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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

8 Relationship Between Business Process and Core Components

8.1 Introduction

As previously stated, business process models define how business processes are described and represent the "verbs" of electronic business. Information models define reusable components that can be applied in a standard way within a business context. Core Components and domain components represent the "nouns and adjectives" of electronic business. They are defined using identity items that are common across all businesses. This enables users to define data that is meaningful to their businesses while also maintaining interoperability with other business applications. Figure 8.1-1 illustrates how reusable information components fit within a business process.

Figure 8.1-1FIGURE 8.1-1 Relationship between Business Process and Core Component

8.2 Business information objects

Business Information Objects MAY be composed of Core Components, domain components, and other business information objects. The component and business information object definitions are stored in business libraries. Core Components can be stored in the specially named Core Library. Business document definitions are constructed of business information objects, domain components and Core Components. The following steps describe how to develop business document definitions.

  1. Search Business Library for REQUIRED attributes available in business information objects.

  2. If business information objects with appropriate attributes are not available, new business information objects MUST be created.

  3. Domain components in the business libraries and core components in the Core Library COULD be candidates for business information object attributes, assuming the context is appropriate.

  4. Add the new attributes to existing business information objects, or introduce new business information objects through a registration process that manages changes to the Business Library.

  5. Use the new attributes, now in the Business Library, to create the business documents.

In summary, Figure 8.2-1 illustrates that the primary sources for creating business documents in a business process and information model are business information objects in a Business Library. The secondary sources are domain components in business libraries and the core components in the Core Library, when appropriate business information objects cannot be found. Until the Business Library is constructed, or imported from a credible sources, core components are likely to be utilized frequently, first to add to the repertoire of business information objects in the Business Library, and second, to create business documents.

Figure 8.2-1FIGURE 8.2-1 Composition of Business Information Object

8.3 Core components analysis

The ebXML Methodology for the Discovery and Analysis of Core Components describes the process for identifying information components that are re-usable across industries (hence the term "core components"). Core components are used to construct domain components and business information objects. Business libraries, which contain libraries of business process specifications (such as the ebXML Catalog of Common Business Processes) are instrumental in the discovery and analysis of core components and domain components.

The business process specifications contain values that describe the contextual use of core components and the elements within core components. This is discussed further in Section 8.4, Core component contextual classification. Business library cross-references, such as the cross-reference in the ebXML Catalog of Common Business Processes, assist the core component analysis effort by identifying related business processes, transactions, and documents from various initiatives such as be EDIFACT, X12, xCBL, RosettaNet, CII, and OAG.

8.4 Core component contextual classification

The Meta Model specifies the information to be captured when modeling a business process. The model contains a number of elements and attributes that are considered to be significant in effecting the interrelated conditions of the other elements in business process and document models. It is useful to understand this contextual dependency between the various model elements during the analysis process. Furthermore, in the future, it MAY be possible to apply these contextual dependencies at runtime8.

The contextual dependency concept—referred to as simply "Context"—has been given in-depth consideration by the ebXML Core Components Project Team as it has a significant role in the analysis of reusable information components. When a business process is taking place, the context in which it is taking place can be specified by a set of contextual categories and their associated values. For example, if an auto manufacturer is purchasing paint from a chemical manufacturer, the context values might be as follows:

The contextual categories, identified in The role of context in the re-usability of Core Components and Business Processes simply map to existing elements and attributes within a business process model that is conformant to the UMM Business Process Meta Model. For example, the contextual Category "Process" maps to the Meta Model elements BusinessProcess, ProcessArea, and BusinessArea. A mapping of Context Categories to Meta Model elements is provided in Appendix A.

8.5 Context and common business processes

The role of Context with respect to business process models has not been formally addressed by ebXML as it is out of scope for the ebXML effort. However, it is generally accepted that common business process models can be extended or constrained based on their contextual usage. For example, business process X could have constrained (or extended) behavior XY if the industry is "Automotive" and constrained (or extended) behavior XX if the industry is "Retail." The context of the business process is defined by the values of such modeling elements such as business area, process area, industry, role, and, perhaps, the economic events and resources. This is analogous to the concept of Context as it applies to core components and document specification. Refer to ebXML The role of context in the re-usability of Core Components and Business Processes for more information on Context and core components.

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