In this usage, "the enterprise" consists of all of the people (especially computer and/or phone users) who need to work together to get an organization's job done. The organization can be a major corporation, or a division of a corporation, or an industry trade association, or a school, or a government agency. Some of the people will work for the organization, but others may be customers, suppliers, or people whose jobs have been "outsourced" to other companies.
For example, a company that generates, distributes, and sells electricity may include the following people in its "enterprise" (for purposes of purchasing computer hardware, software, and consulting services):
- The "utility" corporation itself.
- Customers, to the extent that they use the company's website(s).
- Equipment located on customer property (such as meters, automated meters, and wires from the utility lines to the customer meters).
- Government agencies, to the extent that they use the company's website(s).
- Electricity suppliers, to the extent that the company automatically forwards requests for more (or less) power when needed.
- Any "service provider" companies that the "utility" hires to perform equipment design, repairs, installations, and inspections.
- "Contract workers" who perform tasks for either the "utility" or any of its "service providers".
It is possible for most of the equipment in such an "enterprise" to be on the property of customers, suppliers, and/or service providers.
In the case of a trade association, it is possible that only a tiny fraction of the "enterprise" consists of employees of the organization; most of the "enterprise" consists of members and sponsors.