise Taxonomies

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  • Matt Moore
    Feb 7, 2012
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      John,
       
      I'm not really interested in this discussion if:
      - It turns into you extolling your Q6 framework as the answer to every taxonomy issue. For the record, your work seems interesting & useful but I ain't drinking the kool aid just yet.
      - It deals mostly with abstract discussions of "the enterprise". BTW If there is more than one taxonomy in use in an enterprise then calling one of them "the enterprise taxonomy" is inaccurate (regardless of precision) or, at the very least, presumptuous.
       
      Let me give a concrete example. A few years back, I was working with an organisation (lets call them ACME) that decided it wanted an enterprise taxonomy as part of their corporate drive to establish "the ACME way". They assumed that all their subsidaries (most of which had been standalone business they had bought in an aggressive aquisitions spree) ran their businesses in the same way that their HQ did. Now we built a taxonomy around their HQ processes but when they went to test it out in the field, they discovered - to their surprise - that their subsidiaries operated in fundamentally different ways. They didn't just give process elements different names (e.g. "procure" vs "purchase") - which is a classic opportunity for synonyms - the actual processes and entities were radically different across their businesses.
       
      "we can define The Enterprise as all of the people, places and activities, etc currently relevant to and in future anticipation of that concept"
       
      Perhaps, but I have yet to work with an organisation that can exhaustively list all the people all the people, places and activities relevant to itself - let alone form them into a coherent taxonomy. With our current tools, such an effort strikes me as Quixotic (or Borgesian). Generally we have to define what we choose to manage, what we don't and who we make responsible for managing it. Your religious terminology is revealing but I actually think that political analogies are perhaps more helpful. The chapter on information politics in Tom Davenport's "Information Ecology" provides a nice framework IMHO.

      Cheers,
       
      Matt
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