Introduction of the notion
Source: Enterprise Transformation Manifesto; paragraph 2.3.a
“It is not possible to understand and master the Enterprise without first untangling its many aspects.”
Roughly speaking, there are two ways to cope with complexity: the first one is to break down the object into smaller parts, until finding elements which are easy to understand and to manipulate; the second one is to distinguish between sets of features which can be explained separately. The first way is known as the Cartesian approach and can apply as far as the system displays a unique and homogeneous nature. The second approach appears in system theory. Regarding the enterprise, the complexity stems from the merging of various concerns, the conflict between divergent interests and the cohabitation of extraneous cognitive universes. Therefore, we have to recognize the plurality of this reality.
Reality must be approached from several angles: these angles correspond to aspects in the Topology of the Enterprise System. An aspect is part of the System. This part reveals itself as a set of elements, closely related, focused on a specific concern. The elements differ from one aspect to another so that the aspects don’t overlap.
Unlike the View, the aspect is a notion which doesn’t refer to an actor considering the system (viewpoint), but which entirely belongs to the “instance”. This metaphysical standpoint can be easily challenged but we stick to it because it brings efficiency in representation and action.
In the context of Enterprise Architecture, an aspect is part of the enterprise reality, which has been isolated for the sake of study. Distinguishing the aspects is based on the “separation of concerns” principle and allows us to simplify the topics and to assign responsibilities more efficiently.
Part of reality, which has been isolated for the sake of study, in accordance with its inner logic