Confusion of Terms: Business Model, Business Modelling, Enterprise Model and so on

Currently there is a huge confusion going on in computer science and IS research on the signification of a large number of business-related terms. Nobody has explicitly defined what the terms and concepts enterprise model, enterprise modeling, business model, business modeling, business process modeling, ontologies and so on actually mean. Of course there are some implicit understandings in the different research communities. But it can be a problem when computer scientists, information systems and business researchers do not understand the same thing under, for example, the term business model. This is particularly the case in today’s research environment where we increasingly have cross-domain research teams. The observation of this confusion is based on a large number of papers, conferences and workshops.

It is crucial that we bring the different communities to the same table to explicitly describe their understandings of the different terms and concepts. And if it is highly unlikely that these communities agree on a common definition of terms, they will at least be able get an insight on the differences of understanding in other communities.

However, once we have achieved something like a common understanding we have by far not done the work. A more distant goal would be a description of how these different terms relate to each other and what there relevance is for the different research communities.

The following list of terms is open to definition (comments are welcomed by the author of this blog) of meaning and relationships:

• Business Model
• Business Modeling
• Enterprise Model
• Enterprise Modeling
• Business Process Modeling
• Organizational Modeling
• Ontologies
• Conceptual Model
• Reference Model

The following list of communities (and sub-communities) is likely to have an understanding of (at least some of) the above terms:

• Business and Strategy
• Information Systems
• Computer Science