A key challenge in enterprise architecture is achieving clarity among the stakeholders regarding what constitutes the enterprise, what the operational scope of the enterprise is to be, as well as how comprehensive and broadly applicable the enterprise architecture will be across the enterprise. In today’s globally connected world there is also increasing concern regarding the “extended enterprise” of supply chain partners, infrastructure service providers, regulatory environment and services, and the like. This, in turn, raises many issues regarding how “permeable” or “open” the enterprise is to the external world (as well as internally), what the various enterprise “boundaries” might be, and how those boundaries might be interfaced and managed over time.
The SCOPE model is a multi-dimensional and extensible set of possible variations in enterprise scope and its boundaries. It is often used in a workshop setting to allow stakeholders to explore and discuss the “scope space” and associated boundaries that the enterprise architecture could and should specifically address. The SCOPE model provides a structured set of possible scope attributes in the form of questions and possible answers that serve to guide the discussion among the enterprise stakeholders in the workshop. This process allows workshop participants to gain a more explicit understanding of their respective perspectives and assumptions regarding enterprise and architecture scope and where the key areas of agreement and potential conflict among the participants regarding enterprise scope might be. The end result is typically a much more detailed specification of enterprise architecture scope and the areas of the enterprise architecture that represent significant areas of uncertainty and potential risk. These areas usually deserve particular monitoring and review during the enterprise architecture effort.