The Relationship Between Characteristics of Business Objects and Attributes of Entities in an ERD Model: A Technical Perspective
Question: What is the relationship between the characteristics of business objects and the attributes of entities in an ERD model?
Entity-Relationship Diagrams (ERD) are a widely used modeling technique for representing the structure and organization of data within an information system. They provide a visual representation of the relationships between entities, their attributes, and the cardinalities that define the connections between them. This technical analysis will explore the relationship between the characteristics of business objects and the attributes of entities in an ERD model.
Business Objects and Their Characteristics
A business object represents a real-world entity or concept that plays a significant role in an organization's operations and processes. These objects can be tangible or intangible and may include customers, products, services, employees, or locations, among others. The characteristics of business objects refer to the properties, qualities, or features that describe and define these objects within the context of the organization.
Entities and Attributes in an ERD Model
In an ERD model, an entity represents a real-world object or concept, similar to a business object. Entities have attributes, which are the properties or characteristics that describe and define them within the context of the information system. Attributes can be simple or composite, and may be derived from other attributes or relationships. Examples of attributes include customer names, product IDs, employee numbers, and transaction dates.
Relationship between Characteristics of Business Objects and Attributes of Entities in an ERD Model
The characteristics of business objects and the attributes of entities in an ERD model are closely related, as both describe the properties and features of the entities in their respective contexts. The primary relationship between them is as follows:
Mapping Characteristics to Attributes: The characteristics of business objects can be mapped directly to the attributes of corresponding entities in an ERD model. This mapping process translates the real-world properties and features of business objects into a structured representation suitable for use in an information system. For example, a customer's name, address, and contact information are characteristics of the customer business object, which can be mapped to the corresponding attributes of the customer entity in the ERD model.
Consistency and Completeness: The attributes of entities in an ERD model should accurately represent the relevant characteristics of the corresponding business objects to ensure the consistency and completeness of the information system. This requires a thorough analysis of the organization's objectives, processes, and data requirements to identify the key business objects, their characteristics, and the relationships between them.
Normalization and Abstraction: The process of mapping characteristics to attributes may involve normalization and abstraction to optimize the structure and organization of the ERD model. Normalization refers to the process of organizing attributes and relationships in a manner that minimizes redundancy and improves the integrity of the data. Abstraction, on the other hand, refers to the process of simplifying complex characteristics into a more manageable and general representation within the ERD model.
In summary, the relationship between the characteristics of business objects and the attributes of entities in an ERD model is one of direct correspondence and mapping. The characteristics of business objects are used to define and describe the attributes of entities in the ERD model, ensuring the consistency, completeness, and accuracy of the information system. This relationship is essential for the effective design, development, and management of information systems that support an organization's operations, processes, and decision-making.
Every business object has characteristics that describe it. Customers, employees, students, and suppliers, for example, will have names, addresses, phone numbers, and so on. Products will have names, prices, descriptions, and so on.
Appointments will have times, dates, and so on. In fact, if you cannot identify two or more characteristics of a business object, there is
a strong possibility it is not a business object at all.
Below is a list of sample business objects and their characteristics, appropriate to a wide range of databases.
The characteristics of business objects are converted into the attributes of entities in the logical design stage. Attributes, in turn, are ultimately translated into table fields with SQL.
Relationships between Business Objects
Business objects relate to each other in some form or fashion. Customers place orders, employees take orders, orders are for products, products come from suppliers. Relationships between objects can be complex, so establishing relationships at this point in the design process is quite preliminary. It is important to note, however, what objects are generally related, especially in the existing database(s).
As part of Requirements Analysis, database designers list and document the business objects stored in the client’s existing database(s), along with their characteristics and a preliminary idea of how they are related. The next lesson describes business rules.
Identify Business Objects - Exercise
Before moving on to the next lesson, click the exercise link below to test your skills in identifying business objects and their characteristics.
Identify Business Objects - Exercise
attribute: A characteristic of an entity; data that identifies or describes an entity. Usually represented as a column in a table, attributes store data values.