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As already discussed, a system consists of many subsystems working in close coordination to achieve a specific objective. Each of these subsystems carries out a specific function and each of these functions may in turn be consisting of one or more processes.

Thus the system's functions can be subdivided into processes, as depicted by fig. 5.1. A process is a specific act that has definable beginning and ending points. A process has identifiable inputs and outputs. Create purchase requisition, follow up order etc are few examples of processes. For designing of any system, these processes need to be identified as a part of functional modeling.

Fig 5.1 - Functional Decomposition
Source: Information Engineering: Planning & Analysis by James Martin

Every process may be different from the other but each of them has certain common characteristics, as:

  • A process is a specified activity in an enterprise that is executed repeatedly. This means that the processes are ongoing, for example, generation of bills may be labeled as a process for a warehouse as it is repeatedly carried out

  • A process can be described in terms of inputs and outputs. Every process would have certain inputs required which are transformed into a certain output. For example, in case of a warehouse, information related to the sale of various items is required for generation of bills. This information is taken as input and the bills generated are the output of the process.

  • A process has definable starting and ending points.

  • A process is not based on organizational structures and is carried out irrespective of this structure.

  • A process identifies what is done, not how.

Other Design Elements

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