Modeling the Business Process
Modeling the business process is an essential part of any software development process. It enables the analyst to capture the broad outline and procedures that govern what it is a business does. This analysis model provides an overview of where the proposed software system being considered fits into the organizational structure and daily activities. It can also provide the justification for building the system by capturing the current manual and automated procedures that are to be rolled up into a new system, and the associated cost benefit.
As an early model of business activity, it enables the analyst to capture the significant events, inputs, resources and outputs associated with business process. By connecting later design elements (such as Use Cases) back to the business process model through Implementation connectors, it is possible to build up a fully traceable model from the broad process outlines to the functional requirements and eventually to the software artefacts actually being constructed.
As the Business Process Model typically has a broader and more inclusive range than just the software system being considered, it also enables the analyst to clearly map what is in the scope of the proposed system and what is to be implemented in other ways (such as a manual process).
The example below demonstrates the kind of model that can be built up to represent a business process. In this model, the goal of the business process is to take customer orders and to ship those orders out. A user starts the process with an inquiry, which leads to the involvement of the Book Catalogue, Shopping Cart, on-line pages and warehouse inventory. The output of significance to the business is a customer order.
The second half of the process model is to respond to a customer order and ship the required items. The second process involves the warehouse inventory and shipping company, and completes when an order is delivered to the customer.