Efficient response to change, both upon expected and unpredicted contingencies, is a critical characteristic for modern enterprises. This chapter presents the various ways this feature has been addressed in the literature and explains why the term “enterprise agility” has been adopted for characterizing this capability. Furthermore, it provides a holistic approach for analyzing enterprise agility that is based on an introduced viewpoint-oriented Enterprise Architecture. The ultimate target is to provide the means for researchers to explore enterprise agility in a systematic way and identify a number of important issues regarding the attainment of such capability.
Enterprises able to respond efficiently to change are characterized by different terms in the literature, such as flexible organizations, agile enterprises, adaptive enterprises, sense-and-respond enterprises, and less often, intelligent enterprises.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information Viewpoint: The enterprise perspective referring to information aspects comprising representation, communication, semantics, content and structure.
Enterprise Architecture: The description of all the perspectives of an enterprise, i.e. organizational structure, personnel, information, business processes and information technology along with their interrelations.
People Viewpoint: The enterprise perspective referring to people characteristics, i.e. knowledge, competencies, skills and culture.
Agile Enterprise: The enterprise that can efficiently respond to change both upon expected and unpredicted contingencies as well as cause change in a proactive manner to gain competitive advantage.
Information Technology Viewpoint: The enterprise perspective referring to information technology comprising IT infrastructure and business applications along with the provided services.
Viewpoint: The perspective from which a view is taken. It serves a specific category of system stakeholders.
Flexibility: The ability to change to suit new conditions or situations.
Business Process Viewpoint: The enterprise perspective referring to business processes comprising actions, roles, rules, routes, resources and events.
Architecture: A collection of descriptions that concern each individual stakeholder.
View: A representation of the whole system from the perspective of a related set of concerns.
Adaptability: The ability to change to suit new conditions or situations.
Agility: The ability to move quickly and easily.
Organizational Viewpoint: The enterprise perspective referring to organizational structure comprising roles, policies, hierarchy and units.