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Lesson 3 Business objects, part 1
Objective Define business objects

Defining and Identifying Business Objects of an Organization: A Comprehensive Guide

Business objects are the essential entities or components within an organization that facilitate its operations, processes, and decision-making. Understanding these objects is critical for developing efficient systems and processes, as well as for enhancing the overall performance of the organization. This guide will provide a step-by-step approach to defining and identifying business objects within an organization.
  1. Step 1: Understand the Concept of Business Objects: A business object represents a real-world entity or concept, such as a customer, product, or sales transaction, that plays a significant role in the operations of an organization. These objects can be tangible or intangible, and can be categorized based on their attributes and relationships with other objects. Understanding the nature and purpose of these objects is the first step in identifying them within your organization.
  2. Step 2: Assess the Organization's Objectives and Processes: To identify the relevant business objects, you need to have a clear understanding of your organization's goals, objectives, and processes. This will enable you to recognize the key components that support these objectives and are central to the functioning of the organization. Analyze each department and function within the organization to gain a comprehensive understanding of the processes and systems in place.
  3. Step 3: Identify Key Business Entities: Next, you must identify the key entities or components that form the basis of your organization's operations. These entities can include customers, suppliers, employees, products, services, and locations, among others. Make a list of all the key entities relevant to your organization and their associated attributes, such as names, contact details, and other identifying information.
  4. Step 4: Examine the Relationships between Business Entities: The relationships between business objects are essential in defining their roles and importance within the organization. Analyze the connections and dependencies between different entities to better understand their interdependence and significance in the overall functioning of the organization. This will help you identify objects that are critical to the organization's operations and processes.
  5. Step 5: Categorize Business Objects: Once you have identified the key entities and their relationships, categorize them based on their characteristics, roles, and functions within the organization. Common categories include:
    1. Core business objects: These are the primary objects that drive the organization's operations and directly support its objectives, such as customers, products, and services.
    2. Supporting business objects: These objects provide indirect support to the core objects and help facilitate their functioning, such as suppliers, warehouses, and distribution channels.
    3. Auxiliary business objects: These objects are not directly involved in the organization's operations but provide additional support or information, such as regulatory agencies, industry standards, and external data sources.
  6. Step 6: Document and Review Business Objects: Finally, document the identified business objects, their attributes, and relationships in a structured format, such as a data dictionary or business object model. This documentation will serve as a reference for your organization's decision-making, system development, and process improvement efforts. Periodically review and update the documentation to ensure it accurately reflects the organization's evolving needs and objectives.

Defining and identifying business objects is crucial for optimizing the organization's operations and achieving its objectives. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can systematically identify the key entities, relationships, and categories that form the foundation of your organization's processes and systems, thereby enhancing its overall performance and effectiveness.
Identifying an organization's business objects is typically the first order of business during Requirements Analysis.
Since most database design situations involve businesses that already have some sort of database in place, the first place to look for business objects is in the existing database, whether legacy[1], paper-based[2], or both.
Business objects are things (both tangible and intangible) in a business environment that are related, and about which data is (or needs to be) stored. For Employees, projects, customers, appointments, students, products, orders, suppliers, all of these are objects about which organizations store information. During Requirements Analysis, business objects must be identified and sorted according to subject. If two or more distinct subject categories appear, a database should be created for each.

Multiple Databases

Remember, multiple databases can be handled by a single RDBMS, and queries and user views (such as stored queries) can be created across databases. It makes no sense to have a database deal with more than one subject category. Keep in mind that every organization makes decisions about which business objects it will and will not store data about. For example, in the fictional Stories on CD, Inc. case study with which you will work throughout this course, Ted and Lisa have decided that they do not want to have any data about themselves (as owners/employees) stored on the company database. Business objects are converted into entities[3] in the logical-design stage. Entities, in turn, are ultimately translated into database tables with SQL[4], the industry-standard database programming language. The next lesson describes the characteristics of business objects.
[1] legacy database: Any type of database that has been in use by an organization for several years.
[2]paper-based database: Typically a filing system where data is stored on a variety of paper forms.
[3]entity: A single stand-alone unit or a business object about which data are stored in a database; usually synonymous with a database table.
[4]SQL: SQL is an acronym for Structured Query Language. It provides a set of commands that can be used to add data to a database, retrieve that data, and update it. SQL, often pronounced “sequel”, is universally supported by relational database vendors.