Demarcating business processes

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Figure 2 02 Most Important relationships between concepts.png ArchiMate Made Practical

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Demarcating business functions

Question

In the business layer, one of the concepts is business function. But how does one distinguish a business function and how is it being demarcated?

Solution

Apply the following heuristics to distinguish business functions:

  • Make a separate function for the interactions with each environment actor. For example; create a function for suppliers, consumers and government. This heuristic has the following specializations:
    • Separating relationship management from other functions: Make a distinct function for activities that deal with customer contacts. The customer here is the external customer of the company, but for large companies it might also be applicable for an internal customer (for example another department).
    • Separation to market: Make a distinct function for each customer segment/target group of the company. Examples are business customers and private customers.
  • Make distinct functions for processes with different kind of triggers (business events). In this way processes can be identified that have periodical triggers (monthly receipt of declarations) and that have incidental triggers (quotation request). A specialization is:
    • Case distinction: Make distinct functions for activities that are related to different ‘cases’. A company can make distinction between different damage claim cases: damages less than or greater than € 1000,-. In this example, a function for a small and a function for a large damage claim case could be distinguished.
  • Make a distinct function for each product group, for example for activities related to damage insurance versus other insurance. A distinction can also be made centered around any business object:
    • Distinction related to business object: Make distinct functions for a group of activities, if they all work on a certain business object. This way, functions can be distinguished that are related to invoices, cash flows, offers, customer history etc.
  • Make a distinct function for each phase or state that a product can be in. In case of a damage insurance claim this could be, for example, distinct functions for requesting, reward raising and handling of damage claims, closing and management.
  • Make a distinct function for a group of activities, whenever the activities require special 1) skills, 2) expertise or 3) responsibilities. Examples are judicial knowledge, actuarial expertise, communication skills or authorizations for certain decisions.
  • Make distinct functions for activities that control the primary process, (planning / control).
  • Make distinct functions for activities that change the primary process or its implementation. This leads for example to distinct functions for marketing, product development and system development.
  • Model functions inside-out: defined by their 'capability'.

Consequences

Not applicable.

Alternatives

Not applicable.

Relationships with other good practices

Comparable criteria and heuristics can also be used for application functions on the application layer.