A recent post I made called “How ‘As-Is’ BAs Deliver ‘Has-Been’ Enterprises” has resulted in a lot of discussion both on this blog and in Linkedin.
One of the major things to emerge from all of this discussion is the confusion that exists regarding clear definitions for the fundamental elements of Business Analysis and Modelling.
The absence of these basic definitions does not just result in muddled, and sometimes heated, discussions on LinkedIn, it actually results in very expensive business modelling errors around the globe.
So, in order to bring clarity to these ongoing discussions, I provide below what I see as the minimum set of definitions that all Process Modellers should have at their fingertips.
|Business Function||A Business Function is a discrete activity or a coherent set of activities that an enterprise must perform in order to meet its business objectives and continue in existence. ALL DATA in an enterprise is created and transformed by the Business Functions.|
|Business Process||A Business Process is the definition of the order of execution of selected Business Functions in response to a specific Business Trigger, in order to arrive at the specified Preferred Outcome for that Trigger. A Business Process comprises five essential elements, 1) a valid Business Trigger, 2) the Preferred Outcome associated with that Trigger, 3) the Business Functions that are required to be executed in order to get from the Trigger to the Preferred Outcome, 4) the order in which these Business Functions need to be executed and 5) a list of valid Non-Preferred Outcomes in case the Preferred Outcome cannot be attained.|
|Atomic Business Function||This is a Business Function at the bottom of a Business Function Hierarchy, it is a Business Function that has no child functions attached to it.|
|Elementary Business Function||An Elementary Business Function is a Business Function which, once begun, must be completed or, if not completed, must be wholly undone. If there is a valid intermediate stage for the Business Function it is not elementary. An Elementary Business Function may take the business from one valid state to another or may leave the state unchanged.|
|Business Mechanism||This is the means by which a Business Function is executed within an enterprise. One Business Function might be executed in several different ways, that is, using several different mechanisms. The specific mechanism would be dependent on the resources and technology available to those carrying out the Business Function.|
|Business Procedure||Whereas a Business Process defines the order of execution of Business Functions, a Business Procedure defines the order of execution of Business Mechanisms in order to arrive at the Preferred Outcome associated with a specific Trigger.|
|Business Event||This is any occurrence of significance to the enterprise. Business Events fall into two main categories Triggers and Outcomes, and can arise due to occurrences both within and outside the enterprise.|
|Business Trigger||This is an occurrence of significance to the enterprise to which a response must be initiated. This response could either be the execution of a single Business Function or the initiation of a Business Process.|
|Preferred Outcome||This is the outcome that the enterprise would prefer to have achieved by the execution of a Business Function or of a Business Process initiated by a Business Trigger.|
|Non-Preferred Outcome||If a Preferred Outcome cannot be achieved by the execution of a Business Function or a Business Process, then this is a valid, acceptable, if non-preferred, alternative outcome.|
All of my ebooks on the various Modelling techniques of the Integrated Modelling Method (IMM) contain a full set of definitions for all aspects of Function, Process and Data Analysis and Modelling, and Systems Development.
You can read more about these books in the IMM Store.
If you think that these definitions would be of value to a friend or colleague, please share a link to this page with them. Thank you.