Part of reality, which has been isolated for the sake of study, in accordance with its inner logic

Introduction to the notion

Source: Enterprise Transformation Manifesto, ¶ 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, to a large extent, from the combination of diverse concerns, the conflict between divergent interests and the coexistence of several cognitive universes. Consequently, we have to recognize the plurality of this reality.

Reality must be approached from several angles. The aspects are parts of the reality studied. Their separation meets both formal and practical requirements. The aspects are defined in such a way that every piece of information or every decision about the system finds a natural, unique spot.

On the contrary to a View or a point of view – which depends on who is looking –, the aspect belongs solely to the reality observed. The criteria used to define the aspects do not call on the types of actors involved in the transformation chain. They are concerned only with the object under study, called the Enterprise System. It is only secondarily that certain disciplines are defined as specialisms related to an aspect (for example: semantic modeling, logical architecture…).


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 concernsprinciple that enables us to simplify the topics and to assign responsibilities more efficiently.


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