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Subject: Re: Definition of business process

> What do people mean by "business process",
> in the context of "business process model"?
> 1. Sending and receiving a business document,
>     e.g. a purchase order.
> 2.  Purchasing something, including a series 
>      of messages in a structured conversation,
>      e.g. PO, acknowledgement, shipping notice,
>      receipt, invoice, payment, return, etc.
> 3.  The workings of an internal business department, 
>      like the Procurement Process.
> 4.  All activities involved in satisfying a customer order,
>      e.g. an instance of a multi-company supply chain.
> 5.  Something else...

hi bob,

i think dain has not got your problem. i'm sure that you
are not refering to content (here dain is right, we cannot
predict the future), but to which extend is it necessary to
consider business processes in the modelling phase.

i think your raised a good point and we should include a definition
in the glossary. so i try to give a first answer and open the discussion.
but i am not sure, if my answer is compliant to the opinion of other

so my answer is: .... 5 

in fact it is 2 + 3. 

(1) is a too limited approach and is covered by (2).

(4) might be possible, but would result in too complex models due
to the many parties involved.

therefore, i would define the border by a certain business transaction
that is executed between 2 (!) involved organisations, as defined in (2).
if a party needs to contact further parties during the transaction, these
contacts should be defined in separat business process models, but the
interfaces to these separate models must be clearly defined in the 
primary model.

so why is (2) not enough? why do i prefer to include the internal operations
as defined in (3), when the focus is on inter-organisational operations.
my opinion is that the data interchanged between organisations heavily
depends on the internal processes. take the following example from
an order: the seller will determine whether the ordered goods are available
or not. if not the following conditions might hold: not an offered product
by the seller, out of stock ... if not deliverable, the seller might offer
a substitute, a later delivery date ...
=> the described process is internal to the seller. but accoring to this
business process the reply message will look differently (will include
different semantics). therefore, i think it is necessary to include internal
business processes to that extend as they influence the interchange.
therefore i prefer to include (3), although Austrians don't like to
look into internal processes that are going on these days (:-)

... hope that is not too confusing


Christian Huemer
AustriaPro and University of Vienna

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